Slaton Mayor Race 2021

Changes are coming to the city of Slaton this election season.

After May 1, more than half of the city commission will be new members, including a new Mayor.

Four candidates are running for the seat, John Gatica, Clifton Shaw, Jessie Perez and Jacob Parker.

Though they vary in what they bring to the table, all have strong ties to the Slaton community.

Parker, Gatica, and Perez were all born and raised in town, though the latter have lived in other places before returning. Shaw has lived in Slaton for the last 37 years.

"I'm a life-long resident and someone that they raised. They raised a Slatonite and I'm very proud to say that," Gatica said.

"I'm committed to having Slaton grow," Perez explained.

Perez is a small business owner and co-founder of One-Fever life media. He and his family recently moved back to Slaton from Austin in September 2020.

"Visiting family, when I was gone for 17 plus years... I would see Slaton not really growing," Perez said. "When I was small we were able to walk around, there were actually businesses here around the square. A lot of it has gone away," he added.

Perez says he wants to help the city embrace its potential and bring business back to the downtown area.

"I'll work hard and make honest decisions," 2-term Slaton ISD board member and railroad worker Parker said about why he is the best candidate for the job.

He also wants to also help foster the town's growth, but in a different way.

"I think we need to explore the option of industrial park out by the Slaton and Lamesa railroad. There's property out there were we could expand, draw in some more industry that way," he explained. "I'm interested in annexing more land to the west of town where the outer loop is going to come out to the highway."

Out of the four mayoral candidates in Slaton, two have previously ran for the seat: Gatica and Shaw.

Gatica, a former educator, lost the last election to current Mayor Lynn Rowlin. 

"They need someone with a specific plan that's going to hit the ground running. I was a city councilman in Plainview before I came here and so I understand the dynamics of building the budget," he explained.

He says his first move if elected would be to find a good replacement for the retiring city administrator, and will seek the community's input before making a final decision.

He believes Slatonites want more accountable leaders.

Gatica is calling for a needs assessment for each of the city's wards and a five year strategic plan to make sure goals are accomplished.

Shaw is a a 30-year veteran of the U.S. postal office and a local Lion's club member.

He says his campaign is a way to give back to his home in a meaningful way.

His main platform is to improve the city's infrastructure.

"There's a big part of the city that has 50-70 year old infrastructure," Shaw explained. "We've been patching too long...Slaton doesn't have the money right now. We've got to work on the budget. Be real conservative, without hurting the citizens of Slaton," he added.

Shaw also wants to lower bond rates so the city can borrow money at a lower rate to make those infrastructure updates possible.

He also says he wants to focus on police and community safety.

"I would like to set up some type of a neighborhood crime watch," he said. "We only have two officers at night and two officers in day, it's a town of 6,000. Those two officers can't patrol the town and be everywhere at one time."

Early voting continues at the Slaton ISD administration building until next Tuesday, April 27th. 

Election day is May 1.