Government / Politics

Mayoral candidates Snow and Velazquez to debate at ‘Use Your Voice’ Forum Oct. 13

Incumbent Velazquez and challenger Keith Snow will face off for the third time

Mayoral candidates, incumbent Ignacio Velazquez and challenger Keith Snow, will provide their views on various topics during the second "Use Your Voice" election forum Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Hollister City Hall, 375 Fifth St. The forum is presented by the San Benito County Farm Bureau and BenitoLink, and is produced in conjunction with BenitoLink’s media partner, CMAP-TV, which will broadcast the forum live.

Questions for the debate were solicited from the general public and neither candidate will have seen them prior to the debate.

If elected, this will be Velazquez’s third term. Snow has faced off against him twice before. Velazquez is a local businessman who owns The Vault and other enterprises. Snow is a retired civil engineer.

Each candidate’s answers to BenitoLink were sent by email for this pre-debate article.

BenitoLink: Please give a brief background on your professional experience.

Velazquez: I've been a business owner for the past 30 years doing work throughout California. I have a MBA from Cal State Hayward and a B.A. from Cal State Monterey Bay.

Snow: I am a retired Civil Engineer/Foreman. I have owned my own company in Sacramento, California — Central Maintenance Paving Construction Company. I grew up working with my dad and uncle who both owned their own construction companies. I am experienced in all business owning qualities, hiring, firing, being a leader, coordinating, organizing, budget balancing. I have worked in hazardous waste, and am familiar with all construction and road repairs.

BenitoLink: Why are you a better choice for mayor than your opponent?

Snow: I am honest and loyal and want that for the city. There is too much dishonesty and no trust. I am a solid man and a strong, focused leader. I represent the people and the best interests for the community.

Velazquez: I believe I have much more experience in solving problems and creating a vision for the entire community. I also know how government works and the importance of getting input from the public.  

BenitoLink: What are some specific tasks or goals you want to accomplish in the next two years?

Velazquez: My first goal is to slow growth in the community before we fall into the same infrastructure problems that we experienced in the late 90's and early 2000's. I also would like to continue cutting costs in the city so that we can begin investing in our roads, infrastructure and quality of life projects.

Snow: Number 1, I will get started immediately on all the unfinished capital projects that are lingering over our head and costing us too much money. I will cut wasteful spending. Organize the budget and get back on track. Create great revenue. I want to create a self-sufficient and prosperous city for all. I am definitely ready to start working on great things for the kids, bringing them the highest and best education and programs we can possibly get for them. The kids are the future. Public safety and crime prevention are also at the top of my list. We need to be more involved and have a better control of these two main issues.

BenitoLink: How would you describe your ethical compass?

Snow: Since I was a kid I was very disciplined from a son to a man out on my own. I was taught to be Independent and can relate to the everyday person, from hardships to achieving goals. I believe if you set your mind to do something, you can always achieve it. Also to never give up. I stand 100 percent by being honest and the people deserve to know the truth about what goes on in the city at all times. Nothing should be hidden. I have also learned to take responsibility for my actions and everyone should be held accountable for their own actions, which I have not seen a lot of with the council now. Also, I am lucky to be alive and do not take anything for granted. I have learned that you have to  live life to the fullest and stand by what you believe in. That is why I am running for mayor. 

Velazquez: I live by and make decisions of what gives our children the best quality of life and opportunities for their future. We should always do things that make us proud not just what is easiest.   

For more information on the candidates, visit their Facebook pages:   



John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]