May 2, 2023 - Politics

San Antonio District 7 City Council election guide

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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

An open District 7 seat on the City Council has attracted five candidates, including two who are drawing attention for their history serving on local boards and commissions.

What's happening: All 10 City Council districts and the mayor's seat are up for election on the May 6 ballot. District 7 is one of four high-profile races.

Catch up fast: Former District 7 Councilmember Ana Sandoval resigned in January, near the end of her third term. She left for better pay and to care for family following the birth of her daughter. She now works for University Health System.

  • Rosie Castro, longtime civil rights activist and mother of Julián and Joaquin Castro, has temporarily filled the District 7 seat since March. She is not on the ballot.

Why it matters: District 7, which runs from Woodlawn Lake to near Helotes, is home to a diverse constituency with a range of priorities. Two former councilmembers from the district, Ed Garza and Julián Castro, went on to serve as mayor.

Meet the candidates:

Sandragrace Martinez is a licensed professional counselor who sought the Democratic nomination for Texas land commissioner last year, but lost in the primary runoff. Her campaign is focused on mental health, education and safe communities, per her website.

Jacob Chapa is a legal assistant and political science student at the University of Texas at San Antonio. If elected, he tells Axios, he would de-emphasize the city's climate action plans and meet with police.

  • Chapa is opposed to Proposition A.
  • "I have not become calcified, or conditioned toward thinking a certain way professionally," Chapa tells Axios. "So if elected, I am extremely open to taking the considerations of residents both seriously and personally."

Dan Rossiter worked at Southwest Research Institute and was president of the Thunderbird Hills Neighborhood Association before he resigned from both positions to run for office. He served on the streets committee for the 2022 bond and helped found the Renters' Solutions Subcommittee of the Housing Commission. He has also served as a board member for Brooks, a mixed-use community on the South Side.

  • If elected, Rossiter tells Axios, he would make changes at Animal Care Services in the wake of this year's deadly dog attack. He also wants to consolidate CPS Energy and SAWS operations to help save money.
  • He voted no on Proposition A due to concerns about expanded cite-and-release policy leading to more crime.
  • "My policies will also look to challenge long-standing standard practices that may no longer be in the best interest of residents," Rossiter tells Axios.

Marina Alderete Gavito was most recently executive director of SA Digital Connects, a nonprofit that has worked with city and county officials to push for greater broadband access. She also worked at Rackspace and USAA. Alderete Gavito has served on boards for VIA and Bexar County, as well as the Woodlawn Lake Neighborhood Association.

  • She wants to build better communication between residents and City Hall, she tells Axios. She would also focus on improving Bandera Road and addressing homelessness and drainage concerns.
  • Alderete Gavito does not support Proposition A. She agrees with criminal justice reform but is concerned about expansion of the cite-and-release policy.
  • "I was born and raised in District 7, where my husband and I chose to raise our two daughters," Alderete Gavito tells Axios. "I understand the issues in this community."
  • Her father, Joe Alderete, is a former District 7 councilmember, per the San Antonio Report.

Andrew "AJ" Luck is a U.S. Navy veteran with a law background, per his campaign website.

By the numbers: Alderete Gavito has far outraised her opponents. She raised more than $24,000 in the last month, per a campaign finance report released Monday. She took in more than $65,000 on the prior report.

  • Rossiter had more than $11,000 on hand in late March at the end of the prior reporting period, but his fundraising slowed in the last month. He raised $255 and had more than $3,000 on hand as of Monday's report.
  • Martinez raised more than $800 in the last month.
  • Chapa raised $525 in the last month.

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