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The county commissioner is one of five members of Commissioners Court, which makes policy-making and budget decisions for county government. Precinct 4 represents the Westside from Anthony to Mesa Hills, as well as Northeast El Paso. The commissioners get paid $114,901 a year.
Who’s running for this seat?
Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 100 words. Responses have been lightly edited for grammar.
What steps do you favor for addressing University Medical Center’s needs in the next four years?
Blanca Trout: The steps I would favor involve considering alternative methods of outsourcing services to reduce the financial burden on the tax base, conduct an audit of all current and proposed expenditures. Propose consideration of a citizen’s advisory board for transparency.
Sergio Coronado: First, I support the projects in the $340+ million proposal for UMC. I feel this proposal should have been done last year when interest rates were around 2%, a better transparent rollout of the proposal and engage community support. It is clear the state of Texas does not want to help the “poor” get better access to health care. Our state government refused federal funds to expand Medicaid.
For years, the county has tried to improve internet access and provide free Wi-Fi in its rural areas. Is this a good idea and if so, how would you make it happen?
Blanca Trout: No, internet access is a privilege, not a right. To utilize county resources to provide services beyond 911 enhanced communication is an unnecessary expenditure.
Sergio Coronado: Yes. Internet access in today’s world is necessary. Immediately after the pandemic, Canutillo ISD has provided connectivity of all students and parents. The county needs to do the same to provide this much needed service to our constituents.
The county has tried to address flooding in rural areas such as Canutillo, Westway and communities in the far east. How should the county prioritize this issue and how should it be dealt with beyond purchasing water-pumping trucks?
Blanca Trout: It is my understanding that the flooding issue was addressed when El Paso Water Utilities raised the bill due to the Storm Water Act. The county needs to hold the utility company accountable to handle the flooding issues and complete the storm water ponding areas.
Sergio Coronado: We need a comprehensive plan that involves all governments in the County. I will seek funding from federal, state and our local government to address this much needed solution to our flooding.
What should be the county’s role in helping with the housing, hosting or operating a migrant center?
Blanca Trout: The county’s role should be to act within the laws of the United States.
Sergio Coronado: We are a humanitarian country and should act accordingly. The county does need to help with housing/hosting of immigrants subject to reimbursement from the federal government. Our immigration system needs a comprehensive solution. There are currently long delays to get those individual cases to a hearing. Many of those individuals will end up in this country with legal status. We need to show them that this country is about fairness under the law. We need to put our best foot forward to encourage these individuals to assimilate to our culture and government.
Commissioners Court this summer approved a resolution supporting individuals seeking abortions. Do you support or oppose this resolution?
Blanca Trout: Commissioners should stay out of legislative issues. Resolutions that operate outside of the written federal and state laws is counter-productive to the operation of the county function.
Sergio Coronado: The resolution does not support individuals seeking abortion. There are many parts to the resolution. I support the resolution. There should be a state referendum for Texans to decide if they will allow abortions under similar restrictions as Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court decided each state can make that determination. We should let the voters decide. The resolution also provides for review of health guidelines and policy proposals and amendments for consideration by county to ensure individuals have access to appropriate medical care. I do not support legislation to criminalize a person seeking medical care that may include abortion.
Read more about this race
Fellow trustees face off for county commissioner seat
Republican Blanca Trout wants to draw the line on county taxes and bolster law enforcement, while Democrat Sergio Coronado wants to tackle flooding and enhance the county’s criminal justice system and mental health services.