Community Crossroads: Jeff Bauknight

Community Crossroads host Carolina Astrain interviews Jeff Bauknight, one of the three candidates for mayor of the City of Victoria.

VICTORIA, Texas – As part of Community Crossroads, host Carolina Astrain interviewed all three candidates for mayor of the City of Victoria.

Here is the transcript:

Carolina: Welcome back to this week’s edition of Community Crossroads. We heard earlier from the mayoral candidate, David Crook, and now we go onto the next candidate who files. He may be familiar to most Victoria residents who tune in to city council meetings but before we hear from him, we want to remind you that early voting has started and we’ll end on the Tuesday before the big day. So make sure you get out and vote before the holiday weekend creeps up on you. And so let’s go ahead and welcome Jeff Bauknight, City of Victoria Councilman for District 3 and mayoral candidate. Yes. Let’s talk about why you decided to file. Was this always in the plans?

Jeff Bauknight: This was not always in the plans. It was solely because of the passing of Rawley McCoy that I decided to run, I felt it was imperative that we have someone from the city council continue the direction and with the leadership style that that Mayor McCoy had set us on the path with. I felt it was really important that we didn’t change course. We had a lot of momentum behind us and want to continue that.

Carolina: Excellent. And talk to me about your professional background and what you think, you know, qualifies you to be the mayor of the city.

Jeff Bauknight: I started off as a design engineer, designing mechanical electrical plumbing systems for commercial buildings. And then after that went to work for Intel Corporation in their corporate construction department. And that was very unique because I never thought I’d live outside of Texas, very proud Texan. And six months after hiring on, I was living in Oregon and then we moved to Arizona, worked in New Mexico for six, eight months. And then we moved to Ireland for about a year and did a project over there. And it was about that time. We decided that we probably wanted to move back closer to home. It started a family and we decided that we wanted to come to Victoria. And that was back in 2004, have a mechanical contracting business here. And I’ve been doing that for the last 17 years.

Carolina: Wow. And what issues are you passionate about? I know Mayor Rawley McCoy was a real advocate for the homeless in the town. What are you most passionate about when it comes to the city?

Jeff Bauknight: The city’s regional economic development for me stands out a lot. I spend a lot of my time now doing that. I want to make sure that the entire city gets lifted up with that. Not just one area or the other, but if we can increase our tax base, you know, we have the potential then to maybe lower some tax rates, as everybody’s appraised value keeps rising. That’s my main passion right now is, is that economic development.

Carolina: Yeah, more sales tax means more funds that the city can put to use.

Jeff Bauknight: I’m excited about this, a ruling that the comptroller has where it’s the destination source taxing. So the big box warehouses, like Best Buys and Amazons. Now the taxes will be sent back locally to us if you buy online. So that’s going to be very important for us, I think, in the future.

Carolina: And talk to me about what do you do when you’re not busy with business? What do you do for fun?

Jeff Bauknight: Spend time with my family. Number one we have two great daughters and one’s away at college. So now that time that she’s back home or I get to go spend with hers very important to me, I have one more that’s the senior. So going to her tennis matches is his top priority for me to make. And then when I can, I love to hunt and fish absolutely loved being out there. And then I do woodworking and when I can, and it’s not too hot in the garage. And occasionally I get around the golf. I used to play quite often and, and not near enough anymore.

Carolina: And so you’ve been on the city council since 2013? Yes, that’s correct. What are you most proud of as far as your work as a city councilman?

Jeff Bauknight: There’s a lot. Working to foster a real team atmosphere with the city council members. We worked very well together. I’m very, very proud of that. There’s a lot of mutual trust and respect on the council right now. And that’s been a long time coming, but I think we’re there and I’m really, really happy with that. We’ve improved street construction standards. Dr. Young had actually brought that up, but I think it’s very important for the council. God, there are so many, so many things to go through over the years.

Carolina: The golf carts?

Jeff Bauknight: Yes, we got golf carts, where you can use them in some residential streets. We’ve got a new program coming up in the park in December that I’m excited about partnering with Texas Parks and Wildlife on the duck pond, the duck pond. That’s another one too. I’m glad that we got a grant writer on board and we’re pursuing more grants. One of the great achievements as a councilman, we picked Jesus Garza to be our City Manager and I think he’s been very instrumental and really transforming the way we do things and the way we look at things and brought a bunch of fresh new ideas to us. And that’s probably one of the best decisions.

Carolina: And what’s it been like working together as city council through the loss of Mayor McCoy these last couple of months.

Jeff Bauknight: It’s brought us a lot closer, you know, after he passed, you know, we talked a lot and I think as a council, we probably visit more on a personal level now than we did before. Realizing that life is fragile and, you know, we really respect everybody that’s on there and enjoy our time with them because we do spend a lot of time with each other. It’s a little tough to do it on the personal side because, you know, we can’t gather in more than three, so it can’t be four of us in a room at one time. So it’s always kind of difficult from that perspective, but I just really enjoy everybody on it.

Carolina: I think that’s a really important message too, to share with people, you know, really savor the time you have with your loved ones and make the impact that you can on your community. So thank you, Jeff, for joining us, and best of luck on your candidacy up next, we’ll hear from the third candidate for mayor and then Alvarez who previously served on the council, we’ll be right back.

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