Mayoral candidate Ruben Vaiz said he is concerned about the future of Robstown and its residents, and he would like voters to give him a chance to make the changes he feels are necessary to the city's government.

Vaiz is a longtime resident of Robstown, having lived in the city since 1960, when his parents moved to town. He and his wife of 32 years, Zelma, have four adult children together, along with three grandchildren.

Vaiz said the decision to seek the office of mayor, his fourth attempt, came from a desire to improve the quality of life for residents.

"I'm very concerned for the people of Robstown, especially the low income families," Vaiz said.

The challenger said he is unhappy with the way incumbent Mayor Rodrigo Ramon and the rest of the city council has approached the promotion of economic development. Specifically, Vaiz said he was unhappy that the council opted to spend more than $140,000 in trips to China over the span of three years.

"These people are just spending money…on pleasure trips," he said.

Vaiz was also critical of Ramon's and the council's decision to take out a $5.65 million loan with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay for a new city hall. The council has also issued a matching amount of Certificates of Obligation, which do not require voter approval, as collateral for the loan.

"We don't need a new city hall right now," Vaiz said. "We need to fix our streets, especially there on the south side, where there's no drainage."

Vaiz said he would like to see more attention given to cleaning up problem areas throughout the city, including enhanced code enforcement for littering and overgrown grass on vacant lots.

"They (city council) have the money to fix this stuff - they're just not spending it right," he said.

Vaiz said if elected, he would work to improve road conditions and drainage in those areas he feels have been neglected by the city council. His plan for economic development is more locally based, with less of an emphasis on foreign investment, but he feels the city is on the right path in terms of future growth.

However, he would like to see the city exercise more fiscal restraint during these difficult economic times.

"I'm going to do everything possible to keep the budget low," Vaiz said.