Speaking out Monday for the first time since her narrow loss to challenger Mike Pusley in the Nov. 4 election, Pct. 1 County Commissioner Peggy Banales said she has many things she hopes to accomplish in her remaining time in office, and she has not ruled out another run at public office in the future.
Banales said she was proud of her campaign, and attributed her loss to superior fundraising by her opponent.
"I was very, very proud of serving Precinct 1," Banales said. "I ran a very good campaign, a very positive campaign, and that was my intention all along, to let Nueces County know the things I had done."
Although she was defeated by fewer than 200 votes, Banales said she never considered asking for a recount.
"There were many people who asked me to ask for a recount," Banales said. "Since the county changed over to these E-Slate machines, it's a pretty good process. I'm not really sure the results would have changed, because things are pretty accurate."
Despite the loss, Banales thanked her supporters for their work during the past year.
"I thank all my supporters, because they saw me through a whole year. I know there were some crossover votes that I appreciate very much," Banales said. "This was a historic year, and I was glad to be a part of that historic year."
As for her remaining time in office, Banales said she has several projects that she hopes to wrap up in the next month.
Some of those projects include finishing the construction of new restrooms at Hazel Bazemore Park, a Nueces River clean-up project, the Twin Lakes Colonia water project and work at the Equistar Little League ballpark.
Banales said she has extended an invitation to discuss ongoing projects with Pusley, but has not yet received a response.
Items she hopes he will make a priority during his term, Banales said, include the Master Drainage Plan, building a recreational vehicle park at the fairgrounds, addressing colonia water problems and monitoring pending legislation that might impact the county.
"What I consider ongoing may not be the same as the next person," Banales said. "Whoever comes on board makes the determination of what they want to do."
When asked about the immediate future for the fairgrounds, an issue on which she and Pusley disagreed during the campaign, Banales echoed remarks made by other county officials recently that the plans for a $35 million Heritage Center should be delayed.
"The final aspect of that would be the Heritage Center. I would like to see that happen, but right now, during these economic times, it is not the best time for that," Banales said. "I've always said I would not do anything that would burn our taxpayers.
"Knowing that, I would not have wanted to go forward with something that would burden our taxpayers at this time."
When asked what her plans were for the new year, Banales said she hoped to rest and then seek new ways to serve.
"I haven't had a real vacation in four years, so I'm going to try to relax a little bit," Banales said. "After that, I've already had many people asking me to run again.
"I've got lots of other plans. Just because I'm out of office doesn't mean I'm not going to be around."