The Republican candidate for the Nueces County Commissioner Precinct 2 seat is hoping to bring a business approach to the office and further economic development in the county to benefit the rural areas and create jobs.
Gil Hernandez is a retired U.S. Naval officer, having served from 1991-99. He and his wife, Anissa, have been married for 13 years and have three children. He is a 1991 graduate of Texas Tech University with a Bachelor's Degree in business administration.
Hernandez is currently the national account manager for Coca Cola Bottling Co., and is responsible for all sales south of San Antonio and Houston.
Hernandez said he decided to run for the Precinct 2 seat in order to help further the Commissioners Court's goal of exercising fiscal responsibility, while also working to promote economic development.
"We need to be more economically focused as a government - we need to be pro-business," he said.
Hernandez said he is not interested in providing tax abatements strictly to large companies, but would like to see them extended to smaller businesses, as well.
"We need to institute policies that are encouraging businesses to set up shop here, and it doesn't have to be the big businesses - we can encourage small businesses, as well," he said.
Hernandez said he is in favor of the formation of a countywide drainage district to pay for various drainage improvements in the rural areas of Nueces County, but added that issue has to be put before the voters to decide.
"Ideally, it would be great if we had a countywide drainage district, but there are a lot of things that have to happen first," he said.
Hernandez said he would be the better candidate because of the findings in a pair of audits conducted last year and earlier this year that found his Democratic opponent, former Justice of the Peace Joe A. "JAG" Gonzalez, had issues with the way money was handled within his office. Gonzalez was also cited for allowing fines to be paid to charities of his choosing instead of fines being paid to the county, a move Hernandez said short-changed the taxpayers.
"We're talking real money that was lost by the county that was diverted to these agencies," he said. "Now, regardless of what it was for, this is not the right thing to do. This money belonged to the county's taxpayers and it is not his job to determine where that money went."
Being raised by a single mother, who found her family at one point being homeless, Hernandez said he knows how difficult life can be for families across the county. But, he will work hard to improve their lives if elected, he added.
"I know what it's like to be without, but I also know what it takes to be successful," he said.