WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — For the first time since being elected in 2016, Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana has two opponents.
After Texoma’s Homepage reached out numerous times, candidate and Big Brother star James Huling never responded to participate in this pre-election story.
Huling is facing Santellana and oil and gas businessman Kevin Hunter for the top spot in city government.
“When you sit in this position, a lot of times, we’re voting on things and that’s the public policy piece, but being a good ambassador and leading the city,” Santellana said. “If you’re gonna lead the city you have to make sure the people are going to follow.”
“I’ve always followed local politics. I spoke at the 4A and 4B’s. I spoke at city council meetings,” Hunter said. “You know, when you follow stuff and you sit in on city council meetings, I feel like you gotta quit gripping, you gotta do something.”
If Santellana claims the mayoral victory again, he’ll serve his third and final term.
“I want to make sure that I finish what I started,” Santellana said. “I always said if I was able to be in this position two, four, six years I want to be able to steer the ship in the right direction and hand those reigns over to somebody and say, ‘Hey, continue this growth.'”
Hunter became known in the Wichita Falls area for advocating against raising taxes and he plans to continue that advocacy if elected.
“I feel like the taxpayers are mad over their tax bills, and they don’t feel like they’re getting a good return on their money,” Hunter said. “I feel that way, and we’ve got to change that.”
Santellana said it’s about having a plan, a plan that prevails.
“Sitting in this position, I’ve been able to develop a strong economic plan and a strong strategic plan with council and those plans are working,” Santellana said. “I mean they’re working fantastically, we’re starting to see all those economic indicators of growth, housing, jobs, our factories being filled.”
As a newcomer, Hunter said he’s there to listen and learn, running on a campaign of “Make Wichita Falls Great Again.”
“I’m no politician at all, I may tell you. You may not wanna hear it, and I may wanna not hear your answer, but let’s sit down and see. Because I’m not perfect,” Hunter said. “I wanna find what we can do better.”
An incumbent and two challengers, all aiming for that seat in the city council chambers.