‘People First:’ Activist who helped stop water fluoridation runs for San Marcos mayor

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQfAAAAJDc4MTAxM2RhLTU4YTAtNGIzZS1hYjRmLTExMjg0Yzc3YjE1MQAn activist who helped lead the fight against water fluoridation has joined the mayoral election in San Marcos. Sam Brannon, a six year resident of the fun-loving college town located smack dab in the middle of Austin and San Antonio, joined three other candidates last week in the race to become mayor.

Brannon graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He’s spent the last two decades working in sales and marketing in the corporate services, software and supply chain industries.

The new candidate’s campaign focuses on the desperate need for a change in culture at City Hall, which Brannon says has lost respect for the people. It is for this reason that he coined his platform “People First.”

Brannon expressed discontentment for the way citizens are often treated like adversaries when in reality taxpayers should be the ones calling the shots.

New mayoral candidate wants to give the power back to the people

“The City of San Marcos seems to have lost respect for its citizens. Too often we are treated as adversaries or obstacles to the urgent business of the day, or to outside interests,” said the candidate in a statement on his Facebook page.

“As Mayor, I intend to lead a culture change in how this political subdivision views its residents and tax payers, and how we engage to define and face our challenges as we grow. We must respect our neighbors.”

Brannon says that as mayor he will work diligently to reshape the way San Marcos conducts City Council meetings, in that the agenda will be made public online two weeks in advance instead of the state-mandated minimum of 72 hours at which it is currently set.

This he says will encourage citizen involvement and better decision making.

“With advanced notice and backup information submitted for a 15-day review, City Council Members will have a greater ability to understand the issues, discuss them knowledgeably and seek expert advice.”

As an activist, Brannon knows all too well how difficult it can be for citizens to get informed on important issues, let alone find time for involvement.

“We have to stop handing them 8-inch thick stacks of reading the day prior to council meetings if we expect them to make informed decisions.”

The Texas native was the lead organizer of the Fluoride-Free San Marcos Coalition, which successfully helped end three decades of water fluoridation. He and a coalition of activists obtained more than 1,600 voter signatures, allowing the agenda to be placed on the November ballot.

The initiative passed with 61 percent of voters lending their support to ending water fluoridation, which has been linked to an array of health effects including fluorosis, reduced IQ and thyroid problems.

San Marcos is one of a handful of cities around the nation that have reversed water fluoridation.

‘Stop using the legal system as a weapon’

Brannon’s campaign for mayor also focuses on revisiting the true purpose of the legal system and eliminating annual property tax increases.

Inappropriate use of the legal system against residents is a “blunt form of harassment that no place in this community,” said the candidate. “The people of San Marcos deserve better, and I’m prepared to lead us in a more honorable direction.”

For four years, residents have had to endure costly property tax increases, said Brannon, adding that it’s causing more harm than good.

“San Marcos is not a wealthy city, and the tax increases harm everyone by draining the pockets of families. Tax increases are also passed on to renters through increased rents.

“We’re harming many of those who are least-able to afford it. We can keep homeowners taxes flat, and let the new property coming onto the tax rolls each year can pay for growth.”

The three other candidates running against Brannon include local business owner Ruben Becerra, Councilman John Thomaides and Cherif Gacis, a member of the San Marcos Veteran Affairs Advisory Committee.

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