Texarkana mayoral candidate speaks at town hall meeting about COVID-19 and improving the local economy
TEXARKANA, Texas – Mayoral candidate Brian Matthews focused on COVID-19 and local economic development, particularly in relation to the proposed federal infrastructure bill, during a town hall-style session Tuesday.
About a dozen people gathered in Bringle Lake Park to ask questions and give Matthews, a former city council member who challenged incumbent Mayor Bob Bruggeman, his views on what the city government can do to contain the pandemic and the city’s prosperity bring to.
Regarding COVID, Matthews said public education should be the focus and opposed mandatory actions such as vaccinations and the wearing of masks. The city government should establish itself as a credible source of reliable information, including through the establishment of a health care expert commission to guide people into “self-regulation, not government regulation,” he said.
“When I provide you with vital information that you can use to make an impressive decision, I am only educating, instructing, empowering, conditioning you so that you can hopefully make a decision that is in your best interests, without imposing it to your right and saying, ‘Oh, you are required to wear a mask.’ In the case of COVID, you can’t overcommunicate, ”he said.
One of the keys to boosting the local economy is diversifying the types of businesses in the city, Matthews said.
“I think we waited optimistically for the time when we would hear the news that we have a large manufacturer that is going to step in, paying a lucrative wage that will employ more than 25 people. We don’t need another restaurant. We really don’t need another bank. We really don’t need another dollar store, “he said.
He said the city must be ready to attract such a business by providing local labor, a goal that can be achieved through the city’s educational institutions.
“There are some prerequisites that have to be created so that we can get what has been on our wish-list for a number of years, namely large companies coming to the city. And that is one of the things we can do.” We can create and develop curricula.
“We can learn from private companies. What do you need? What are you missing?
Matthews is Assistant Professor of Management at Texas A&M University-Texarkana and served Ward 4 on the city council from 2012 to 2017.