Lt. Col. Roy Morales is retired from the Air Force and currently serves as a trustee on the Harris County Department of Education.
And Morales says he's the most qualified candidate for Houston mayor.
"I'm running to improve their quality of life and also to protect their quality of life. And the way we're going to do that is by bringing our communities together. We've been divided so many years, now it's time to build bridges between our communities and just lift up our city and be able to overcome the economic storm that we have on the horizon."
Morales is running on four main issues: He says if elected, he'll improve city services, limit the growth of city government, freeze the property tax rate and improve public safety.
It may sound counter-intuitive to freeze taxes and expand and improve services, but Morales says it can be done.
"Being a Lt. Colonel, when people, when captains and majors would come before me with their budgets, you have to challenge them on what they want as opposed to what they need. When I work for the city, I would make sure that we had a five-year plan, I knew I couldn't get everything in one year, but I would systematically put a budget together that would roll in year after year after year."
And Morales says by cutting back on taxes, more businesses will be drawn to Houston leading to less dependence on the energy industry.
"We've got to encourage businesses to come here. Well by having a lower tax rate, because I'm going to freeze our property taxes. I did that — I'm the only candidate that has ever done that and I did that on the Harris County Department of Education. I'm not talking about just small tax relief or small tax rate cuts, because that doesn't overcome these huge appraisal rates. The only way to overcome huge appraisal rates is to go with effective tax relief."
That may mean trimming the fat from the city's budget, but Morales says he'll put his money where his mouth is: he's pledged to take a pay cut if elected as mayor and to ask the city's department heads to do the same.
Morales is running against Councilman Peter Brown, former city attorney Gene Locke and City Controller Annise Parker.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.