Let the race begin: second candidate files for District 5 Tyler City Council spot

Published on Friday, 10 February 2017 19:27 - Written by FAITH HARPER, fharper@tylerpaper.com

A marine turned laboratory assistant threw his name in for the District 5 Tyler City Council seat.

Alan Lizarraga, 32, filed for a place on the ballot on Monday. He will face businessman Bob Westbrook in the May 6 election.

The filing period to apply ends Feb. 17.

Lizarraga was born into a military family, living in Arizona and southwest Virginia.

After high school he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was assigned as a meteorological and oceanographic journeyman. He said the job entailed weather forecasting, but it was fine tuned toward airports, and Lizarraga was on a team that predicted weather for pilots.

He said that experience spurred his love of science and also instilled a sense of duty, responsibility and accountability.

It also brought him to Texas, and within a few years after coming home, he moved to Tyler.

“During my time in the military, I always gravitated toward Texans,” he said.

Lizarraga earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and was brought on to help run the department’s laboratories.

That love of science is part of why Lizarraga is seeking a seat on the council, he said.

“In the current political climate, I largely feel the science community and education community has not been represented across government in general,” he said.

He’s also concerned over the loss of manufacturing jobs in Tyler, and looking for ways to bring better paying jobs to town.

He’d also like to focus on improving infrastructure.

“Infrastructure and traffic issue,” he said. “We are growing and we need to figure out how to maintain our roads, and maybe add some new roads to alleviate the traffic problems.”

The veteran also wants to look out for other veterans. During his time at The University of Texas at Tyler, he worked with the Student Veterans Organization.

“We sacrifice parts of our privileges to make sure everyone in America has theirs,” he said. “When they are done with that duty, we should take care of them because of that sacrifice.”

Lizarraga said he would also like to see the city have a better website and do more outreach through social media.

Twitter: @TMTFaith