Abraham (Abey) Lugo, who is running for the District III City Council seat, sees himself as a protector.
The ten-year veteran of service with the Texas Department of Public Safety — first as a State Trooper and now as an investigator in its Criminal Investigation Division — has felt that way since his tour of duty in Iraq as a U.S. Marine.
“I was in Iraq two years after graduating from high school. I turned 21 there,” he continued. “They can tell you all they can to prepare you, but then that’s not part of the story any more. You’re there, and it’s the real thing. When our training needed to kick in, it did,” he said of his combat security duties for convoys in Fallujah.
Lugo said that his faith in God and his family’s love gave him strength “no matter what, to push through, to be responsible and finish the task I started.”
Military service, he said, helped him prove he was dependable, that he’d be there “for people that can’t stick up for themselves.” He said that the service of his grandfather Braulio Lugo Sr. in the U.S. Navy in World War II inspired him to serve.
He continued, “Like all my brothers and sisters, I gave up some of my youth over there. It was demanded of us. The tasks that we took on obligated us to grow up fast. Those life experiences matured me and helped me make the sound decisions I do now.”
Lugo, the son of J. Braulio and María C. Lugo, was raised in South Laredo.
“Santa Rita, San José, Los Obispos, Santa Fe — those were the neighborhoods I knew, and West Laredo where my father grew up. I went to school at Los Obispos Middle School and graduated in 2003 from the United South Magnet school for technology and business,” he said.
He is married to Iris Guerrero Lugo, an LISD teacher, and they are the parents of Jasmine, Bianca, Abraham II, and Isaac.
The District III candidate considers himself “a child of this community and a man of the people.”
He said he wants to be part of shaping the future his children will have in this city. “I love Laredo and all the potential it has to offer,” he said.
Lugo said that the District III residents of Santa Rita, River Hills, and Santa Fe want more lighting and more police patrol of their streets. “The Chacon neighborhood needs more drainage to avoid flooding. The Heights also has flooding and the health hazard and eyesore of the old hospital. Many of the residents of District III did not approve of the money spent to acquire the Canseco House,” he noted, adding that if elected, he would make it accessible to the public and available for town hall meetings.
Lugo said that while he sees Guadalupe, Chihuahua, and Bartlett streets ripe for development with restaurants, strip centers, and offices, he is troubled by the overall economic development of the Heights. “Business trends and traffic flow influence economic development. Creating more business fronts doesn’t necessarily translate to ‘successful’ economic development. We haven’t found the formula yet to create that atmosphere,” he said.
He said that his wish to serve in public office is “driven by keeping the best interests of the taxpayers at heart. I want to bring about progress and to bridge gaps in City government, especially the gaps in communication that have created factions in the City Council, Those gaps stop progress and prosperity. I see that we play the blame game and don’t correct anything. We wait for a hero to fix things. If there is no hero, we need to be the hero.” Lugo said.
“There should be a balance on Council and not a majority that blocks the good ideas of others. The public should be able to trust the leadership it puts in place. Trust allows respectful dialogue and allows the future to have a strong foundation,” he continued.
Regarding the abandoned hulk of the old hospital in the Heights, Lugo said, “There may not be a win-win solution today, but let’s rip the Band-Aid off and deal with it. There were missed opportunities there that the outgoing Council member could have dealt with earlier in his term. All options need to be on the table. Pick the one that bears the least cost. Make an executive decision and go forward with all consideration for the public and nearby property owners.”