With a six-seat turnaround for Bryan City Council — five council members and a mayor — the outgoing members had their final bittersweet meeting Thursday night as they said their goodbyes and welcomed the incoming councilors.
Bobby Gutierrez was sworn into his mayoral seat by outgoing Mayor Andrew Nelson, and reflected on the steps he took to get to this point.
“Being the first minority [mayor] in 150 years is a big deal. I didn’t realize it was a big deal and I had no idea until I went on this campaign trail,” he said. “Thank God I have never felt the discrimination that I have actually seen walking the streets here in Bryan. It was an eye-opening experience and there were places I had never been before [while] knocking on people’s doors, my eyes are open.
“And there is true disparity in the community, and we are going to do everything we can to fix it. I truly believe we have a great council coming up right now. Most of the seats are filled and we have one runoff, and whenever that happens we are going to be in good shape because we have good people who have good hearts. I will do the best I can, I promise you.”
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Gutierrez is the owner of House of Tires and La Pistola Cattle Company, and president of Gutierrez Ventures Inc. He served in the Single Member District 3 position since November 2020 and has served on the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission, along with the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce and Bryan Business Council.
Nelson shared a heartfelt goodbye after passing down his mayoral pin and pinning it on Gutierrez’s sportcoat.
“You give a lot of time as mayor, which means your family sacrifices a lot,” he said tearfully. “Thank you and it has been wonderful serving you. … The mayor is sometimes like the quarterback, you know he gets all the blame, he gets all the credit. It takes a whole team and the staff has been incredible. … We are business-minded people; we did a lot of amazing deals for the city and a lot of work for the city. And when we disagreed, we still were friends. We still realized that we need a relationship, so it has been incredible.”
Jared Salvato won the Single Member District 3 seat. He works as a commercial loan officer for Guaranty Bank & Trust of Bryan and also serves on the city’s Planning and Zoning and Parks and Recreation committees. He has served for the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce ambassador program.
“We are in the middle of opening a business, raising a daughter and so why not throw one more thing onto the plate,” he said. “I hope that I make you all proud. I look forward to doing everything I can for the city of Bryan.”
Outgoing councilmember Reubin Marin of Single Member District 1 welcomed newcomer Paul Torres, who thanked his family and friends for their support.
“I want to say thank you to my family, and all of the support that has been out there with me and all of the work we have done,” Torres said. “I want to thank all of the constituents in District 1 and I look forward to working for you guys.”
Torres is the owner of BenRoz Construction of Bryan. He is on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and previously served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Board and the Building Standard Commission.
Marin also thanked his family for their support during his time on the council.
“This is definitely bittersweet,” he said. “I think we have done some really great things for the city of Bryan. It was definitely a learning experience. We continue to evolve, we continue to learn and definitely put the citizens first for the longevity for the city of Bryan.”
Outgoing Single Member District 2 councilman Prentiss Madison welcomed newcomer Ray Arrington, who thanked God and his family.
“I never thought I would be here representing my city,” Arrington said. “I left and I came back and during that time there were some friends that inspired me and my heart is overwhelmed.”
Arrington is retired after serving in the United States Air Force for 23 years. He graduated from the University of Colorado in 1972 with a degree in business management. He serves on the board of directors for the American Red Cross, Heart of Texas, and serves as the president of the Carver-Kemp Neighborhood Association.
Madison said he was grateful for his time serving and was excited for the new council.
“I think we laid the blueprint for the next city council to come in and steamroll right along,” he said. “I think we were able to accomplish some things that the citizens asked for us to do.”
Outgoing At-Large, Place 6 councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Buppy Simank welcomed newcomer Kevin Boriskie, who thanked his family and the council for their time serving.
“The city of Bryan is in a good spot and we hope to keep moving that forward for the citizens of Bryan,” Boriskie said.
Boriskie is a Texas-licensed real estate agent for Berkshire Hathaway Homes Services Caliber Realty. He is a Texas A&M graduate who has worked in communications, management and marketing. He serves as a commissioner on the city of Bryan’s Planning and Zoning Commission and Building and Standards Committee, and is a member of the BioCorridor Advisory Board.
Simank said it has been a joy to serve on council, and that he missed his friend, the late Flynn Adcock.
“To Flynn’s family, he might be gone but he will never be forgotten by this council,” he said.
In addition, Bryan City Manager Kean Register also took a look back at the time the outgoing council spent doing work for the city.
“In my 20 years with the city and 12 [of those] years as the city manager, I have never seen a time where we have had this many council members termed out at one time. Normally we see one or two in an election year, but this is different this time,” he said. “We tried to come up with a little list of those council members and this was a task, because there have been so many accomplishments they all had a direct hand in.”
Register highlighted their work and efforts in the Queen Theater, Edgewater Park, Destination Bryan, Temple Freda, COVID-19 Vaccination Hub, Metronet, LaSalle Hotel, Fujifilm Diosynth Technologies, Travis Bryan Midtown Park and Legends Event Center, among many others.
Councilman Brent Hairston will remain in the Single Member District 5 seat until a Dec. 8 runoff election is completed between Marca Ewers-Shurtleff and A.J. Renold.