Bob Burchard: History and heritage


Burchard is a 1955 Gonzales graduate. He practiced law here for 45 years before retiring two years ago. He first ran for mayor in 2012, losing to Bobby Logan.


Why did you decide to run?

“We need a goal of what the city wants to do and what the city wants to accomplish. And secondly we need a leader. And I think our strength is our story to be told. Not our history, but the story that evolves from our history. Our story is a unique nature. In Texas, there's something called heritage tourism, which at one time was the second leading industry in Texas, only behind oil and gas. Heritage tourism isn't going to go see the Astros play or Schlitterbahn, that's recreational tourism. Heritage tourism is to go to a place and learn about your history. And we are the mother of that for Texas history. No other town in Texas may make the statements that we make very easily regarding our role in Texas history.”

“We need to develop that reputation that this is a place to come for that heritage tourism. So we need to put that plan together. But then we need a leader. How are we going to lead all of us to follow that goal, and I am that person and that leader. I can help us tell the story, and I'm the leader.”

“My family came to Gonzales in 1852. I always like to think that some of my people, when they came here, heard some of the stories of the men that died in the Alamo and why they did that and why they gave their lives. And I'd like to think that they heard those stories and that those stories made their way in my heritage to me, to have that unique feeling that I have for Gonzales. I served several years as chairman of the Gonzales County Historical commission, and thoroughly enjoyed that.”

“I had the interest in our city for years, and in 2012 decided that I wanted to get involved. I have a passion for who we are and what our role is in history, and I felt I could help lead that. So my motivation is just that. We have a story to tell and I want to help tell it.”


What do you consider your qualifications for the job?

“First of all, I have the attitude — and I don't mean that in the way we use the term today — but recognizing what we are trying to do here. And I bring that attitude. And what we should be doing here is telling our story. And I possess that attitude to focus on what we need to do. And then I have the characteristics of motivation. Once we identify what our story is and what our goal is, I have the motivation to say what we are going to do with it. We have the obligation to tell the stories of those who came before us and those who are here right now. And then we have the obligation to tell those who come behind us. And finally, I have the characteristics of determination. We are going to get this done. So I'm determined to the task.”


What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

“We need people on the sidewalks looking at and buying things. We don't need vacancies on our main street. We've got to have the heritage tourism to produce the economic activity. Some people in town will say that we don't want to be like Fredericksburg — it's so crowded and there's no place to park. What part of thousands and thousands of dollars of sales tax that they collect [that] you don't want? What part of the sales tax and the bed and breakfast tax and the hotel motel tax that Fredericksburg brings in that we are saying we don't want? The economic thrust of heritage tourism is huge to us.”


On the rollback election:

“I think the city has several functions that they could do, and that is police and fire protection, maintaining our streets, electric, water, sewer, those kinds of functions that we look for the city to do. Those things cost more every year. So there is a need to increase just to keep up with inflation. Also, with regard to wages for employees, I think the city should pay the most it can afford to pay its employees. Because if you don't have good employees, the services go to nothing. With all of that going on, then how does the city increase its revenue? Under the laws of the State of Texas, the city has the authority to collect ad valorem taxes. And I think those should be a minimum, that they should be as low as they possibly can be. I am for the taxes being as low as they possibly can be. And if the rollback is going to put us in that direction, that's what I support.”


How many council meetings have you attended in the past year?

“None. There was a time when I was chairman of the historical commission where I went to every meeting. Attendance at a governmental entity meeting I don't think is a qualification for any particular city office. I'll say the same thing for county or school board or appraisal district. To go and sit in on the meetings, not necessarily a qualification.”


Name a past accomplishment:

“I'm proud of the Oak Forest Bridge. It was going to be cut up and used for scrap. As part of the historical commission, I could communicate with TxDOT that was going to tear the bridge down. It was a tremendous project. It cost the city zero dollars and we have a wonderful artifact that tells a story in itself, because it connected Monthalia with Oak Forest. So I'm proud that I was able to be involved with the preservation and bringing that to town and getting it set up.”


What will it take for you to win the election?

“Here's my strategy: All of you who voted for me last time, do it just one more time. And those of you who did not vote for me last time, give it a thought.”


For Mayor Connie Kacir's story, click here.

For Rob Brown's story, click here.