Hernandez has overcome tough times, has a vision for Lubbock and wants to carry it out as mayor

Adam Hernandez, mayoral candidate in Lubbock, Texas

Adam Hernandez, mayoral candidate, courtesy photo

Adam Hernandez said he was in a dark place as a child – a liability to the city he now wants to lead. It was, he said, by the grace of God things turned around.

Hernandez now wants your vote as he seeks to become the mayor of Lubbock.

“From the ages of four to eight, I was a victim of very extreme child abuse. After that, my parents quickly got divorced and we were essentially set out on our own to roam the streets of Lubbock,” he said.

He was both unsupervised and, as a teenager, homeless. When he was 18, his then-girlfriend got pregnant.

“Because I became a young father, I decided to turn my life around. I didn’t want any of my children’s lives to be how mine was,” he said.

But he was “very poor” and needed to get his act together quickly. He did a two-year program in Waco at Texas State Technical College in digital media design – back in the days when almost no one knew what that meant.

“I knew what it meant,” Hernandez said.

He came back to Lubbock from college and started his own business. But it was only the beginning of Hernandez’s path to advocacy and candidacy.

Race for mayor: This is one story in a series about the 2024 race for mayor. Click here to get an overview and links to other stories in the series.

Heartbreaking tragedy

Hernandez told LubbockLights.com, “In 2018, my oldest daughter took her own life.”

“My daughters and I have always been very close,” he said. It was devastating.

In a public Facebook post in 2018, Hernandez wrote, “I can’t kiss my baby on her forehead, squeeze her cheeks or touch the tip of her nose and tell her, ‘I love you, baby.’ I can’t make a funny face and see her laugh.”

“We love and miss you so much, baby! You became such a beautiful and good young woman. Dad is so proud of you!” he wrote.

“That completely took me out of life for two years. I was in a very deep depression,” Hernandez said.

He had recently reconciled to his dad at that time.

“He allowed me to stay with him for those two years,” Hernandez said. “I was rebuilding my business, got into an apartment with myself and my daughter and was going to try to continue on with life. And then the pandemic happened, and then the George Floyd incident happened.”

George Floyd’s death posed a question

George Floyd was stopped by Minneapolis police in May 2020. A video showed officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine and-a-half minutes.

Floyd died, and Chauvin was later convicted of murder. Three other officers were convicted on lesser charges. The video went viral and so did protests across American cities.

“That sparked obviously a lot of feelings,” Hernandez said.

But something good came of it.

“It sparked an idea in people of asking the question of, ‘What could they do to help their community be better?’ And I realized that I wasn’t doing anything in that regard,” he said.

“I wasn’t volunteering my time. I wasn’t trying to mentor. I wasn’t doing anything other than, you know, trying to make money for myself.”

“So, I decided that I wanted to change that. And in the summer of 2020, I decided to dedicate the rest of my life to community service,” he said.

He now volunteers at O.L. Slaton Middle School through a program called Communities in Schools of the South Plains. He volunteers with AMEND Together Lubbock, the HEARD Coalition, the real estate advisory board for South Plains College Career and Technical Center and Lubbock Compact.

“I became a co-founder in the summer of 2020 in Lubbock Compact, which is a public policy think tank and an advocacy organization,” he said.

“I go to community events – everything from cleaning up trash to stuffing backpacks for school drives,” he said. And he attends neighborhood association meetings.

Lubbock Compact

Hernandez helped in the founding of two groups — Lubbock Compact and Lubbock Compact Foundation. One can act as a nonprofit and the other can get involved in politics, for example supporting Freedom Act Lubbock which is the initiative to reduce enforcement of misdemeanor marijuana violations.

The Lubbock Compact website describes the group as focusing on Lubbock’s public policy, financial sustainability, disparities and environmental justice.

The marijuana issue goes on the ballot May 4 – the same day as the mayoral election.

The compact successfully lobbied for policy changes such as brining impact fees to Lubbock wherein developers pay to offset the cost of providing city services in new areas of town, Hernandez said.

The compact also successfully advocated for projects to pave dirt streets in Lubbock, adding a mixed-use overlay district to the city’s zoning ordinances, and updating the city’s Gateway Street Fund to allow for repairs of existing roads – not just the creation of new roads.

Plans and priorities

“My first and foremost priority is to change the way things are done on the Council,” Hernandez said. Without better collaboration, he said, other goals are harder to achieve.

His top public safety priority is animal control.

“Make it safe for us to walk in our neighborhoods without fear of attack from dogs. We have a huge stray dog issue,” Hernandez said.

“It’s a real public safety issue, and people’s animals are being killed. People are being attacked, including children. We had a man killed last year by a pack of dogs,” Hernandez said – referring to Jack Clinton Looney.

The stray cat population is a problem too. He wants the city to consider a trap-neuter-and-release program.

Hernandez mentioned crime only within the context of mental health. He acknowledges a lot is already in the works to improve mental health – some of which Lubbock Lights covered in October.

Another priority is helping the homeless.

“It’s just so much less expensive, so much less of a negative impact for everybody, if you put that homeless person in a home,” he said.

He prioritizes public pools as an affordable way to keep kids out of trouble. He’s not happy about the loss of the public pools at Maxey Park, Mae Simmons Park and Rodgers Park (Montelongo Pool).

“Shade structures are a big thing that we’ve heard from a lot of people,” he said concerning the need for park improvements. It’s just too hot in summer to get outside without them, he said.

Hernandez promotes something he calls walkability improvements. He wants the city to be more pedestrian friendly.

“We pay a lot in property taxes, and we deserve to have some nice things,” he said.

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Author: James Clark- James Clark is the associate editor of Lubbock Lights. He worked in radio, television and digital media for a combined total of more than 30 years. He was Director of Digital News Content at KAMC, KLBK and EverythingLubbock.com for nearly 10 years.