Teodoro Sosa, current mayor of the municipality of Gáldar in the north of the island of Gran Canaria, wants citizens to give him the opportunity to continue doing what he has done for his native town during another term. In his interview he wants to update us with his political plan he has called “PLANTEO“
What led you to liaise with politics?
Since I was a child, I used to tell my mother that when I grew up, I wanted to become a mayor, it already runs through the family genes. When I turned 18 and started studying Public Works Engineering, I was offered the possibility of entering politics by Isidro Díaz, a former professor. I was 19 years old when I first entered and now, I am 43, so I have been linked to politics for many years.
What should be the qualities of a good mayor?
I have always said that anyone who enters the world of politics must have a vocation for service, because if you use politics for another purpose, it will not be a good path. I respect all people, but the truth is that there are many who go into this world mainly for a good salary, to stand out or flaunt, and I think that all this must be set aside, because if you have no vocation for service it’s not good for politics. When I speak of vocation for service, I mean that a mayor of a municipality plays the role of a “father figure” 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and all that entails to be at the service of the people. Not only attending to the rich, the entrepreneur, but also serving the citizens, the fellow neighbour, the ones that are by your side and those who do not know how to defend themselves; that is the vocation that I think a good politician should have. Evidently, you must be willing to work, be a serious and honest person and show that the public can place their trust in you.
What does the council contribute to you? Has your life changed after your years of mandate?
The main change in my life is that I have less time (laughing). I must be frank and tell you that the hardest thing I had to do was adapt spending time with my partner, my family and friends, you generally have to set your personal life aside in politics and that takes its toll. But if the question is, would you go back and do it all again? The answer is yes, although the first years of term were very hard, but every 4 years the citizens have been giving me the majority vote and the opportunity to continue. I already have 3 mandates, 12 years and I will run for office for another 4 years. The reason I run for office is because I believe that the citizens have understood the decisions we have made so that the people can move forward and Gáldar is now in a high position at a political and social level. Right now, if I look back, I wonder, was it worth it? and I answer yes because the results have been positive, I do not regret having entered politics up to this day.
“There is no greater pride than being mayor of the city where I was born”
Is it satisfying to serve the people, what aspects have helped you to keep moving forward?
What helps me move forward is the support of the people, during the difficult times I could see that the people understood the changes being made. It is true that we may have received some criticism at the beginning, but when the people begin to see that our decisions have no bad intentions; that they are positive decisions and then when you start to see a reflection of their support, it makes it all worthwhile to be where I am.
What state was the town hall in when you started your term?
When I started my term, the town hall was in a very delicate situation, being as it was 31,000 million in debt. On top of that I started in the year 2007 and just a year later the recession began until 2013 when we began to overcome it. I was a very difficult time to deal with as the debt was an internal crisis and the global recession did not allow us to solve anything. That was the hardest moment on my term, but that is the time when someone needs to show courage, I could have gone home, returned to my previous job and said that since I was not the guilty party in that situation, I’ll just leave those who were already there with the problem, but I had courage and found myself surrounded by a good team, so we were able to take the town hall forward. Today the town has realized that I have been there through the good times and bad, they have valued that I was not a coward, that I did not take a back seat. I explained the situation and the necessary measures that had to be carried out.
It never crossed my mind to throw in the towel, I have always been very tough and I know how to faced situations head on. I never show weakness, it is the worst thing you can do in politics. The least you should show the people when you are in charge of a city is a weakness as it will create uncertainty and discomfort and nobody will understand your position.
“Citizens are always aware of the changes that will be made in the city”
“It never crossed my mind to throw in the towel, but that situation has made me value more the position I am in right now”
What is the current economic status of the council?
We have many goals and pending projects, so we have not achieved everything we have in mind, but I do believe that the town needs infrastructure, but the most important thing for the council is the citizens, what does this mean? That the ones who are going through the most difficult times will have our support; a child in nursery, a senior in a residence, a disabled person in an occupational centre, a woman in the Gender Equality Office … the important thing is the people because if there is no employment for these people, no one will understand. Given this the city has done something important and that is getting more and more people out of unemployment status into economic activity and allowing other businesses to locate to the city.
For this reason, like I said before, it is important that the town has infrastructures, but always without forgetting that it’s the people that come first, offering them work and social services for those who need it.
“For the Town Hall of Gáldar the people come first and then everything else”
“The presidents of the Government, of the City Hall or the mayors of the municipalities have a responsibility in their shoulders and you have to commit, or if not, dedicate yourself to something else”
Do you trust that the people will continue to support you in the next elections?
Well, the political smell sometimes fails, but I think that in this case, the prospect and what you hear are good, I’m not saying this because I am a candidate, but because people value you, listen to you, feel their support in the neighbourhood meetings and, afterwards, the day to day citizens value that the municipality has been governed correctly. It is true that many political parties run for office, but the municipalities vote for the person, not the party, the town appreciates the work we have done, I won’t have to do a big campaign. I’ll demonstrate how Gáldar was a few years ago and what it has become today, so take a step back and you will have the answer.
Why should a Gáldar citizen vote for you in the following elections?
Because I believe that we have had the courage to manage this town in these difficult times and hope to continue working in the future. That is, courage with what we have done and high hopes for what we will continue to do. Something that I value a lot in politics is loyalty and generosity, we have been loyal to the things we have done, loyal to our people and to the agreements we have made.
“The key is to have open arms so that, within the region, Gáldar is not seen as an enemy, but as a municipality that opens its arms to other municipalities”
What does your party contribute to the people that other parties don’t?
Mainly the Rural Nationalistic Block provides the experience, I’m not saying that we are infallible and that we do everything well, but without a doubt this party, together with Nuevas Canarias, will provide to the people experience after 20 years serving the town of Gáldar. We have been participants in the last two decades of this town, 12 years of mayor and 4 years of council. Nobody can talk about this city without taking into account that much of the progress has been thanks to these two parties.
“We have formed a group of men and women dedicated in body and soul to the town of Gáldar”
What are your plans for the future for the town? Tell us about your project “PLANTEO”
Some of the future plans we have for the municipality of Gáldar are the following:
- Improvement of social services, especially in helping the elderly overcome their loneliness.
- Generate more employment, making it easier for businesses to come to our municipality, offer work to unemployed citizens.
- Improving the safety of the town offering 12 new posts for the local police.
- Decreasing debts and taxes, so that the IBI (Real Estate Tax) is more affordable to citizens.
- Neighbourhood Housing Beautification Project, which consists of citizens contributing the materials and the town hall provides the manual labour and machinery.
- More culture and sport events for the citizens
- Promote clean energy, with the opening of the largest photovoltaic plant on public land in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria in La Punta de Gáldar.
- Improvement of citizen services, that is, everything that involves helping the citizens will be in the spirit of this new mandate.
- Improve the municipality coast, mainly the Bocabarranco beach with the treatment system.
- Fight for the new Saulo Torón High School
How do you see the political future in general?
I see the political future very tough, Spain is very up and down at the moment and it is a pity. The conflict in Catalonia must be left aside and they need to focus on the other numerous problems that the country has. I also see a very complicated issue with the entry of the “Extreme Right”, Spain cannot lose its values, what we have advanced in the last 40 years of democracy can be jeopardized because they speak about prohibiting the basic rights of citizens. I see with uncertainty the situation that is generated by conflict; a parliament where parties that are not going to even look at the Canary Islands, as we have always advanced when there are Canarian deputies in Madrid who fight for the islands, if we lose them, the money will go where there are more powerful and strong interests and they will forget about us.
“We would be deceiving ourselves if we cannot see that there is a situation of national uncertainty”