EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Horizon city will be choosing a new mayor in May and one of the candidates might look familiar, either from the ballot for El Paso City Council in 2018 or reports of his arrest.
Kizito Ekechukwu also known as Zito, ran in the 2018 city council race for District 5 and is now trying for mayor of Horizon City.
He says he wants to help the community grow through his experience as a business owner.
“I’m a small business owner. My background is in business, I think I could handle the financial responsibilities and the infrastructure and improving our quality of life as well,” he said.
Ekechukwu said he owns three businesses which are a freight transportation company, educational facility K&B Training institute and Delight View Bar and Lounge.
He said he has been living in Horizon for about 5 years, however his election application packet says he has been a resident there for 3 years.
“I’ve been block walking, and neighbors are just talking about how fast the community is just growing,” he said, also explaining he wants to solve some of the issues residents have been complaining about, such as the lack of street lighting and lowering property taxes.
On the ballot, you will see his nickname “Zito” instead of his full name.
He said he made that decision to be more recognizable to the voters.
“When I do go knock on doors, people do ask: how do you say your last name? How do you say this? It confuses them. So, I do want to make it easy for people to remember – Zito,” he explained.
According to the Texas Election Code, a candidate can have their nickname appear on the ballot if it doesn’t constitute a slogan, contains a title, or indicates political, economic, social or religious views or affiliation.
The person also has to be known by that nickname for at least three years.
During his candidacy for El Paso City Council in 2018, KTSM previously reported his arrest that same year for alleged family violence.
He posted bond and the charges were dropped.
“That was just dismissed because there was just no evidence or nothing towards that,” he said.
In 2019, Ekechukwu was arrested again, this time for a 3rd degree felony charge for fraud involving debit cards along with four other people.
According to court documents KTSM has obtained, he pleaded guilty for felony and is under deferred adjudication, a type of probation, for six years since the plea.
“That issue is resolved, and we don’t, it’s obviously been at the wrong, that was a mistake that that was made and we never, we just didn’t want to drag the situation any longer,” he said.
He explained he is now married and has two sons and wants to turn towards the future.
Under the Texas Election Code, a person cannot run for office if they are a convicted felon.
In this case, there seems to be a loophole since Ekechukwu has not been convicted, but is under probation.
It does not define my overall my character,” he said adding,” I will hope to at least understand that we are all human and we do make mistakes.”
General election for Horizon City is May 6, 2023, and early voting is from April 24 until May 2.
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