KILLEEN, TX — Lots of people in Killeen say you won't find a better listener than their mayor, Jose Segarra.
Hizzoner seems to take the "Dr. Phil" approach to governing: Listen to people's problems and ask 'em how that's working out for them.
Killeen mayor Jose Segarra almost never turns down a chance to talk about Killeen, it’s challenges and it’s successes. He never turns down a chance to talk with people here even... especially when they have complaints.
When a recall election wiped out much of the Killeen City Council years ago, Jose Segarra saw a chance to make a difference, and after years on the city council, he decided to run as the "Dr. Phil of mayors".
"The part that I really enjoy about being Mayor is meeting with people like that when somebody has a problem I bring them in here and I say will come out to my office and they do," said Segarra.
He may not always be able to solve every problem, but he says talking has an impact.
"But a lot of times its things that they can solve you know they're there they're just looking for somebody to vent and if you can have a mayor that's listening to that there's a lot," he said.
He also spends lots of time with community groups and cheerleads their projects, while helping them keep it real.
"Somebody says mayor I want to do this I'm always encouraging and letting him know that you know everything is not gonna be easy, it's gonna be a challenge," he explained.
His biggest challenge involves changing how people to see Killeen, helping them see the city through his eyes.
"Somebody feels that they have a challenge and they feel Killeen is not such a great city they know from my perspective you know growing up in the South Chicago Killeen is a fantastic city," he said.
This "fantastic city" will have to do without Mayor Segarra after one more term.
"You're term-limited after three times you're done and so this be my last term," he explained.
He hopes over the next couple of years to finally put to bed one of Killeen's most nagging problems.
"My battle as mayor has always been changed the image there's really nothing wrong with the city it's just the belief of what people think about it," he said.
He wants to continue working on revitalization in North Killeen, where Rancier Avenue could get a grand makeover.
Overall he says it's the people from all backgrounds that make Killeen the most interesting city in Central Texas.
"That's one of the great things about this community is that military culture that brings us all together even though we come from different backgrounds we come from different parts of the country different cultures different ethnicities but we all have the commonality thanks to our military," he said.
He keeps things in perspective by reading, maybe one book a week.
What he learned from Viktor Frankel's book "Man's Search for meaning" stayed with him.
"It's not what happens to you that matters it's how you respond to things because things are gonna happen to you it doesn't matter things happen to me as mayor," he said.
As for future political ambitions, the mayor says he doesn’t have any. He says he plans to keep running his real estate business and probably still listen to people’s problems.