Alamo at center of Texas Land Commissioner race

Myra Arthur

There is a new battle of the Alamo -- and this one is taking place on the campaign trail.

Miguel Suazo, the Democratic candidate challenging current Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, said he will return management of the Alamo back to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, if elected.

"I want to give the Daughters the opportunity to return to the role they held for over 110 years," Suazo said Friday in San Antonio. "I think Texans would appreciate other Texans being part of it instead of outside groups that he (Bush) is bringing in to oversee it."

As Texas Land Commissioner, Bush ended the state's contract with the DRT after the organization came under fire amid claims of the Alamo being mismanaged.

The incumbent Republican has since tapped business leaders, commissions and nonprofits to take over.

"To bring in a similar business model to what Parks and Wildlife uses," Bush said Friday while attending the Texas GOP Convention in San Antonio. "Similar to what other commissions have used as it relates to Gettysburg and Jamestown and other historic sites."

When asked how Suazo would prevent mismanagement in the future if the DRT was brought back into the fold, he said that that is a matter of having the correct leadership in charge.

The two candidates also differ on the Alamo Master Plan designed to enhance the area around the shrine.

The plan includes shutting down the street in front of the Alamo, turning the businesses across from Alamo Plaza into a museum and interactive exhibits and relocating the Cenotaph, which contains the names of the people who died in the battle.

"There's a couple of different concepts within (the plan) to either keep the Cenotaph as is, or either move it about 100 yards to the South Gate, which was the entry to the Alamo," Bush said.

"I believe the Cenotaph should stay where it is," Suazo said. "Because historically that's where it was intended to be, because it sits in front of the long barracks, and that's where most of those who fought and died for Texas freedom perished."

"The really core focus of what we're trying to do is make sure that Texans know the ultimate cost of freedom," Bush said. "to talk more about the defenders, the battle itself, to remove the cement trucks, the 18-wheelers that come across the ground upon which revolutionaries died."

Bush and Suazo will face each other in the general election in November.