Since 2018 to this part, the city has been led by Jorge Mukdise, who won the elections at that time to occupy the role that his father fulfilled during two administrations after the death of his brother Miguel, the victim of a massive heart attack after winning the 2010 elections.
With this family drama in the background, the current community chief took charge of the district, which will undergo a new election on August 7 to define who will be in charge of the Santiago district.
Although he has not yet formalized his candidacy, Mukdise makes it clear to Municipalities that he will go for re-election. “We are going to continue working because we believe that we contribute to the growth of the city”, assures the mayor in dialogue with this medium.
And he adds: “I try to contain the leadership. The best campaign is to continue doing things well and that is why we will put what we have been doing into the consideration of the electorate. We did not launch the campaign, but we have been working. For us, the most important thing is that the hot springs have a good season”.
Journalist: Being a tourist district, that will surely influence the neighbor’s vote. Where does the local electorate usually put its eye: in the municipal or in the provincial?
Jorge Mukdise: The neighbors are going to accompany our project led by Governor Gerardo Zamora. Along these lines, we are the municipality that best interpreted the policies of someone who was a very important architect in the transformation of the city. We are going to put ourselves into consideration and the idea is to continue working from the place we have.
Q.: How much of the Termas trailer has to do with the role of the governor?
JM: From the Civic Front we have been governing since 2006. Our internal Civic Encounter space coexists with the PJ, the UCR and independents. And each one presents a candidate with whom we are going to compete at the municipal level. And it’s okay, so be it. Zamora is the generator of all this. He is the one who managed to transform the pessimism of those who made us believe that we were poor. Today we are the eighth province in terms of exports and we went from 0.6 percent of GDP to 2 points, so we tripled our participation. His role is key. And people understand that first of all there are the people of Santiago. So much so that at the local level when we have to win we are going to incorporate our opponents for unity.
Q.: What were the achievements of these four years of management?
JM: We managed to deepen the management that was being done from the Province, transforming the city. Old claims settled. From sewers to the water treatment plant through the waterfront, the racetrack and the golf course. From the municipal management, we accompany and order. Where there was a fair that did not have the conditions, we took a walk respecting the space. And we add a place for the boys, culture and gastronomy. A space that today has more than 100 stores. That helped a lot to recover the center. In the same way we recover an emblematic building, which is the former Hotel Italia, and there we are going to have a cultural tour.
Q.: How do you explain the growth of the district?
JM: It is a destination that was used to naturalizing situations, but in this moment of growth today it can no longer do so. We are in harmony with the environment, our urban solid waste plant treats more than 700 tons of recycled material per year. We reduced the waste to the sanitary system to almost 50 percent. Las Termas has a very high growth rate and we are generating new demands, so we address everything related to a new infrastructure.
Q.: And what remains to be done?
JM: We intend that tourists find a place that is like their home or better. So, ordering remise and taxis is very important. That’s what we’re working on. That is why we also generate more attractions for different ages because this is a destination to enjoy as a couple, with family or with friends. Here today all kinds of activities. Everything can be coordinated in five minutes. The golf, the trip to the island. No time is wasted. It is a wellness tourism destination for all ages.
Q.: How did the pandemic impact?
JM: From the economic point of view, they were two very difficult years, with more than 160 hotel establishments closed. It is an activity that gave rise to the city and that was prohibited. It affected from the economic point of view, but it united us from the social point of view. We created a municipal health system and did not set capricious limits to care. We work with a monitoring team and we arrive with everything so that isolated families can be well. We coordinate very well with the province.
Q.: Who was affected the most?
JM: We catered to the artisans, who are the only producers allowed to sell on the sidewalk. We made a containment program to buy them and make shares from the district. The provincial government played a very important role and absorbed more than 2,500 hotel, recreation, culture and alfajore workers. The rest we supported from the district. We delayed in many works, but we do not stop advancing. Could we do more? Yes. But we have a season with a lot of expectations. We waived the 2020 rates and that plummeted our revenue. But we were able to attend to health and continue to grow. I hope we have the season we deserve, but also the one we need.
Q.: What kind of season do you imagine?
JM: We are surprising ourselves. The craft beer festival almost tripled. In February, the baths were full. The Moto GP was the event with the largest call. We come with full long weekends and today we are in the top of the most chosen. We come from the tourism forum that brought together all the provinces and the golf open. And we had these three months with academic events, artistic meetings, professional Olympics. We are very optimistic for the high season.
Q.: Are you surprised by the level of consumption?
JM: Yes, but it is logical because there is a need to recover lost time and meeting places. In addition, there are many clubs or associations that needed to enjoy themselves again and we are capitalizing on the enjoyment of being present.