It started with a phone call.
For the better part of 2020, Delayne Sigerman and Brenda Hughes squared off in one of the most protracted municipal elections in Kerrville's history. Delayed by COVID-19, the election was pushed to November — coinciding with the bitter national election.
Acrimony and resentment could have driven the race between Sigerman and Hughes for Place 4 on the Kerrville City Council. Instead, an unexpected friendship emerged.
"That was so long ago," Sigerman said during an appearance on The Lead Live with Hughes.
"That's ancient history," Hughes said.
Brenda Hughes, left, and Delayne Sigerman were once political rivals who have become friends. The two are frequent collaborators on civic issues.
Sigerman was the incumbent in the race, while Hughes was making her first run for public office. In the end, Hughes scored a decision win with 65% of the vote. Hughes, arguably, secured the most votes in a Kerrville civic election with 6,447.
On election night, Sigerman saw the trends and conceded. She picked up her phone and called Hughes.
"I think in my heart, I knew it was time for me to go," Sigerman said of the election night call. "I remember thinking the voters have spoken, and I'm going to own up to it and give her a call and wish her the best."
That was the spark of a connection between the two.
"It made me a little sad actually," Hughes said. "Up until election night, it was mostly (Mike Sigerman, Delayne's husband) who I engaged with on the campaign trail. I got to know how down-to-earth he was. Then on election night, for her to be so gracious with that phone call now, I'm sad."
The friendship has become a working partnership. The two women serve on a mayoral task force to address Kerrville's long-term public safety and health in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. They share similar passions for public service.
"We spend so much time together that we can almost finish each other's sentences," Hughes said.
Instead of going their separate ways, Hughes and Sigerman have frequently joined forces. They also point out that it's the kind of political dialogue that needs to happen more regularly.
"It kind of renews my faith because a lot of people 'ask me how is Brenda doing?''' Sigerman explained. "I say she's doing great. I think they expect me to say 'that this is the worst thing that ever happened. It's quite the opposite. What a way to leave a position knowing someone has the same interest and compassion for what you did and they do too."
Hughes said viewing people as enemies because of their political beliefs is counterproductive.
"We are still all a community, and regardless of where we stand politically on a national level, city-wide, we all have to get along," Hughes said.
That focus connects the two women toward serving Kerrville.
Before they met, Sigerman was a leading voice for Kerrville's homeless, while Hughes helped found Kerrville Pets Alive! Their compassion and energy have defined their civic engagement.
"What's best for Kerrville," Sigerman said as Hughes nodded in agreement.
"If we have to join forces to get it done, we're going to get it done," Hughes said of her friendship with her one-time political rival.