Posted on 24 April 2014.
City council and school board elections are Saturday, May 10, and early voting starts Monday, April 28, and runs through Tuesday, May 6.
The Messenger sent candidates questionnaires, and asked that answers be limited to 50 words.
Today’s edition includes responses of Alvord and Bridgeport City Council candidates and Decatur school board candidates. More races will be featured in the weekend Messenger.
City council candidates were asked to address the following:
1. Rank the following issues in terms of importance and emphasis for your city: taxes, streets, water and sewer, parks and recreation, fees (water, sewer and garbage), economic development, law enforcement, attract new residents and housing developments
2. Which statement best describes your primary reason for seeking a place on the city council?
a. correct administrative or financial problems that exist within the city
b. change current direction and policies of city
c. continue current direction and policies of city
d. increase local funding for city programs, including streets, law enforcement, parks
e. maintain or lower local funding for city programs, including streets, law enforcement, parks
f. support bond election to improve city issues as needed, including streets, law enforcement, parks
g. oppose tax increases required to improve city facilities, including streets, parks, etc.
ALVORD CITY COUNCIL PLACE 4
Education: Some college
1. First we must maintain a good water and sewer plan if this community wants to grow. We need good law enforcement to protect the citizens, local property and businesses. The city streets are in bad need of repair, and this needs to be addressed. To attract new residents and housing developments, the first three items are very critical. (Answer exceeded word limit.)
2. The council for the past five years has been in the process of correcting many errors made by the prior leadership and administrations. The city needs to control the water demands during this drought situation. However, I would like to see a budget increase to provide better street maintenance. (Answer exceeded word limit.)
Occupation: Alvord ISD
Education: Paradise High School
Family: Married 27 years to Randy McKelvain and raised three children: John Cody, Casey and Kelsi. She has three grandchildren: Easton, Ella and Emma
1. I feel that the main emphasis of the city council should be to attract businesses, residents and affordable housing to the city. In order to do that, we need to improve our streets and update the water and sewage system. Parks and recreation and security are also vital to town growth.
2. I am running for city council to bring a different perspective to the table and look at additional ways get the most out of our tax dollars. To encourage growth, we must be willing to make changes to policies that do not provide welcoming incentives to new residents and businesses.
Occupation: Park Custom Trim
Education: Decatur High School
Family: Wife Ashley Raney and daughter Braylee Raney
1. Just like many of our citizens, street and water issues are always on my mind and the general spending of taxpayers’ dollars in a way that’s best for the citizens of Alvord.
2. I want the current direction of the city to continue. The quality of life has definitely improved in Alvord in the last couple of years. I would like to help see the progress continue to move forward
BRIDGEPORT CITY COUNCIL MAYOR
Occupation: Retail store owner/operator
Family: Wife Pamela; sons Remi, 16, Regi, 15, Robi, 12
1. Economic development (JOBS) will attract new residents and housing, increase the tax base without tax increases, and reduce fees by spreading the overall government cost over a larger group of people. Reducing utility costs as soon as possible will encourage commercial and residential housing development.
2. I am seeking an opportunity to serve as Bridgeport mayor as a means of giving something back to the community that supports my family and our business. I intend to work with the city council to build on the policies enacted by previous administrations that have proven beneficial. But high energy rates, diminished hospital services and infrastructure improvements need immediate attention and new policy direction. (Answer exceeded word limit.)
Occupation: Director of case management, RN
Education: ADN, BSN, MSNA with endorsement preparation (degreed on May 10)
Family: Husband DaWayne Kennedy; blended family with six children and seven grandchildren
1. As mayor my primary focus for my town is always going to be safety first. This includes the police department, fire department and water/sewer department. They must be primary because without them, all other issues fade. After that streets rank next. Our streets are in terrible shape, but we now have a plan to fix them and the sidewalks. (Answer exceeded word limit.)
2. Bridgeport has come a long way in the past several years. We are more financially stable than we’ve been in a long time. We need to change the current direction of the city and focus on developing a program of solidarity and growth. However, we must always keep in mind the financial history of the city and temper this future growth with knowledge of the past.
BRIDGEPORT CITY COUNCIL PLACE 1
A. Z. Smith
A. Z. Smith
Occupation: Retired CPA
Education: BBA from Texas Tech
Family: Four children and six grandchildren
1. Based on attention needed: Attract new residences, economic development, streets, water and sewer, fees, parks and recreation, law enforcement, housing development.
Your first question does not include the most critical issue for Bridgeport – the high price of electricity. Water and sewer are also high but not as much as electricity. The city of Bridgeport owns all of the lines and equipment and sells electricity to the residents and businesses in Bridgeport. Bridgeport does not have a choice of who they buy electricity from. (Answer exceeded word limit.)
2. My only interest in being on the city council is to serve the community. The city council needs to include men and women with diverse backgrounds. My background and experience certainly meet that criteria.
Occupation: Owner/agent, David Correll State Farm Insurance
Education: BBA from Midwestern State University
Family: Wife Tambra Correll; children Lauren Correll Hollingsworth, David “Scott” Correll, Kalea Correll; granddaughter Lillian
1. As I stated at the candidate forum, I believe economic development is our No. 1 priority. With greater development, there will be greater employment opportunities and more tax dollars in our city to reduce the cost of taxes and utilities. This will attract new residents, provide for more housing needs and allow for upgrades to our infrastructure. (Answer exceeded word limit.)
2. I’m not sure any of the choices listed best describe why I am running for city council. Economic development is the most important issue we face. My intent is to listen to people, hear their concerns and search for new ideas to make a difference in these areas and/or tap into the experiences of other communities who have faced the same challenges. (Answer exceeded word limit.)
BRIDGEPORT CITY COUNCIL PLACE 2
Occupation: Lease operator
Education: Graduate of Bridgeport High School
Family: Wife Sheri; son Caleb Coursey and wife Andi; daughter Jessica Morales and husband Damian; grandsons Ayden and Jaxen
1. 1. Attract new residents and housing developments; 2. taxes; 3. law enforcement; 4. water/sewer; 5. fees (water, sewer and garbage); 6. economic development; 7. streets; 8. parks and recreation
2. As a lifelong resident of Bridgeport, I would like to help the city prosper and grow in a positive way. I want to improve the relationship and communication between the citizens, various boards and city government.
School board candidates were asked to address the following:
1. Rank issues by importance and emphasis: academics, athletics, band and fine arts, facilities, technology, transportation, vocational programs
2. Rank groups as a resource for information in making decisions: administration, parents and teachers, taxpayers, fellow school board members
3. Primary reason for seeking a place on the school board: continue the direction and policies of the district, change the direction and policies of the district, lower the tax rate
DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD PLACE 3
Occupation: General Manager, NRS
Education: BBA in Finance
Family: Wife Connie; son Austin, 20, son Cade, 16, daughter Jentry, 9.
1. Academics are priority. Each child is different so to rank athletics, band or fine arts would be unwarranted because they are all equally important to the success of our children depending on their interests. Technology, transportation and facilities must maintain a balance between cost and benefit to the entire district.
2. Each group is important and should be consulted when making decisions regarding the education of our students as well as the needs of our district. The more information we are able gather from different groups, the better decisions we can make as a board.
3. The primary reason for me seeking a place on the school board is to make a difference in the lives of our children. I am not a person that likes change for the sake of change. I support change when there is an opportunity for improvement.
Peter A. Rivera
Peter A. Rivera
Education: Major in architectural/planning/design
Family: Three children, four grandchildren
1. Not enough emphasis in the fine arts and vocational programs. Too much on athletics and technology.
2. Not enough input from parents and teachers, school board members. Restructure criteria for local DISD requirements.
3. Not only to continue the direction and policies of the district, but to enhance and expand areas that are required as the district continues to grow.
Occupation: Wise County Sheriffs Office; inmate work crew supervisor
Education: United States Marine Corps Aircraft mechanic. Non-commission officer training, University of North Texas, vocational teacher certification. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification. Dealership service manager training certification. Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLOSE) certification; FIFA soccer coach certification (E)
Family: A wonderfully blended family with six kids and 18 grandkids. And all the trials and blessings that come with it.
1. I hope I do not sound like a politician by avoiding the question. But I do believe to be a quality education program, Decatur has to place equal importance on all areas. I do however bring a voice that has a strong background in the vocational trades. No program or department should get more attention than the other. (Answer exceeded word limit.)
2. The purpose of the school board is to be an extension of community. To hear what the community wants or needs for the betterment of the community and the nation. In order to do that, you must work together with all groups in order to serve the students’ needs. If I had to pick one, I would go with the parents and teachers. (Answer exceeded word limit.)
3. Simply to create a different perspective. To give the other board members a thought that maybe they have not thought of in the past. I am only one vote.
DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD PLACE 4
Occupation: Family Physician
Education: Graford HS, Texas A&M-BS and MD
Family: Wife Natalie, married Oct. 1, 1988
Children: Nathan (DHS class of 2010) senior at Texas A&M, Jonathan (DHS class of 2011) junior at Texas A&M, Hannah (DHS class of 2013) freshman at Texas A&M, Sarah (DHS class of 2015)
1. All of these issues are important. I am very proud of our teachers, administrators and support staff that focus and each of these services. I have seen great improvement in each area. I believe that with this improvement DISD is giving our children the opportunity to be successful now and in life.
2. I am glad to listen to any constructive input. I also believe good ideas can come from a multitude of sources. I do believe we have excellent staff and administration and by relying on their input we currently have improved facilities, held taxes down and improved test scores, including steady improvement on our SAT exams. (Answer exceeded word limit.)
3. I am interested in continuing the current direction of DISD because I see improvement in a lot of areas. We are now in a better financial position, have better facilities and staff than when I joined the school board six years ago. I do realize there are always areas where improvement is needed but believe we have the staff in place that can identify and make the improvements needed.
Charles L. Ross
Education: High school diploma and 1 year College
Family: Wife Anita Ross, three children, five grandchildren
1. Academics: A good education is mandatory in order for our students to achieve success in every area of their life. 2. Technology: Is vital in order to achieve academic success. I believe we live in a time where technology and academics go hand in hand. 3. Vocational programs: Are important because they prepare those students who for some reason or another may or can not go to college. 4. Band and Fine Arts; 5. Athletics; 6. Facilities; 7. Transportation (Answer exceeded word limit.)
2. 1. Parents and teachers: Parents because of their concern for their children, teachers because they deal with the issues of education every day. 2. Taxpayers: Because they want the best education they can get for their support. 3. School Board Members: Working with my fellow members to come to the best solution available. 4. Administration: I would like to gather as much information as possible from all sources before making my decisions.
3. While we have a good school district we must consider change in some areas of policies in order for the district to continue with the demands of time.