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Denton City Council Place 7 Mayor large election even years

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    Keely Briggs

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    Gerard Hudspeth

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    Michael Mitchell

Biographical Information

What are your qualifications for this office?

What strategies will you use to ensure open communication between City Hall and residents?

What are your top environmental and land development concerns and how do you plan to address them?

What is your vision for transportation infrastructure in your community and how will you advance it?

What is your vision for the future of your municipality and how would you achieve it?

COVID-19: What actions can the city take to address the health and economic impact caused by COVID-19?

Open Government: How will you ensure government transparency (open records, open meetings) is maintained during a state of emergency?

Budget: How will you address any budget deficit caused by COVID-19?

Two Minute Video Option: Comment on the recent civil rights demonstrations. (Video cannot be more than two minutes. If the video is not hosted on YouTube include the full URL to the video in the Text Response box. Do not include any other comments in the Text Response box.)

Campaign Phone (940) 320-7334
Education University of North Texas B.A. in Sociology and received certification for mediation training from the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program administered by the UNT Institute of Applied Economics.
Experience Serving as City Council member District 2 since 2015
Member of our city council since 2015 and am serving in my third and final term in that seat. The experience of working with fellow council members through six budgets, scores of policy decisions, and general strategic direction for our city have set a foundation for me to serve the community as our next mayor. Further, as I have grown in my role on city council I have taken on numerous board and leadership responsibilities here in the city, representing our city regionally, and nationally in recognition of my leadership in key areas of municipal leadership. § National League of Cities: Energy, Environment, & Natural Resources Federal Advocacy Committee; Council on Youth, Education, & Families; University Cities Council § Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition § Denton County Homelessness Leadership Team § Lake Ray Roberts Planning & Zoning Commission § Committee on Citizen Engagement (Chair) § Committee on the Environment (Chair) § Mobility Committee § Economic Development Board
Increased Community engagement and transparency has been a priority of mine since day 1. As a district representative I have kept the lines of communication open and clear with the residents and businesses in District 2 by meeting people where they are – in person, phone, email, blogs, social media, neighborhood groups, digital newsletters, and regularly scheduled District 2 conversations. As mayor I will continue this strategy of intentional communication by holding town-hall meetings across each of Denton’s districts and will be adding a monthly meeting with businesses in our community.
Cities have a duty and the great capacity to drive improvement of our environmental conditions. I believe that Denton has been leading the way as one such city. We need to build on that strength and environmental leadership. And I believe that that leadership will continue to set us apart and make us an attractive destination for people and businesses.  Top concerns 1) Our poor air quality. To improve and protect our air quality requires continued collaborative work locally, regionally, and at the State level. 2) The preservation of quality open spaces and old growth forest which protect vital habitat . This is the time for smart, careful development. 3) We need to put more emphasis on reducing the amount of waste that goes into our landfill in order to extend its life.  We can achieve this by stopping the practice of accepting waste from other cities and private waste management companies and by upgrading our policies to allow for commercial composting services to operate in Denton.
I envision multimodal transit that scales and better connects us to our neighborhoods, business districts, and to the greater region. We are going to have to work closely and carefully with our partners at DCTA to fix what isn’t working for Denton and to enhance what is working with regard to both connectivity within our city and to the region. We are also going to have to keep the momentum going with regard to real pedestrian and cycling infrastructure across our city. Key to this initiative will be a system of trails and protected pathways. And this is such a great opportunity for Denton because this type of humanscaled infrastructure increases the quality of life in our community which is a key driver of our overall economic prosperity. Infrastructure like this helps us attract and retain people and when we more efficiently and vibrantly move people throughout our community we are being the best partner we can be for our local businesses. I will prioritize these efforts.
To leave Denton a better place than we found it and to lay a foundation for the health, prosperity, and happiness of Denton’s future generations. We get there with people and leadership that is focused on building bridges toward that vision in this troubling time of deep national and global division. This is an overwhelmingly good community. We have so many caring and decent people that we are fortunate to call our neighbors and friends. And we benefit from the positive work of our numerous non-profits and charitable organizations. They make us better. They make Denton a place that cares about people.
We have to acknowledge that it is indeed a real pandemic . From there we need to continue to work closely coordinating resources, efforts, communication, and policy with Denton County and the State of Texas.  But, we have to recognize our foremost duty is to the health and safety of our residents here in the City of Denton. This means that we need to be ready and willing to act locally, on our front lines, in our best interest, in real time. This pandemic has exposed weaknesses and reluctance in larger government institutions to take action in a timely manner. Our willingness to take action locally helped save lives and deliver better health outcomes.  In addressing local economic impacts we need to collaborate with our businesses to get creative and have flexibility. Further as we own our municipal utilities, we can continue to be willing to help businesses and residents alike by not cutting off their utility service for late payment during this pandemic induced economic downturn.
Transparency, in normal times and states of emergency, is very important to me as a citizen and elected official. Transparency in our local government requires three things: open records, open meetings, and effective public notices. Clear, timely, honest communication with our residents and businesses is the key to delivering each of these three elements of transparency. We must remain vigilant that we don’t allow ourselves to mortgage government transparency as we respond to states of emergency. Otherwise we allow for the erosion of public trust, which in turn erodes the very stability of our community in a very critical moment. The only way to achieve this is to elect people to office who hold this standard and will not waiver – even under extraordinary circumstances – and to hold them accountable if they do.
The same way we addressed and adjusted for our anticipated revenue shortfalls related to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn in our current budget… by working openly and transparently with our city leadership and fellow city council members. If and when revenues for the city are down, we have to prioritize core city services and public safety and health. This is easier to do when you employ zero based budgeting as we have done now for several budget cycles.
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Mailing Address PO Box 1045
Denton, TX 76202
Campaign Phone (940) 367-0244
Education Denton High School North Central Texas College University of North Texas
Experience Community Development Block Grant - Member & Chair Planning & Zoning Commissioner Denton City Council District 1 Representative, 2017 & 2019 Denton City Council Mayor Pro Tem, 2019
What are your qualifications for this office? I have a background in business, and that has led me to support lower taxes and city employees who are efficient and customer-oriented. On the council, I have worked to supporter residents and homeowners to protect and respect their property values, keep their families safe from crime, and respond in emergencies. These values led to me being selected as Mayor-pro-tem by council members across the city.
I have a clear record of promoting open communication on the council. And I want to do more. In the past, people could have direct and daily contact with their leaders. But this has been pushed that to the wayside as cities grew. Advances in technology help me bring that tradition back. As Mayor, I will continue with direct monthly meetings with citizens and use "CivicPlus", a constituent relationship app to ensure citizens always have a voice. I will also continue to be active with local nonprofit organizations to participate in their weekly scheduled event. I have an open door.
One of my top environmental and land development concerns is guarding against developmental sprawl. I support policies to incentivize infill development and repurpose existing buildings. Another priority is the tree canopy and green spaces. I will work to ensure both increases every year.
Transportation is one of my top priorities. One of the things we can do immediately is step up street repairs and maintenance—including street marking maintenance crew who must regularly paint and mark curbs. Infrastructure and travel times affect economic development, and also it can negatively impact local businesses and our quality of life. I also want to pay more attention to preventing repeat projects in the same area.
My vision for Denton is to preserve the diverse family-friendly community that I grew up in 47 years ago. The population will grow, but good city policies can keep the close-knit culture. As Mayor, I will protect that culture by supporting policies that attract first-time homebuyers, such as keeping taxes as low as possible. To accomplish that, I support strategies to attract high-quality businesses to grow the commercial tax base. That brings jobs and also shifts the tax burden away from homeowners. Jobs and low taxes will allow our children to grow up here, graduate here, and then work and raise a family here.
The city can take an active role in partnering with the business community. The city economic development department should bring forward policy decisions that could help existing businesses and encourage new businesses to open in Denton.
The policies and procedures should not change in a state of emergency. The policies and procedures should be created with the understanding that an emergency will arise. The only should change is the frequency of meetings. The Mayor's office is authorized to act unilaterally when needed to help ensure the community needs are met.
The city of Denton is well-positioned financially do weather the storm. I will lead the discussion on the council to spend wisely and invest in key growth sectors. I would continue to support the zero-based budgeting practices, in addition to measured re-hiring policies.
Candidate has not yet responded.
I got my "how can we get this done" from working construction, my "what can I do to help you" from being a store clerk, and my ability to work with intricate systems with lots of numbers and moving parts from working for an online retailer. Put all of these together and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who is better at redesigning the systems of organization we need.
A complete overhaul of the city website and pairing it with an app. One of the features would be a public online space for easier interaction between information, the city, and its people.
Well the fact that we're being pushed towards having the landfill monopoly in the area is troublesome. We need better recycling and our own food production where we can. And working towards less commuting would do wonders for air pollution.
I want the city to operate its own ride share/delivery service. It wouldn't be hard to pair this with the city's new app I mentioned, and providing a service would be an easy way to get people interested in what's happening while also helping fund the online restructuring.
My hope is that we can do things no other city has done and move boldly into the future. The systems we have in place for communication and organization have been shown to be inadequate for dealing with anything that isn't maintaining the status quo. We need large scale restructuring of all of these systems. Why that would look like I wouldn't dare to specify without studying this massive amount of available data and getting the communities that live here involved.
They could call for better support from the state and the county.
Again a website overhaul would do wonders for this.
Again there's only so much you can do for this on the local level. We need more funding from higher up the chain.
Candidate has not yet responded.