Election day for Kyle City Council District 5 and 6 seats is May 9. The Hays Free Press asked the six Kyle council candidates the following ten questions. Answers printed as submitted.
See the other candidates responses here:
District 5 candidates: Damon Fogley, Laurie Luttrell, Jaime Sanchez
District 6 candidates: Tammy Swaton, Dex Ellison, Daphne Tenorio
Dex Ellison, District 6
Personal / Business Banker for United Heritage Credit Union
1. What are the most important policies Kyle needs to implement to ensure it reaches and maintains sustainability? Growth is great and I welcome it. However, the growth should happen on our own accord as the citizens of Kyle. I understand the importance of bringing large companies here for jobs and a broader revenue channel, but in order for our city to sustain its uniqueness and lure we need the local, small businesses to thrive throughout Kyle. If the idea is for Kyle to be a tourist or destination city for people all over Texas to migrate to, then it’s imperative that we have policies in place that encourage local entrepreneurship and don’t send that small business owner into bankruptcy with fees or requirements that are financially demanding. Afterall, local, small business owners are the long term backbone of a community and are working towards the American dream.
2. What are three achievable goals you would champion during your term? I want to first and foremost place this city back in the hands of its citizens. I filed for my candidacy back on January 28th this year and I’ve talked to hundreds of people throughout this city. Long term residents who reminisce of the days before the population boom, but are embracing the changes aslong as their voices aren’t forgotten or even worse taxed out of their homes. I’ve met with newer residents within the past five years, like myself, who are excited about this city’s potential and want to make Kyle their long term home and raise a family. I’ve had discussions with local, small business owners who also don’t mind the growth and competition, but want a fairer playing field and would appreciate support and recognition from the city for their value to the community. All of which care very deeply for this city and are happy here.
Next, through my work as a volunteer throughout the city, I’ve heard the calls for more to do in this city from both youth and seniors in the community. Young people in this city have cried out for years for this and / or a skatepark. Speaking with seniors at the Kyle Area Senior Zone, there is interest in such a facility also to keep themselves active throughout the day. I think we can get creative as well in the way we pay for this without going straight to the taxpayer with an increase in taxes. Finally, developing a transportation and overall infrastructure plan that is more up to date while taking into consideration the growth we’ve had and will continue to have since our last plan was constructed.
3. What do you believe is the number one issue facing Kyle? Preparing for the inevitable growth with the infrastructure, including transportation and communication systems, in place beforehand is a challenge. Working with the county and TXDOT with the 150 realignment, passenger rail, and other projects are key parts to that. Secondly, creating an environment of attraction in tourism and economic development are pertinent as well. We want travelers to pull off I-35 and partake in a primary lure that they can only find in Kyle to broaden that revenue base and lessen the tax burden on homeowners. Finally, attracting higher paying jobs and keeping people in Kyle to work and live.
4. What ideas do you have for branding the city as a tourist destination? First, building an environment that encourages local, small businesses and that entrepreneurial spirit. Tourist don’t travel to cities that have the same box stores as their home town or like every other large city in Texas. People travel to mid-size cities for tourism reasons because they offer a unique experience and accommodations for a day to long weekend that they otherwise don’t have where the travelers are from. Whether that’s done through a unique restaurant district, or family entertainment like festivals or something that is a draw because it’s unique to the state or region as a whole.
5. What is the name of your neighborhood and what is the most pressing issue for residents there? I live at the Settlements Apartments in the Amberwood area, and for far too long the issue of water quality and price for these services have been a consistent complaint since I can remember when I moved to’that part of town in 2012. That has to improve and some residents have and are moving out because of this. From my conversations with residents in that area, they are also concerned with safety and trusting that our police force is here tosserve and protect. Many residents in my apartments dream of one day owning a home here in the area, and they are being cautious with their decision to do that in Kyle depending on which course this city goes.
6. Do you have any professional experience that will help you as an elected official? I’ve consistently held at least one job since I was about 14 years old and have always been looked at by my peers as a leader. Currently with my employer, I’ve been trusted with a number of opportunities to lead. Whether that’s as a key member with our business development committee, or leading through the organizations my company supports me to be a partsof like the Rotary Club of Kyle, as a committee chairman. In my personal and professional life I’ve always listened first and then spoken up for what I believe inand what’s morally right. I’d bring that same approach to council if elected.
7. What do you see as the greatest threats and opportunities for the future of Kyle? Our greatest threat is not preparing for the inevitable growth and letting that growth dictate and place the city in a reaction role as opposed to a proactive approach that we should be in for determining our city’s destiny. Becoming a bedroom community and ultimately plateauing off from there is not what we want as the burden lies on the property owners. Broadening our revenue base as a place to attract visitors to spend in Kyle and working to bring higher income jobs for people to support a family are key opportunities we can’t miss out on.
8. Why should voters elected you over your opponents? District 6 voters should elect me as their representative because I pledge to be the exact definition of that word, representing the requests and needs of those residents. I pledge accessibility to the constituents of District 6 and others in this city that feel they need to Speak With someone who is ready to work hard for them. With my desire to see Kyle continue to grow as a great municipality, I pledge to put in the time and effort that’s needed to work with other leaders in this city as a team to achieve great accomplishments.
9. What should our readers know about you before they head to the voting booth? I thought long and hard about taking on such an endeavor. This is a decision process that goes back almost a year. I wanted to make sure I was both mentally and physically prepared to put in the necessary work to represent a populace. Once that decision was made last December, it was no longer about me. I was in this for District 6 and everyone else who resides in this city and cares about this community like it’s their family. I filed the very firSt day you could and have walked neighborhoods with that in mind.
10. What is the most recent book you read? “Triumph of the City” by Edward Glaeser