The Post-Signal invited candidates in contested races in the May 7 local elections to participate in this guide. Each candidate was asked to provide some personal information and his or her qualifications for office. Each also was asked to answer the following two questions:
1. Why are you running for office?
2. What is the main issue in your race, and what are your proposals to address the issue?
Following are the responses of candidates who chose to respond. An (I) beside the candidate’s name indicates he or she is an incumbent officeholder.
Aubrey City Council
Deborah Goin (I)
Place of employment: Valor Farm, accounting.
Education: BS in Fashion Merchandising from NTSU with graduate hours in accounting.
Qualifications for office: President of Keep Aubrey Beautiful; treasurer of the Aubrey Historical Society; Aubrey Fire Department Auxiliary member; Aubrey Education Foundation director; Aubrey 380 Area Chamber of Commerce member; Aubrey First United Methodist Church treasurer; Girl Scout leader and service unit manager.
1. I am running for office because Aubrey is my hometown. When you ask new residents why they moved to Aubrey, they always state that they like the small town atmosphere and the friendly people. My strong roots in the community and community government have developed this small friendly town that the newcomers are moving into. I care about what happens to our town and feel that my contribution on city council will ensure that Aubrey will progress at the proper rate with the least amount of problems. Our city has progressed over the past 20 years at a very steady rate. The city employees and department directors are the best in the area. Everyone works together to ensure that the town of Aubrey is the best. I am also proud that the City of Aubrey works closely with other organizations that are devoted to bringing people and businesses into our hometown.
2. There are several issues surrounding this race. Aubrey needs to continue to prepare for growth coming to this area. According to NTX Magazine, a person moves to North Texas every 5 minutes; at that rate, the growth may be from 6.8 million people to 8 million people in 15 years. We need to continue to improve the water and wastewater infrastructure. During the past 10 years, 75 percent of the city’s water and wastewater infrastructure has been improved or replaced. Projects include the Sherman Drive project, Brockett Street project, Hill, James, and Cherry project, and the loop in Palladium area. Aubrey must determine the plan for its role in economic development in the rapidly evolving regional growth of the area. The city should continue to work with the Municipal Development District and the Aubrey 380 Area Chamber of Commerce and surrounding cities to promote business activities in this area. We should continue to improve the city’s financial position. In the past few years, the city has established a $500,000 operating reserve which was a key factor in the improved bond rating of AA- from Standard and Poor’s. In 2014, the city paid off approximately $98,000 in debt and the debt for 2015 was reduced by approximately $456,000.
Occupation: Realtor, SP Murray Real Estate; Operator of World Famous Moms.
Qualifications for office: I have the ability to understand the complex documents that council members have to review, a passionate vision for local business and a strong leadership personality.
1. I am running for office because I believe in the City of Aubrey and I think that for the city to continue to grow and be successful we need to challenge the status quo and current mentality of the council.
Jeff Perry (I)
1. We have come a long way over the past several years, but I believe there is more work to be done. We have exceptional city employees who we need to take care of, road and sewer concerns that need to be addressed, and a reserve budget that I’d like to see continue to grow. I also want to help Aubrey get through the “growing pains” that it’s experiencing today. This is a dynamic time to be on council, and I hope to remain a part of the decision-making process that takes us forward.
2. Like it or not, growth is coming to our area. How we manage that growth is very important, and I believe that we have done a pretty good job over the past four years of preparing the city for what’s to come. I believe that we need to be ready and willing to work with everyone within the community as a whole to make sure that any decisions made regarding Aubrey are made in the best interest of our current and future residents. Aubrey is going to grow, and one can only hope that whoever sits on council has the best interest of our hometown at heart to see it flourish. If we all, Council, P&Z, and concerned residents come together, we will have the opportunity to see Aubrey become the best it’s ever been.
Occupation: Assistant business manager/cashier, Diamond Food Store, Aubrey.
Qualifications for office: Denton Council for Tax Board for Aubrey, four years; leadership and management, Earls and Jacobs on Highway 380 as manager; construction superintendent for multiple general state contractors of Texas with knowledge of Dallas and state building codes, fire codes, bidding process, and implementation of plans and specifications.
1. Aubrey is a fast-growing community and will be facing many problems not before encountered. I have experience in many of these areas. This council needs a dedicated person to help guide them in a positive way so they can develop and grow responsibly. I would like for all involved to be united and work together for the future.
2. The main issue to which I will dedicate myself is “restoring public trust.” My proposal to address this is as follows: ensure staff accountability; be responsive to citizens input, whether it is sewers, streets, any problem pertaining to the welfare of the majority; govern 100 percent within state statues; explore all options before incurring debt; limit closed section of city council, thus providing a more transparent government; require public vote on all bond issues.
Aubrey School Board
Occupation: Owner and Operator of Running D Cattle Company and Team Duncan Properties at RE/MAX DFW.
Qualifications: I have15 years experience in education as a teacher and coach all in Aubrey ISD, having taught resource English, reading and math at Aubrey Middle School and biology, chemistry, physics and environmental systems at Aubrey High School.
I come from a family of educators. My sister is an elementary school teacher and my brother is a biology teacher and coaches at Frisco Reedy, the newest high school in Frisco. My grandfather served as a principal and superintendent before finishing his career with the Texas Education Agency. My wife also has 15 years in experience as an educator and instructional coach in Aubrey and Denton ISD.
1. Aubrey America is a one of a kind community that has given me so much since I started my career here in 2001. I want to give back. I’m running for a place to add educational experience to the board. I know my knowledge will be an invaluable asset to them with all of the changes that growth to our town will bring.
2. The main issue in my race is future growth coming to Aubrey ISD. The district needs to have a clear economic vision and well-thought-out plan in place to be prepared for the population increase that is imminent. We need a strategy to maintain our high achievement level along with a set of practices for maintaining and hiring highly qualified staff as the enrollment increases. This summer, the board will be choosing the next superintendent to lead the district. This decision will affect the entire district and set the tone for the future of Aubrey America. I know first hand the needs of our district and the importance of making the right choice. My internal experience with the increases in growth in the last few years will help assist the board in making the best-informed decisions for Aubrey ISD.
Jim Milacek (I)
Occupation: Sales and marketing in electronics distribution for Avnet Inc.
Qualifications: I have served the last 12 Years on the Aubrey ISD school board, the last three as vice president. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Letourneau University (1996). I am a member of New Hope Baptist Church, where I have served as a Deacon for the last 20+ years. I was in the U.S. Navy 1986-1991 and served in Desert Shield/Storm 1991 on admiral’s staff aboard the USS Blueridge in the Persian Gulf.
1. I am running for re-election to continue to serve my community by helping the Aubrey School District. I take pride in seeing the success of our students in academics and extracurricular activities. Since I have been in office I have helped lead the district in maintaining our current tax rate while other districts are having tax rate elections to raise theirs. Our current board has increased the surplus to over $8 million to help cover operating expenses. Every year since I have been on the board, AISD has received a superior rating on FIRST (highest possible), which measures a school district’ s financial accountability. I would like to continue to help provide the necessary resources to our teachers and students so they can be the best in the classroom and all the extracurricular activities that they participate in. Our students continue to excel in areas such as academic decathlon, visual arts, UIL, FFA and athletics, as well as many others. I want to continue to serve the students of Aubrey ISD as they continue to make our community proud, and to serve the taxpayers by making sure that their tax dollars are used wisely.
2. The main issue for Aubrey ISD as well as our entire area is the growth that is occurring in the district. I have seen tremendous growth in our schools since I took office 12 years ago. We have built two new campuses (Monaco Elementary and the current Middle School) as well as adding to each of the other 3 campuses. We are now over 2,200 students on five campuses. Through good long range planning by the school board and the administration we handled the growth without overcrowding and maintained our surplus to help cover unforeseen expenses and non-bond issue building projects, all without raising the tax rate. Our teacher salaries remain competitive, with starting salaries being some of the highest in our area and classification (4A). While we are currently in search of a new superintendent to replace the retiring Debby Sanders, I believe the stability of the current board will help the new superintendent come in with a cohesive board and continue the success that has been a hallmark of our district. We have an excellent staff of teachers and administrators who will make the transition very smooth for the new superintendent. It will be very important to keep the school district ahead of this growth curve through forward thinking and willingness to adapt to the inevitable changes we will be facing in the future.
Occupation: Engineering Tech IV, City of Denton.
Qualifications: I am a product of a diverse education, which includes the following: influenced early by parents who were teachers, rural schools in Texas, an inner city high school in Houston, and college education later in life. My wife and I have been in the district for 15 years. My bride of 24 years was raised on the same hill we currently reside on. Both my wife and daughter are products of Aubrey ISD. The only family investment I have in the school district is my sophomore son. This leaves me to be an impartial judge with concerns of the district. My decisions will be for the good of the district and will not waver because of personal friendships. Through my work with the City of Denton, I am able to work with a variety of personnel. As part of my duties, I have been knee deep in mud one day and gave a presentation in front of 600 civil engineers the next week. I pride myself in being a people person. I am a person who asks questions during a decision making process. An outcome involving the school district should not be a result of a “rubber stamp.”
1. To serve the school district and community that has greatly influenced my family. The role of a member is not to be taken lightly. To be voted onto the school board is a privilege, not a higher rank of social status or a notch on my belt. This has been on my mind for several years. When I thought about the influence of educators in my life and the sacrifices they made, it became apparent that I should also give back. There are four men among many that altered the course of my life: Mr. Barby, a vo-ag teacher who encouraged me to enter all of those FFA contests; Coach Ace, an old school football coach that made us hurt and laugh at the same time; an honors history teacher, Mr. Beier, who wrote a letter of recommendation for me I still have 27 years later; finally, Mr. Royce L. Hilton, who used education to leave a share-cropper’s life and make a better one for me. It should be the goal of our district to make such a difference in people’s lives. I have a deep conviction to help future generations. It is very easy to talk or complain about issues, but without action. My goal is to become part of the solution, not the problem.
2. The main issue facing the district now is the hiring of a superintendent. The school board has unique and energizing opportunity to shape the future of Aubrey ISD. The search for the next leader should be an extensive one. The candidate must have the experience to lead the district into an exciting, yet pivotal next few years. The role should be considered to be the CEO of our schools. This person should be forward thinking in every aspect of the job. This new administrator should be a great communicator with all persons he/she comes in contact with. It is understood that the teachers, staff and students are the stars of Aubrey and this person should represent them. This new leader should inspire others, but at the same time fairly evaluate. As a person who interviews prospective employees, I often am faced with seeking out the best for my group. The new superintendent should give Aubrey ISD their utmost attention. This leader will have to make tough decisions. I will champion a person who isn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers in order to insure a superior education for our children.
Cross Roads Town Council
2 at-large seats
Alan Hauf (I)
Occupation (including place of business): Sales team, Aviation Sales LLC.
Qualifications for office: Over 10 Years of experience in various capacities, P&Z commissioner and town councilman 2½ years.
1. To represent all citizens of Cross Roads and develop the Town that retains a country feel. Commercial that is built in a manner as to not be outdated in 10-12 years.
2. From my time on Planning and Zoning to Town Council it has become apparent that the ordinances need a rewrite. During my current tenure as councilman, I have been proposing changes to the ordinances and wish to continue making them more concise.
Occupation: Retired Army Officer, (24 years service, Aviator, Vietnam veteran); retired construction superintendent (Stovall Construction); currently a “Gentleman Farmer.”
Qualifications: BS degree education, Western Michigan University; 30+ hours toward a masters degree in public administration, University of North Texas; SIX years previous service on Cross Roads Town Council; currently serving on the Cross Roads Municipal Development District (MDD).
1. I decided it was time to get back onto the council when I became aware there was a proposal to run a four-lane road down my driveway and another in front of my house.
2. The main issue in Cross Roads is “growth” and how we are going to control it. I believe we need to maintain the policy of 1-acre minimums for all residential development. That policy has served us well to this point. The thought of multifamily or high-rise residences should be avoided. It is the rural, open atmosphere that has drawn residents to Cross Roads and we need to do everything possible to retain that atmosphere. Additionally I would like to retain the small farms/ranches that we currently have, rather than turn them into just another subdivision. I feel we must fight to keep Cross Roads “special”; there are enough subdivision communities all around us to serve those who want that lifestyle, but Cross Roads was built on its open spaces and country charm and needs to retain this. Growth for the sake of growth is not necessarily good.
Tioga City Council
3 at-large terms
Heather Nesmith (I)
Occupation: Self-employed business owner.
Qualifications for office: Six year's prior experience as a Tioga City Council member.
1. My biggest motivation is to help continue to move the city in the right direction for growth. While on city council, I have contributed to the beautification of Tioga by approving the removal of abandoned homes that have posed both as safety and health hazards to make way for the construction of new homes. With the phenomenal growth of Tioga ISD and the many successes of Tioga High School, our city has become the destination of choice for many young families who seek a quality education for their children. We must be able to meet the growing need for quality services and infrastructure for our new citizens. My husband and I moved to Tioga almost nine years ago with three children and we now have a total of eight. Tioga is a great hometown and I would like to continue to serve the citizens by making it even better.
2. Despite some improvements to handle the addition of many new homes in the Turner Ranch subdivision, Tioga still lacks the proper infrastructure to support growth. We need to continue to increase the capacity of the water and sewer systems in Tioga to be able to meet the demand of the additional households that have been and will be built in the near future. The recent loss of a Tioga landmark illustrates the problem faced by the City, and that’s a lack of funds to support these improvements without increasing property taxes on our citizens. Many of these citizens are on fixed incomes and quite honestly can’t afford the additional burden. Tioga needs to attract more commercial interests that will add to the sales tax revenue collected and allow the city to give some relief to our tax paying citizens. As more families build homes in Tioga, businesses will begin to move into our city to serve these households. I will continue to work alongside the Tioga Economic Development Corporation and the Planning and Zoning Committee to seek out businesses that align with our small town/home town feel and will provide the revenue needed to fund the improvements to our infrastructure.
Kurt A. Hall
Occupation: Assistant Fire Chief, City of Allen.
Qualifications for office: I have over 25 years of professional experience working for various sized municipalities and two graduate degrees in public administration.
1. I feel that I possess a unique combination of knowledge and skills that would be beneficial to the community.
2. I realize that our wonderful city has come to a critical crossroad. Communities in the region are steadily growing, our great school district is experiencing rapid growth and our community needs to be prepared for potential future growth. We need to partner with the school district to support our students and address the future demands for city services in an efficient and cost-effective manner. These things can be accomplished while maintaining Tioga's heritage and small town feel. I believe that the city council needs to proactively obtain citizen input and partner with the Tioga Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Tioga Independent School District (ISD) to create a plan (strategic plan, land development plan and applicable codes/ordinances) to address these issues and effectively prepare for potential growth.
Mead T. McGee
Occupation: Texas equine dental provider, self-employed.
Qualifications for office: Through my position of leadership as a certified lay minister with Tioga United Methodist Church, I have had extensive school and community involvement. I feel this experience has prepared me to be a member of the Tioga City Council.
1. I am running for City Council to use my experience to work with others so that we may help Tioga move forward.
2. While growth is coming to our community, I feel as a council we can embrace and manage the challenges of growth in a positive way, which will benefit all who call Tioga home, while preserving our hometown values and qualities.
Tioga School Board
2 at-large seats
Rickey Kemp (I)
1. I am running for office once again to try to maintain continuity with what we have accomplished and what we plan to do at Tioga ISD. I had previously announced that I would not seek another term, but after “The Petition” surfaced at the time it did, going against all of our plans, I felt the need, at the last minute, to sign up for re-election. I feel my 23 years of experience on the Board as both a member and Board Officer qualifies me well to serve another term. We currently at Tioga ISD have a dynamic forward thinking “Team of Eight” that is totally committed to the betterment of our students’ education. I am certain other school districts in nearby proximity would be most grateful to have going for them that which we have going for our district. I am confident that if I am re-elected, our school will continue to move forward and achieve much more success.
2. The main issue in the Tioga ISD trustee race is to continue on the course with which the current 7 board of trustees and our Superintendent, Dr. Charles Holloway, has charted. We are a fast growing district and yes, a respectable percentage of students are transfers. Those extra kids help us to provide programs that otherwise could not be provided. They are “our kids” also! Also, as more housing becomes available in Tioga many of the parents of these “transfers” have voiced a desire to be residents. Our facilities are currently full and we need to build and continue planning for the future. Remember the movie, Field of Dreams, “build it and they will come.” We first built the Early Childhood Development Center and they came. We re-instated the high school after having let it go 55 years ago and more came. We were awarded the distinction of being named an early college readiness high school and again, more came. I know that by building a top-notch “education-first” high school campus, again more will come and Tioga as a community will grow and prosper. It is our duty as trustees and citizens to provide the best learning environment that we possibly can and this is what I am determined to continue to work toward as your school trustee.
Rick Staples (I)
Occupation: RestructIT, Tioga TX (Independent IT Consultant).
Qualifications for office:
Third term; 30+ years business experience; MBA, Southern Methodist University; current TISD President, past Vice President, past Secretary.
1. I have a strong desire to serve my community. I strive to add value as I serve. When I first took office, Tioga ISD had less than 130 students, no high school, and very little opportunity outside of the core curriculum. Today, six short years later, we have close to 500 students, an early college readiness high school, and the best teachers and staff in a 30-mile radius.
2. We need to continue to manage smart growth. Communities cannot keep their heads buried in the sand and believe all will work out for the best. We have to seize the right opportunities while preserving the small town community that we all enjoy - this does not happen by accident. I will work diligently with our united board to continue to raise the bar and keep Tioga ISD the most sought after district in the area. Go Bulldogs!!
Occupation: Retired U.S. Army, Farm Owner Tioga.
Qualifications for Office: Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel; Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, Texas Tech; Masters Degree in Public Administration, City University of New York; Director of Contracting, U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Instructor, U.S. Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Commander of the U.S. Army 1st Armor Division Main Support Battalion; Community Commander of the U.S. installation located in Dexhiem, Germany, responsible for all phases of community life for a “U.S. Army city” in Germany to include all services for family members to include housing, public services, and oversight of the elementary and middle school; Contract Administrator Defense Contracting Office, Litton Industries; various U.S. Army command and staff assignments. Returned to family roots building home on grandparents farm place, Charlie and Lydia Kladiva; mother a 1944 graduate of Tioga High School.
1. I chose to return to Tioga as this has always and will always be home. With our community at the crossroads of growth while maintaining its unique lifestyle, I believe that an independent voice that has the experience in leadership roles and contract expertise is vital. I firmly believe I bring the experience, business acumen and contracting background needed to help oversee and guide the responsible growth of the Tioga School District. I care for and about Tioga! As a child I spent virtually every summer and weekend at my Grandparents farm. Serving 25 years in the U.S. Army, Tioga was always home. I have lived in many places and I have seen firsthand other communities, large and small, and I know Tioga is a great place to live. I am proud of its rich history and way of life and am dedicated to preserving Tioga’s heritage as we grow. I want to be part of the responsible growth that encourages progress while maintaining that Tioga special way of life.
2. The building of a new high school cost, size and other considerations many of which have split our community. I intend to help open and facilitate the discussion on the new high school. Many of the current school board members have served several consecutive terms on the Board. I believe that new blood independent of the past decisions is needed. I also believe my business and contracting experience will be a valuable asset as we move forward.