Q&A: Meet the candidates for Leander City Council Place 2

Early voting begins April 19 for the May 1 election. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Early voting begins April 19 for the May 1 election. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Early voting begins April 19 for the May 1 election. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)



LEANDER



Leander City Council, Place 2










Mike Sanders



Occupation: Electrical engineer


Experience: Numerous nonprofit boards and committees. Weekly meetings with teams of diverse engineers, discussing projects and making decisions for 30 years.






Why are you the best candidate for this seat?



MS: I am the conservative choice for Place 2 on the Leander City Council. As an Engineer, I regularly think outside the box, creating things that have never existed before. I have numerous ideas to help stop wastefully spending taxpayer money. Currently, 50% of all sales tax revenue collected in Leander is given to CapMetro. In exchange, we watch empty [buses] and trains arriving at and leaving the Leander Station. This must change.



How will you help Leander recover from the effects of COVID-19 and the Texas winter storms?



MS: I will oppose any effort to shut down private businesses. My heart goes out to those business owners and employees who lost everything because they were ordered to close their doors. I will improve communications between the Leander City Council and PEC Board of Directors to ensure critical infrastructure is better protected from any future rolling blackouts. I would like to see a well to the aquifer at one of our fire stations for emergencies.



What does the city need to do to fix its water issues and prevent further problems?



MS: We need to replace the older main pipes with newer, larger pipes feeding into Leander. We must have redundant water pumps at our water towers and must provide electricity to those pumps on dedicated electrical lines that will never be turned off. We must take steps now, to prevent water from being removed from our citizens ever again. Also an alternate source of water is needed, other than Lake Travis and Sandy Creek.









Annette Sponseller (incumbent)



Occupation: Inside Sales and Reporting Manager


Experience: Leander City Council, Place 2 (2020); Planning & Zoning Commission (2019); Comprehensive Plan Committee (2019); Ethics Commission (2018); Charter Review (2017)






Why are you the best candidate for this seat?



AS: I have been part of the Leander community for over 10 years and I have significant experience working with our city through various volunteer roles with the city and other community organizations. In my short time on City council, I have immersed myself in learning about our infrastructure to secure our water system and improve traffic management. I have a track record of working hard to get the job done and a willingness to learn.



How will you help Leander recover from the effects of COVID-19 and the Texas winter storms?



AS: My focus, if elected, would be on supporting, highlighting, and encouraging a “buy local” media campaign and also researching funding and partnership options for community programming to encourage activation of local businesses. Concerning recovering from the winter storms, I will continue to focus on securing our water infrastructure to provide reliability and long-term water solutions. I also support providing our city the resources necessary to prepare in the event of another disaster.



What does the city need to do to fix its water issues and prevent further problems?



AS: Our city needs to secure our water source, whether the best option is additional surface water, groundwater, reuse water or a combination of those. We need to increase our capability of treatment through supporting expansions of the BCRUA and support increased distribution with redundancy to both water plants. We need to create and implement long-range plans for our potential build-out, as well as, maintenance of our current system.









Esmeralda Traube



Occupation: Business Architect at Dell Technologies


Experience: Background in Housing, Volunteer in Community, Experience with Planning with Million Dollar Budgets






Why are you the best candidate for this seat?



ET: I feel I am the best candidate since I will listen to ALL residents of Leander. I bring different views to the City. I have a diverse background and work with people who don’t share my opinion. I feel I would listen to the community and ask questions to ensure we are not spending more on abandoned projects. I would ask questions around other initiatives that we are addressing. I will bring honesty and transparency.



How will you help Leander recover from the effects of COVID-19 and the Texas winter storms?



ET: I have helped as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels. I have also helped over 50-100 individuals get the vaccine as it is difficult to navigate the online systems. I want small businesses to flourish as we come to the end of COVID-19. We need to rebuild our community and those businesses who have been hurt by the ice storms or COVID-19. We need to help people with insurance claims from the ice storms.



What does the city need to do to fix its water issues and prevent further problems?



ET: The city has two water sources. We need to ensure both are producing enough to provide for all residents. In the past year, we have had two major incidents with water quality/availability. We need to analyze the current water sources and see if they have issues with capacity and/or water transport. We need to plan for city water and many other critical items that need forecasting and proper planning. We need to plan for emergencies.


By Taylor Girtman
After interning with Community Impact Newspaper in 2019, Taylor Girtman became a reporter for the Cedar Park-Leander edition in Feb. 2020.


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