Q&A: Meet the candidates for Lakeway City Council

Six candidates are vying for three seats in the May 2022 Lakeway City Council election. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Six candidates are vying for three seats in the May 2022 Lakeway City Council election. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Six candidates are vying for three seats in the May 2022 Lakeway City Council election. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Six candidates are vying for three Lakeway City Council seats in the May 7 election. Incumbents Louis Mastrangelo and Steve Smith will be up against competitive intelligence professional Kelly Brynteson, retired law mediator Nina Davis, civil litigation attorney Connie Ditto and Jennifer Szimanski, a former police officer that now works in public affairs.

The last day to apply for a ballot by mail is April 26. Early voting will run from April 25 through May 3, and election day is May 7.


Candidate responses may have been edited for length, style and clarity.







Kelly Brynteson



Experience: Wife, mother, 15-year Lakeway resident, extensive non-profit experience and small business owner. I have attended every city council meeting for over a year in-person and sit in on ZAPCO and other committees that drive agenda items to council. I know what issues the city is facing, the history behind them and the key stakeholders. I am on the city's Arts Committee and have experience with city governance. Through my attendance, I am more than prepared to hit the ground running day one.


Occupation: I am a Competitive Intelligence Professional which is a very strategic, analytical and innovative career. I interview key stakeholders, work with people from all sides of an argument and after analysis, create data-driven solutions that are communicated in an effective way to persuade the toughest of critics. My career has given me a great foundation and the experience needed to be successful on council.


Candidate Website: www.kellyforlakeway.com


Contact_info: [email protected]


More_info: www.facebook.com/kellyforlakeway





Why are you running?



As a 15-year resident of Lakeway, I have seen our city grow drastically which brought on new issues that impacted me. Growing up, we were not allowed to complain about an issue unless we created a solution to resolve it. I first advocated as a concerned resident before deciding to run. I have solutions for goals in our Comprehensive Plan and will implement them.



What is your top priority for Lakeway?



Transportation and road safety is my top priority. We need change and we need it now. There have been too many accidents on our highways and on our interior thoroughfares especially Flint Rock Rd. I am in contact with TxDOT about needed improvements on 620. I have advocated numerous times from the podium at city council meetings regarding road safety and will take that fight to the dais.



What other priorities for the city are important to you and why?



We need to complete Main Street from the Oaks to Lohmans Crossing to decrease traffic on 620. Create an economic plan to improve the sales tax to property tax ratio to lower the burden placed on homeowners. City spending will be kept to a minimum and money should be saved where possible. Responsible development while allowing growth is key. Citizens will have their voices heard and considered when any rezoning or new development requests are presented especially those directly impacted.












Nina Davis



Experience: Law and mediation, managing several businesses, service on Lakeway's Wildlife Advisory Committee.


Occupation: Online dispute resolution, retired




Contact_info: [email protected]


More_info: https://www.facebook.com/Nina4Lakeway





Why are you running?



I LOVE Lakeway; I came here in 2009, and it is my chosen home town. Also, I KNOW Lakeway. For years, I have attended Council and ZAPCO meetings, posting on social media to get discussion going and keep others informed. I publish a blog on all things Lakeway and serve on the new Wildlife Committee. So, I know how the city works, and I know the issues and the players. I will jump right in, unlike others running who would face a big learning curve. I’m ready to start making Lakeway an even better place to live.



What is your top priority for Lakeway?



In Lakeway, the priority is always TRAFFIC. Main Street must be completed before the Hwy. 620 expansion. So, make sure Legend completes its part by end of 2023, as agreed. Take the Stratus deal (with fewer apartments and more parkland, plus a trolley) and hound it to complete its part of Main Street by end of 2023. And, right now, start looking for the next solution to our traffic problem. Remember transportation basics, like sidewalks—Lakeway needs them. To make walking safer, sidewalks should be mandatory for new developments; where possible, add sidewalks to existing streets.



What other priorities for the city are important to you and why?



With few tracts left, we must shift from reacting to developer demands to initiating uses benefiting the city, including workforce housing. Lakeway needs workers; workers need housing. On Council, I will prioritize an active approach to get the right projects built in the right locations. Lakeway needs more green space and parks. Our population spiked, and we lack recreation and gathering space. The wildlife we enjoy needs natural space, to minimize negative interactions with humans. The city must identify viable tracts, before it is all clear-cut and over-built. Residents would vote on a bond issue for land purchases.












Connie Ditto



Experience: I am an experienced civil litigation attorney and mediator and a former intensive care unit nurse. I am also the mother of two young sons, a small business owner, and the wife of a busy general and bariatric surgeon who has his own practice.


Occupation: Partner, Beckstead Terry Ditto PLLC


Contact_info: [email protected], 214-717-8964





Why are you running?



Lakeway is an incredible community and is at a critical juncture due to our rapidly growing population. As our population grows, I don’t want our problems to grow with it, and I don’t want Lakeway to lose its charm. I am committed to ensuring that our community remains safe, fiscally sound, that development is responsible, and that lines of communication are clear and open for all. I want every resident to know that as a Council Member, I will work for you and with you.



What is your top priority for Lakeway?



Lakeway needs to engage in responsible development that considers both the short and long-term consequences, and takes a broad view of the impact of developments upon more than just our tax base. For example, area patterns and safety of traffic, the effect of additional children in schools and availability of land to build additional schools, whether we have the base and ongoing infrastructure to support our small businesses, and the impact upon the environment - especially our precious water supply, need to be considered. Collaboration between Lakeway and its surrounding communities and entities involved, including Bee Cave, TxDOT, and LTISD, needs to occur on a frequent and regular basis. Central Texas is a treasure that has drawn new residents in droves and we need to ensure that Lakeway remains a safe, beautiful community in the instant moment and in the future.



What other priorities for the city are important to you and why?



Lakeway needs to provide more opportunities for community engagement and involvement, especially for our families and children. I support the re-engagement of the Transportation Strategies committee to study pedestrian, vehicular, bicycle, and golf cart transportation; the establishment of a committee to investigate and develop collaborative, workable solutions for our workforce issues, and the creation of opportunities for our youth to be involved, such as by volunteering in our local government and volunteering and playing in our parks. We need to move forward from the divisiveness that came to a head during the pandemic and work together to keep it a wonderful place to live, work, and play for current citizens and generations to come.












Louis Mastrangelo



Experience: I've been on Lakeway City Council for 3.5 years most recently as Mayor Pro Tem and on the Zoning and Planning Commission prior to that.


Occupation: V.P. of Mid-Market Sales, UJET.cx


Contact_info: 512-571-4768, [email protected]





Why are you running?



I am running for a third term to finish the great work we started in 2018. I’ve helped improve both new and existing developer agreements, fixed many outdated ordinances, supported wildfire abatement, had roundtables with local businesses, and supported local neighborhoods on the issues that affect them directly. I’ve never voted to raise taxes all while making sure our law enforcement and other city departments have the tools they need to protect and serve residents. People know they can reach out to me and that I am willing to meet, discuss, and champion their issues where I can.



What is your top priority for Lakeway?



Even if all new building in Lakeway were to cease, the traffic on RM620 and SH71 is going to become steadily worse. Multitudes of residential, commercial, and activity centers will be built by our neighbors in Bee Cave, Spicewood, and farther out. My top priority for Lakeway is to complete Main St. so that residents can access our largest shopping, dining, and service areas without having to drive RM620. We’ve secured the building of more than half of that road and we're near a solution for the remainder. I have the relationships and wherewithal to get it completed.



What other priorities for the city are important to you and why?



We’ve done a lot already, but I want to follow through with traffic abatement measures on our connector roads. Next, with increased population comes increased crime and I would like to continue to support the Lakeway Police Department in providing them the tools and personnel necessary to both prevent crime and enforce our laws. I also want to continue my work with local businesses and LTISD to come up with real solutions for the real problem of a lack of workers in our area.












Steve Smith



Experience: City Council Member two terms (2018-2022), Charter Review Committee chair, Zoning & Planning Commission, Civic Corporation/Civic Foundation Board, Comprehensive Plan member, Police Policy Review Committee, Search Committee for Chief of Police, Service League driver and handyman, Sing Along Lakeway as performer and videographer, Men's Breakfast emcee, The Hills of Lakeway membership drives, ambassador, bogey golfer LMGA, Heritage Committee Liaison, Judge 4th of July Parades, Civilian Police Academy and LCPAAA member


Occupation: Retired Plant Manager/Engineer in Paper Industry. MIT Ph.D.




Contact_info: [email protected], 312-286-9997





Why are you running?



I want to serve by preserving the great atmosphere created by innumerable volunteers over the years. My experience and continuity on Council is valuable when formulating policy, especially in these troubled times.



What is your top priority for Lakeway?



I have my priorities, but those of the voters are more important. My priority is representing all constituents with respect and professionalism. LISTEN, LEARN, LEAD continues to be my approach to governance. Keeping national politics out of Lakeway City Council is important.



What other priorities for the city are important to you and why?



Regain the Lakeway Spirit of friendliness and civility after Covid-19 forced isolation on us and bred divisiveness. Address the tragic losses incurred by our businesses and their difficulty in hiring staff. However, these efforts should not be City-funded, because we shouldn’t pick winners and losers. Let the free market function. Help our City Manager and her Staff gain support throughout Lakeway so they can provide more and better service to the community. Enjoy and rejuvenate support our long-standing volunteer groups. They are so much a part of Lakeway’s vitality. Give clear responsibilities and roles to all committees with respect to Staff. Consider sunsets for Ad Hoc committees after their work is done. Find solutions to our worsening traffic problem. Get Main Street completed. Develop a bond packet for voter approval to restore deteriorating roads, implement portions of the Transportation Plan, and fund ROW purchases for RR620 expansion. Carefully encourage commercial activity in designated areas so sales taxes contribute to City financing. Review and revise ordinances for legality, clarity, and enforceability.












Jennifer Szimanski



Experience: 17 years of public service (law enforcement and legislative field)


Occupation: Public Affairs


Contact_info: [email protected]





Why are you running?



As a 10 year resident of Lakeway I am invested in our beautiful and safe community. Lakeway is experiencing tremendous growth that brings wonderful opportunities our way, but also carries its share of growing pains. I want to ensure that our community remains safe, work to encourage small business owners to choose Lakeway, and invest the time and energy needed to make certain that we proceed with caution and pay attention to detail when approving new infrastructure on our remaining land. I want to keep Lakeway beautiful and thriving, while maintaining public safety in our community. Lakeway is changing and many young families are choosing Lakeway to raise their children. My husband and I have two small children in LTISD schools and I want to be a voice for those families and all others in our community who love Lakeway as much as my family does.



What is your top priority for Lakeway?



Balancing the growth and economic boom Lakeway is experiencing is a top priority. I promise to engage all involved and keep the safety and well-being of our citizens in mind when making decisions about roads and economic development. We must also preserve the uniqueness and the many gems of our community! We must be diligent, transparent, and deliberate in how we grow our city. While school issues are generally up to the district, we are experiencing overcrowding in the Lakeway area and the city must do everything in its power to alleviate the problem until the district is able to correct it.



What other priorities for the city are important to you and why?



Public Safety is a real concern as Travis County is experiencing unprecedented violent crime rates. We must ensure that our law enforcement officers are well funded, have the tools they need, and are taken care of by the city government. We must be deliberate in how we engage rank and file officers and their morale as they are facing dangerous times ahead. The men and women who protect us everyday will be expected to step up as crime is already bleeding over from the Austin area into our community. As a 15 year police officer myself, I understand what it takes to keep our police force motivated and ready to protect and serve this community. It's important to me that we eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy inside of city government especially when it comes to permitting and ordinances pertaining to businesses. When considering modifications to ordinances or other city policies, I will always seek stakeholder input and opinion prior to proposing any changes. I believe in engaging all groups in Lakeway and encouraging a continued open dialogue with the community. I'd like to reiterate that this is a critical time in Lakeway as we experience the most growth in our history. Many wonderful projects lie ahead and it's imperative that we are calculated as we build out the remaining developments. We must prioritize connectivity, traffic and safety concerns as well as preserving the natural beauty Lakeway has to offer.







By Grace Dickens

Reporter, Lake Travis/Westlake

Grace is the Lake Travis/Westlake reporter for education and city government. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2021 after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in journalism and geography.