Updated May 24 at 9:04 p.m.
Corbin Van Arsdale was sworn into office Monday, May 21, Cedar Park City Secretary LeAnn Quinn said. The article originally stated that he would be sworn in Thursday, May 24, according to city documents.
Posted May 24 at 8 a.m.
Corbin Van Arsdale spent election night at a watch party at SpringHill Suites in Cedar Park
When early voting results came in May 5 showing Van Arsdale leading the race in Williamson and Travis counties for Cedar Park mayor, the then-candidate said he thought the numbers were “probably going to hold up.”
They did. Van Arsdale—whose career in politics ranges from experience in the state Legislature to Cedar Park City Council—ended the night with nearly 40 percent more votes than his opponent, Bob Cornelius, according to voting results from Williamson and Travis counties.
“The mood in the room became very festive very quickly,” Van Arsdale said.
He said he originally planned on running for reelection for his Cedar Park City Council Place 2 seat. Then, Mayor Matt Powell announced Jan. 10 he would not be seeking another term.
“A lot of people were asking me to [run for mayor, and]it was just easy to switch from running for council to running for mayor,” Van Arsdale said. “I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t feel like people were willing to help us make it happen.”
His predecessor, Powell, was elected to Cedar Park City Council in 2005 and became mayor in 2012. In his time in office and during a period of population growth and development in the city, he oversaw projects such as the opening of the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park and Cedar Park Regional Medical Center.
Powell said there were three major changes that took place in the city while he held public office. Now the city has a number of new amenities, a stronger and more vibrant business community and has established new traditions such as community festivals, he said. Despite the massive growth, he said the city has maintained its “soul.”
“I don’t think we’ve lost our character; we’re still a very family-oriented city,” Powell said. “We’re a city that’s incredibly charitable and giving.”
Powell said that Van Arsdale should be prepared for an influx of communication, questions and recognition from residents while out in public as well as praise and blame for things he is not necessarily involved with. Powell’s advice to the new mayor is to delegate tasks and direct specific questions from citizens to the city staff members best suited to answer them.
When he first became mayor Powell said he did not fully understand that one of the main responsibilities of the role is to persuade businesses to relocate to Cedar Park.
“One of the great things about being mayor is you are essentially the head cheerleader for the city,” he said.
Van Arsdale said his first item of business as mayor will be to get to know the new council members. Everyone on City Council must talk about their priorities for what they should work on as a governing body, he said.
“A lot of people assume the mayor somehow runs the city, and the mayor doesn’t, the city manager runs the city,” he said. “The City Council decides the direction. The mayor leads the council, but the mayor can’t lead council if the council isn’t on board.”
He said some of the most beneficial lessons for public service is conflict resolution, learning how to listen and bringing people together.
Van Arsdale said his least favorite part about campaigning is when people tear one another down and behave manipulatively, which he said came up more than usual this spring. He said he thinks the city needs to heal divisions that came up during the election.
Aside from the negative aspects of campaigning Van Arsdale’s favorite part of running for office was the chance to meet new people, talking with them one-on-one and learning what they care about, he said. As their new mayor, he said he wants Cedar Park residents to know they can trust him.
“I will always be transparent and honest with them,” he said.