Election Q&A: Meet the candidates for Round Rock City Council Place 3, 5

Voters will cast ballots on May 1. Early voting is from April 19-27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Voters will cast ballots on May 1. Early voting is from April 19-27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Voters will cast ballots on May 1. Early voting is from April 19-27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)



ROUND ROCK



Round Rock City Council Place 3










Matt Baker (incumbent)



Occupation: Professional engineer/Realtor at Baker Realty


Experience: Engineering degree from Texas A&M University, licensed peace officer, licensed Realtor






What will be your top priorities if you are elected?



MB: I will continue to focus on core functions which are ensuring we have sufficient clean drinking water, properly funded and equipped police and firefighters, and doing all we can to alleviate heavy traffic. I will also continue to scrutinize the city budget to trim unnecessary spending and keep Round Rock one of the lowest taxed cities in Central Texas.



What uniquely qualifies you for this position?



MB: As a peace officer I worked patrol, was a field training instructor and reached the rank of captain. So I intimately understand the role of first responders and their internal operations. As a professional engineer for the state of Texas, I supervised many professionals, including other engineers and scientists, and managed very large operating budgets. An as a past vice chair of the Planning & Zoning Commission, I understand development and planning for a growing city.



How should Round Rock manage its growth?



MB: We need to focus on strategic and long-term planning to ensure we have sufficient supplies of clean drinking water. We need to budget and build fire stations in key locations to ensure our response times remain low. We need to not fall any further behind on roads to alleviate traffic congestion. And we need to ensure we take care of our great city employees who have made Round Rock the great city it is today!



What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the city?



MB: The biggest complaint I hear is how the cost of living continues to rise in Central Texas. While Round Rock has some of the lowest costs for city services in Central Texas, I believe that we must do our absolute best to fight any increases in property taxes and find relief for those on fixed incomes, such as our seniors.









Janneke Parrish



Occupation: Program manager at Apple Inc.


Experience: MS in human rights and international politics; creating policies advocating for minority women and refugees in Scotland






What will be your top priorities if you are elected?



JP: When elected my top priorities are improving our public transit options and routes, improving our social services availability and oversight, and increasing transparency. Round Rock should be affordable for all residents and we need to serve them equally. Our City Council needs to represent all residents!



What uniquely qualifies you for this position?



JP: In my role as a program manager, I gather input from all stakeholders, offer workable solutions, and advocate to reach a workable compromise. The programs I manage impact thousands of people and thousands of dollars, and require careful care and coordination to address everyone’s needs. I will apply this experience of including all voices in the conversation to the Round Rock City Council and the diverse needs of our residents.



How should Round Rock manage its growth?



JP: Round Rock needs to plan for sustainable growth. This means investing in long-term solutions that preserve our water resources and green spaces while also alleviating our existing problems, such as traffic and increasingly unaffordable housing. We need to invest in public transit, water preservation, and renewable energy to keep our traffic moving, our water flowing and our power bills low.



What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the city?



JP: Round Rock needs to focus more on sustainable growth. I will lead the effort for City Council to invest in long-term solutions that preserve our water resources and green spaces while also alleviating our existing problems, such as traffic and increasingly unaffordable housing. We must ensure that, while we welcome high paying jobs to the city, we don’t lose sight of the needs of our current residents.






ROUND ROCK



Round Rock City Council Place 5










Tina Steiner



Occupation: Round Rock ISD middle and high school educator


Experience: Doctoral student, master’s in Education, vice chair of state Rep. James Talarico’s Community Advisory Board






What will be your top priorities if you are elected?



TS: I want to ensure that the City Council remains transparent, fair and inclusive. I will focus on public transparency so citizens are up to date on current affairs; ensuring adequate public transportation; planning infrastructure for worsening traffic; equitable zoning; and affordable housing for our public servants, veterans and students attending our city’s institutes of higher learning.



What uniquely qualifies you for this position?



TS: I am a fourth-generation native whose family and church are designated Round Rock Local Legends. I was a Round Rock Housing Authority Commission mayoral appointment, former Round Rock Historic Preservation Commissioner, Williamson County Historical Preservation Commissioner, member of Round Rock Chamber’s Infrastructure & Business Climate Councils. I am a graduate of Leadership Round Rock, Round Rock UniverCity, Citizens Police Academy #2 and #29 and attended council meetings for 10 years.



How should Round Rock manage its growth?



TS: As a lifelong resident, I have witnessed Round Rock grow from a sleepy little town to what it is today. Growth is inevitable, As part of the council, I will focus on planning infrastructure for our worsening traffic and work to address required improvements to manage future growth.



What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the city?



TS: The greatest challenge facing our city is a strain on our infrastructure coupled with rising housing costs and zoning effects on small and family business development. These challenges create issues that need financial planning and community input to create the best solution possible for Round Rock citizens. City Council needs to listen more to constituents and the opinions of industry professionals to face these challenges.









Kristin Stevens



Occupation: Pediatric speech language pathologist; Dell Children’s Pediatric Rehab


Experience: MS, 20 years pediatric speech language pathologist






What will be your top priorities if you are elected?



KS: If elected, my top priorities will be increasing testing and vaccinations for COVID-19, getting our economy back on track by safely reopening local businesses, supporting our local police and fire fighters with the resources and training they need, developing a transportation plan that works for everyone, and focusing on policies that can positively impact the Round Rock community.



What uniquely qualifies you for this position?



KS: My experience leading organizations, like the Chasco Family YMCA board, Chaparral Woman’s Club, vice president of the Round Rock Young Men’s Service League, and chairing the Round Rock Woman’s Club Soup and Bread Luncheon, have given me experience that will be valuable in working collaboratively with the other council members. Serving on both the Round Rock Planning and Zoning Commission and the Charter Review Commission have given me insight into the working of our city.



How should Round Rock manage its growth?



KS: Round Rock should manage growth with a clear vision and plan. By developing a plan with short-term and long-term objectives, the city can adequately prepare for its growth while taking care of its residents. Growth is not just a local issue, but a regional issue as well, which is why Round Rock should be prepared to work with other cities in the county and region to assure the most responsible growth plan possible.



What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the city?



KS: The greatest challenge facing Round Rock is how to responsibly manage the needs of our rapidly growing community. From developing a master transportation plan that works for everyone, to ensuring that all residents have access to essential services they need such as police, fire, and water. Round Rock continues to face growing demand on an aging infrastructure that is struggling to keep up.





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