Kenneth Hutchenrider is seeking election to the Richardson City Council Place 5 seat that will be vacated by current Council Member Marta Gomez Frey. If successful, this will be the first time Hutchenrider has held elective office.
Community Impact Newspaper sent Hutchenrider a set of questions about his candidacy. His answers have been edited for publication style.
Why did you decide to run for this office?
I have a strong sense of pride for Richardson and want to ensure that our legacy of a great city continues. Richardson has a strong legacy of economic development and continued work on infrastructure, and I am a strong proponent of these features of our city and want them to continue. I believe we have one of the finest cities in the DFW area and feel if we do not continue to work collaboratively within our city then we will introduce the strife seen in others [other cities]who are failing. Additionally, I believe we need to focus on working with neighboring cities on various issues and believe, given my experience in health care and on numerous community boards, that I can be a strong support to our city in these initiatives. Finally, I believe we need to support our two school districts and the development of talent to continue to support our community and economic development.
What experience—professionally or politically—do you have that would prepare you for this position?
I am the president of Methodist Richardson Medical Center and have been a hospital administrator for 30 years. I have been actively involved in our chamber of commerce, including serving as board chairman and serving on several other boards in our community. Additionally, I have most recently served on the Richardson City Tax Increment Finance Board. Finally, I worked with [Richardson] ISD in the creation of the health science program being housed in [Methodist Richardson’s] Campbell [Road] campus. This joint public-private partnership is the first in the nation. I believe this experience of running complicated health care organizations in a complex environment as well as my community service positions me well to understand the complexity of issues facing our city and working to resolve them. In my professional career I consistently work with various groups to bring about consensus in complex decision-making situations. I believe this has prepared me to serve as a City Council member.
What do you think is one of the biggest issues facing Richardson today, and how do you plan to address it if elected to City Council?
I believe the largest issue is ensuring continued economic development and focus on infrastructure. I have watched other cities not place a priority on this and have watched the community decline. I believe the legacy work performed by previous City Councils and city administration has provided for a strong Richardson, and I believe this work needs to continue. Additionally, I believe we need to be a united City Council and city administration. Disagreement will occur, but we must then find common ground and unite to move our city forward. I believe my professional experience and track record demonstrates an ability to work toward consensus in carrying out a united plan from diverse viewpoints.
The city in the past has used economic incentives and tax grants to attract companies. What means, if any, would you support the city using to attract companies in the future?
I would utilize all opportunities to use all economic incentives and tax grants to continue the strong economic base we have in our community to attract future companies. I believe this is the lifeblood of a strong city, and these efforts need to continue. Additionally, I believe we need to work from a regional perspective to ensure we maximize our ability to attract economic-development opportunities.
What else do you want voters to know about you?
I am truly passionate about our community. I graduated from Texas A&M University with a [bachelor of business administration degree]in management and have a master’s in health care administration from University of Houston-Clear Lake. I have been married for 26 years and have two daughters, one currently at Texas A&M University and one at Plano East Senior High School. In addition to organizations listed above, I have served as president of [the]Plano ISD Foundation, chairman of our Church Pastoral Committee, regent for the American Healthcare Executives and served on the DFW Hospital Council. Finally, I have lived in several other cities where I have watched lack of economic development and loss of focus on infrastructure cause rapid decline. We have a great city, and I want to add my efforts to continue this fine tradition.