Inna Dietrich is running for the Southlake City Council Place 3 seat, facing opposing candidate Chad Patton, the incumbent, in the upcoming May 4 general election.

Community Impact Newspaper sent Dietrich a series of questions about her candidacy. This article is part of ongoing May 4 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. Her written responses, edited for publication style, are below.

Why did you decide to run for this office?

Having lived abroad and across the U.S. has provided me with many opportunities to see what makes some communities great and others disjointed. When researching Southlake, all the boxes were checked for a great community; moving here in 2012 confirmed it. We immediately fell in love with this town and knew that this was where we would stay to raise our children, two in elementary school and one middle-schooler. I’ve engaged in each community we’ve lived about issues concerning education and sustainability. With three young children in 2012, involvement with CISD made sense. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to serve our school community and connect with many different CISD families through serving on the Board of Odyssey of the Mind, working with OM teams and coaching youth soccer. I have enjoyed hearing many unique stories, ideas about improving our schools and town, and commiserated with some of the concerns. It was these stories that prompted me to run for office in order to represent those who have expressed concern that their voices are not represented or heard. I want to bring an alternative perspective while building a collaborative relationship with the mayor’s office and councilmen to move our town forward in a sensible, practical and positive direction while supporting the many wonderful things we already love about Southlake. I would consider it a privilege and an honor to serve our community.

What experience—professionally or politically—do you have that would prepare you for this position?

I am a self-employed physical therapist, and my husband is an entrepreneur having started a company in the cloud-computing space. Physical therapy requires practice knowledge to be balanced with human drive, actual ability, fear, pain combined with the ability to listen and adapt the treatment plan to meet the goal of functional improvement. These are the principles I live by—I listen; I learn, and I work collaboratively to create positive change. Politics exist in all dealings with people and systems. While I have not yet been elected to public office, the same principles would apply—listen, build consensus and unite people around positive impact goals.

What do you think is one of the biggest issues facing Southlake, and how do you plan to address it on City Council?

Balancing growth with maintaining the small-town qualities that attracted so many of us to Southlake in the first place. Preserving green spaces, nature trails and providing natural corridors for animal habitat and migration contribute to a highly desirable and sustainable community. If elected, I would work to make sure that we make thoughtful development decisions that preserve these spaces for the benefit of current and future residents. The Bob Jones Nature Center, an underappreciated local gem, could play an integral role in our environmental sustainability efforts.

Development needs to align with Southlake’s City’s Land Use Plan and best practices for sustainability, which will allow us to best manage city services and our tax base, e.g. a focus on attracting larger corporate-style businesses to the [SH] 114 corridor.

Walkability is another key component of great communities. As we approach full build-out, tying neighborhoods together with walking and bike paths allows our children to safely traverse the broader community.

Another component is a continuation of the collaboration between the city and CISD in keeping our children safe is essential.

Additionally, completing street repairs to ensure all residents can access their homes on properly functioning city streets would be a priority.

What else do you want voters to know about you?

I was born in Ukraine, Soviet Union, at the height of the Cold War. When I was a child my family immigrated to the United States after facing generations of religious persecution and living under an authoritarian government with limited freedoms. I know firsthand what it’s like to be absolutely powerless and voiceless. Becoming an American citizen was very meaningful for me. Participating in civic leadership would truly fulfill the promise of “the American Dream.” I am so grateful for my parents’ sacrifices that brought me here today and to have the opportunity to serve the great city of Southlake.