Community Impact Newspaper sent Newton a series of questions about his candidacy. This article is part of ongoing May 4 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. His written responses, edited for publication style, are below.
Why did you decide to run for office?
Colleyville has been my home for over 32 years. It is a unique and wonderful city where I chose to raise my family and plan to spend the rest of my life. I moved here because of the great location, small-town feel and country atmosphere with lots of open space. I ran for office again in 2016 to bring the leadership necessary to keep that character and vision of Colleyville safe, restore trust in our city government through transparency and open access, and put citizens first. In my second and final term, I plan to continue initiatives to ensure that Colleyville remains the beautiful high-quality, low-density community we all love.
What experience—professional or politically—that would prepare you for this position?
My professional career is diverse, including tenured professor of electrical engineering at Texas A&M University, director of a division of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, two successful entrepreneurial startups, and executive positions in large companies with a global span of responsibility (Frito-Lay, Brown and Williamson, Alcon Laboratories and Novartis). I have considerable experience leading organizations and managing large budgets in both industry and nonprofit organizations.
In past years, I have served in council Place 2 twice, council Place 4 twice, and mayor four times, although never serving more than two terms consecutively. I believe I hold the record for the number of elections won in Colleyville.
In addition to elected office, I have served in the Colleyville Lions Club, the Colleyville Chamber of Commerce Board, Colleyville Economic Development Board, Colleyville Tax Increment Finance District Board and Chair, GCISD Capital Program Committee, Colleyville Charter Commission and others. I also served as chairman and treasurer of the Alliance for Higher Education, and the Texas Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization. I was a member of the Dallas Commission on International Trade; Science and Technology as well as a member of the Dallas Mayor’s Initiative to Implement the International Commission Report.
I am an engineer by training with B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering, a licensed professional engineer, a certified project management professional, and hold a commercial pilot’s license.
What do you think is the one biggest issue facing Colleyville, and how do you plan to address it as mayor?
Over the last three years, we have put in place a conservative and successful financial strategy that minimizes taxes to citizens by zero-balance budgeting, reducing taxes to offset property value increases, and delivering excellent service to citizens through organizational efficiency and eliminating bureaucracy. This must continue. Even with [SH] 26 construction, we have focused on economic development and grew sales taxes this last year at four times what was budgeted, twice as much as Southlake on a percentage basis.
A big task is to get [SH] 26 completed this year and then put in place beautiful median designs that define Colleyville, continue the BEST program that provides grants to businesses that want to upgrade their facilities and continue to creatively grow new and existing businesses.
What else do you want voters to know about you?
My wife, Linda, grew up in Grapevine, owned a Colleyville business, served as Colleyville city councilman and mayor pro tem, and volunteers in many organizations. She currently serves as a board member and officer of the [Grapevine-Colleyville ISD] Walk of Honor Committee and four generations of her family attended GCISD. We are fortunate that all three of our children attended GCISD schools and live nearby, as do our five grandchildren (soon to be six) and two great-grandchildren, with three generations of our blended family living in Colleyville.
My promise if re-elected—I will work hard to maintain trust in our city government and put citizens first. I am an independent voice and will provide honest, plain-talking, transparent leadership. The same approach I had when I first entered elected office.