Laura Ella Dillon is running for the Flower Mound Town Council Place 1 seat. She is running against Jim Pierson and Laile Neal.
Community Impact Newspaper sent Dillon a list 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 responses below have been edited for publication style.
Why did you decide to run for this office?
We all have a responsibility to serve others, whether in our families or network of friends or expanding out to the circles of our community at large. And if we have a talent or gift—even if it’s just a desire to give—we should share that with others so they can benefit as well.
With a lifelong commitment to volunteer service, I have served in many areas of the community including as vice president of my homeowners association, leader of a Girl Scout troop, and several roles with the Marcus Band and Fellowship Church. I have such joy in giving of my time, talents and money to support others. And I have an interest in government to meet the needs of the people.
What do you think is one of the biggest issues facing Flower Mound today, and how do you plan to address it on council?
While there are several vocal interest groups around town, it seems the primary divide is centered on growth—some support it while others do not—yet most residents are positioned somewhere in between or are indifferent. Before our town was incorporated, the original landowners experienced population growth; and as we became a town, we continued to grow. Our location in the Metroplex, our beautiful landscapes and small-town charm have been attracting more residents as well as retail and commercial developments every year.
Flower Mound has a lot of agricultural and undeveloped land. The town’s zoning and land-use ordinances define the type of developments allowed unless a specific-use permit or master plan amendment is granted to modify or change those classifications. Our master plan includes districts to define the different areas. So, as landowners sell their property to developers, our growth is measured within these definitions. And developments are tested against smart growth criteria to ensure we have the infrastructure, facilities and services to support the growth.
I want to see a communication campaign to educate residents to promote a better understanding of how growth is assessed and managed through our town.
If elected, what would be your top priorities?
A top priority of my campaign is to talk with residents to find out what is important to them and to continue listening throughout my service as a council member.
One priority that I have already initiated as a planning and zoning commissioner is to improve the notification processes for property subject to a board/commission or council review. Some developers do not prominently display their development application notification sign. And should the charter review commission’s recommendation pass the ballot of discontinuing posting of public hearings in the Denton Record Chronicle just because it’s a daily paper, perhaps we can redirect those funds to expand the mailed notification process beyond the current 200-foot radius.
What experience—professionally or politically—do you have that would prepare you for this position?
I began attending Town Council meetings as well as various boards and commission meetings in 2015 in order to learn more about the town’s government. In the summer of 2016, I participated in the inaugural class of the town of Flower Mound’s Citizens Academy; afterwards, I was encouraged to apply for one of the town’s boards/commissions. I was appointed by the Town Council to serve on the planning and zoning commission Place 6 beginning September 2016 and was reappointed [in]September 2018.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Texas at Arlington. My studies also included undergraduate and graduate work in gerontology at University of North Texas. With more than 25 years of experience in the group health insurance benefits industry, I am currently a senior consultant at one of the nation’s largest employee-owned insurance brokers helping employers design employee benefit programs to attract and retain employees and help them manage their health.