Election Q&A: Candidates for McKinney City Council District 3

Early voting runs April 19-27 for the May 1 election. (Community Impact staff)
Early voting runs April 19-27 for the May 1 election. (Community Impact staff)

Early voting runs April 19-27 for the May 1 election. (Community Impact staff)

Learn more about the candidates running for McKinney City Council District 3 ahead of the May 1 election.


Editor’s note: Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name.


DALLAS-FORT WORTH



McKinney City Council District 3










Gere' Feltus



Occupation: physician


Relevant experience: McKinney Economic Development Corp., board of directors; Chamber of Commerce Leadership McKinney, class of 2020; advisory council to McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley; Collin County Law Enforcement Academy, board of directors; 2019 Public Safety Bond Committee; Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County, board of directors






Why are you running for office?



GF: I am running for City Council because I have seen McKinney change a lot over the past 10 years, and as we prepare for continued growth, we need innovative, inclusive and transparent leadership that reflects our very diverse community. Because I am a mother, a health care provider, a woman and person of color, I will bring a different perspective to council. I want to be an amplifier for voices that need representation, and I want to help bring creative solutions to some of our most difficult challenges.



What are the biggest challenges facing the residents of McKinney? How do you plan to address these issues?



GF: Like many other cities in the U.S., McKinney is facing an attainable-housing crisis. I will work to find solutions beyond high-density apartment complexes that will have positive impacts on existing property values so that we can expand our housing inventory to fit the needs of our residents. As a former member of the Economic Development Corp. board of directors, I understand the need for aggressive recruitment of businesses to McKinney to help balance our tax base. I will continue to work closely with the EDC and all city entities to ensure we have a more collaborative approach to how we bring strong employers to our city.



If elected, what would be your top priorities?



GF: My top priorities will be focusing on a COVID recovery program for small businesses, looking for solutions for attainable housing for residents at all stages of life, and expanding our corporate tax base.



What are some new ideas or programs you would like the city to explore?



GF: I would like the city to explore programs that will help long term residents who live east of Highway 5 keep their homes as we see the development of the new municipal complex and the revitalization of the Mill District. The community development planned for that area is sure to result in a rise in property values and rental fees, which could also cause the displacement of citizens who have lived in east McKinney for generations. It is important that we do our best to find ways to prevent the uprooting of families who wish to remain in their homes.








Vicente Torres



Occupation: administrator for the computer science department at The University of Texas at Dallas


Relevant experience: In my current position, I balance the differing needs of more than 40 professors while helping them manage their financial accounts and assure compliance with research grant requirements. I have served on the university’s staff council that votes on issues and serves as a voice for more than 2,500 staff members. The best people to serve are those who are informed about their community and wish to improve it. The most relevant experience that I bring to this position is a servant’s heart. This cannot be taught but is something innate to myself.






Why are you running for office?



VT: I feel that McKinney has a choice to make, as we are at a tipping point. Our community needs to be informed and decide which way we should go. Should we be a city or suburban community? Overpopulation will lead to an increased strain on infrastructure, which will increase property taxes while diminishing city services. We also need to be more business-friendly. Bringing in business will help off set the high property taxes we currently pay. Many long-term residents of McKinney have chosen to relocate to the surrounding areas due to the increased cost of home ownership in McKinney.



What are the biggest challenges facing the residents of McKinney? How do you plan to address these issues?



VT: I feel that the increasing property taxes are one of the biggest issues McKinney residents are facing today. I understand that council has lowered the percentage rate, but the amount owed continues to increase when the taxman comes around. The best way to address this is by creating more business tax revenue while also lessening the burden on McKinney residents.



If elected, what would be your top priorities?



VT: Enticing new business, providing emergency services with the staff and equipment necessary to continue delivering outstanding service to the city of McKinney and creating a transparent, responsive, accountable council.



What are some new ideas or programs you would like the city to explore?



VT: I would like to encourage more programs focusing on community. After speaking with many longtime residents, I have heard the same desires to bring back past events that brought families and neighbors together to enjoy each other’s company and what our community has to offer. I would like to explore bringing past events back and creating new ones for our citizens to enjoy, such as cultural fairs, music under the stars, National Night Out, etc.—anything that promotes McKinney as being a great place to live, work and play with a small-town feel in a thriving suburban community.



By Miranda Jaimes
Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 covering Tarrant County news, and is now back in Collin County as the editor of the Frisco and McKinney editions.


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