Morris is challenging incumbent David Downs for the seat, as is Rick Smith, a home theater company executive.
Plano voters will also consider candidates for mayor and council places 2 and 4 when they head to the polls on May 6.
Before the election, Community Impact Newspaper sent Morris a series of questions on his candidacy. His written responses, edited for publication style, are below.
Stirling Morris is running for Plano City Council Place 8 in the May 6 election.[/caption]
Why are you running for a place on Plano City Council?
Plano is my home. Some people call a place home because that’s where they’ve always been, but my family and I deliberately chose Plano. We made the decision to settle here instead of any other city in the Dallas-Fort Worth area because we fell in love with Plano. At the end of a long day, there’s no better feeling than coming home to a place you love, a place you want to be and a place that just makes you happy. And when we get right down to it, who doesn’t want to do everything possible to improve their home community? That’s why I’m running for City Council. There is so much to love about Plano, and I want to be on the ground with my sleeves rolled up, helping to keep Plano beautiful and vibrant. I want to help our city be the best possible version of itself—a city in which all its citizens, from the elderly to the young; the religious to non-religious; the immigrants and minorities—proudly call home.
Why are you qualified for this position?
I’ve spent the last 15 years in the construction industry working with developers, owners, architects, contractors and even cities to build various projects that benefit and enhance communities. I’ve worked on projects that were added to the National Register of Historic Places, and I understand what goes into preserving our community treasures, as well as how new development impacts existing infrastructure and the environment. I’ve served on nonprofit boards, volunteered for charitable organizations and been part of executive steering committees.
Beyond my work life though, I’m qualified for this position because I’m a citizen of Plano. I live and shop here. I eat here. I form relationships and friendships here. While I’ve never held a political office, I’m a firm believer that government should always be, as Abraham Lincoln put it, “of the people, by the people, for the people.” As citizens, we should all feel empowered to add our voices to the government and that often starts locally. Not everyone comes from politics, but everyone should have an opportunity to add their voice to the conversation.
What is your platform?
Economic development—Continued sound business development decisions, with small and large businesses alike, will ensure economic prosperity for years to come. The economic growth Plano gains from new and existing corporate business relationships, like those with Toyota and FedEx, is felt locally and recognized globally. That said, we must continue to support new and existing local businesses. When the smallest among us succeeds, we all succeed. Commerce drives the economy, and our community flourishes in the wake.
Infrastructure—From new construction to renovation, it's critical to recognize that every neighborhood we develop, every structure we renovate, every road we create and every resource we utilize depends on laws, codes and regulations to guide us and keep us safe. This continuous improvement effort is necessary and ever-evolving. Will we have the infrastructure to support the Plano of tomorrow? Will we have the housing, shops, restaurants and recreation to attract future residents and retain current residents? What can we do to make sure that Plano is easily accessible and structurally sound for generations to come? When we design our infrastructure today, we're building it with tomorrow in mind.
Health—Plano has many quality health care providers who can take care of everything from routine visits to unexpected maladies. With that in mind, we also a need to have a community-wide focus on our well-being. We have a personal responsibility to stay physically and mentally fit, but a civic responsibility to give our community options. From bike trails to recreation centers and parks, we need to maintain amenities which encourage all of us to get active and be healthy.
Sustainability and the environment—It isn't enough just to think sustainably; we have to act accordingly. We—all of us—are stewards of the environment. Our recognition and consistent practice of environmental awareness projects, such as Live Green in Plano and our recycling programs, is paramount to the future of both our community and our shared planet. We need to continue our support for these programs while embracing new ones along the way.
Arts and humanities—With events like the Plano Artfest and the Plano International Festival, we continue to demonstrate an appreciation for the arts and a recognition of our shared world views. Maintaining support of our entertainment and exhibition venues and all of our cultural activities is an important reminder to appreciate each and every part of the diverse world we live in.
Education—Although we have local and state school boards to lead this charge, consideration of our community voice is just as important where growing knowledge is concerned. With 94 percent of Plano ISD graduates pursuing higher education, public school education ensures a sustainable community in which every child is afforded the same opportunities. From primary, secondary and post-secondary institutions to well-maintained libraries, there is always room for improvement.
To learn more about Morris, visit his campaign website.