Lily Bao, a real estate agent, is running as a candidate for Plano mayor, which holds Place 6 on the Plano City Council.

Bao is challenging Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere's re-election bid, as are candidates Bill Lisle III and Douglas Reeves.

Plano voters will also consider candidates for council places 2, 4 and 8 when they head to the polls on May 6.

Before the election, Community Impact Newspaper sent Bao a series of questions on her candidacy. Her written responses, edited for publication style, are below.

Lily Bao Lily Bao[/caption]

Why are you running for Plano mayor?

Plano is at a crossroads. Like many of you, my family moved here because we loved the suburban community, top-notch school system, safe neighborhoods and good infrastructure. Yet all of these are quickly changing. The current mayor and City Council’s policies are eroding away all of these precious attributes that we treasure as Plano residents. My last name means “protect” in Chinese, and I feel called to stand up to protect our future by carefully evaluating land use proposals that keep Plano suburban, preventing school overcrowding and providing for optimal traffic flow. As a strong supporter of business development, both big and small, I am confident that we can bring in many investors who will help energize East Plano.

I am running for the mayor position on the Plano City Council because I love Plano. I grew up in China, but came to the U.S. for undergraduate and graduate studies. Becoming a U.S. citizen took me 12 years of hard work and patience while waiting in line. It was a huge achievement to earn this privilege, and it makes me very appreciative for what this great country has to offer; especially the Lone Star State. I’m proud to be a Texan and a Planoite. I feel very blessed and grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me, so I want to give back to the community which I love dearly. This is where my husband and I have chosen to raise our kids and where we hope they will one day return to start their families. That is why I am committed to keeping Plano a city of excellence.

Why are you qualified for this position?

As a high school valedictorian, summa cum laude graduate with a bachelor of science in computer engineering and a master's degree in computer science, diligence is in my blood. I will bring that same diligence to responsibly performing all the duties of mayor, while keeping the best interests of the citizens as my guiding rule.

My varied professional experience enables me to see things from many angles and to respect people and collaborate with them as a team. I have worked as a teaching assistant, research assistant, senior design software engineer, information technology project lead, education consultant and a real estate professional.

My years as a community service leader in my neighborhood, and at all levels of schools in the Plano ISD, have given me the training and experience that are needed as mayor to effectively manage people and resources.

The biggest qualification I have to be Plano's mayor is not my diverse experience; it is my willingness to be an advocate for all citizens, representing them with a listening ear and a brave voice.

What is your platform?

First and foremost, I am dedicated to being a voice for all of Plano and not for out-of-town developers. Too many times in recent years, citizens have spoken out at city hall only to be told that their voices don’t matter. This must change. I will listen to their concerns and I will be their voice.

Next, I will work to lower property taxes. Because our real estate appraisals have gone up in the last three years, we have seen a huge increase in our property taxes. But our income has not gone up as much. We need to be more fiscally conservative by reducing the property tax rate in order to lessen the burden to our hard-working citizens. We also need to save more of what we are taking in, to prepare for rainy days.

Finally, I will work to keep Plano suburban, and I will start by working to repeal part of the Plano Tomorrow plan. We must have a smart growth strategy as opposed to one that is detrimental to our citizens on many levels. With the continued influx of high-density housing comes an increase in traffic, overcrowding of schools and the potential of increased response time for our emergency first-responders. Plano deserves better and, as your mayor, I will work to ensure that a better plan is put in place.

I ask you to vote for me, and vote for a brighter future for Plano.