Election Q&A: Candidates for Plano City Council special election Place 7

The special election will be held in conjunction with races for Places 2, 4, 6—the mayoral seat—and 8 as well as with the vote on bond propositions. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
The special election will be held in conjunction with races for Places 2, 4, 6—the mayoral seat—and 8 as well as with the vote on bond propositions. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

The special election will be held in conjunction with races for Places 2, 4, 6—the mayoral seat—and 8 as well as with the vote on bond propositions. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

Learn more about the candidates running for Plano City Council Place 7 ahead of the May 1 special election.

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


DALLAS-FORT WORTH



Plano City Council Place 7










Julie Holmer



Occupation: entrepreneur and community advocate








Why are you running for Plano City Council?




JH: I am running for Plano City Council because I love my city. I grew up here and am proud to raise my family here. I have taken full advantage of this amazing Plano community by serving on more than 20 different boards and committees in the past 10 years. City Council is the next step in giving back and supporting my community.




What are your qualifications for seeking this office?




JH: I am a graduate of Leadership Plano as well as the Citizens Police and Fire academies. I have a unique perspective as a small-business owner, having owned several businesses, including a brick-and-mortar store. I do not just give lip service to my beliefs—I volunteer my time and energy into improving our community, having actively served on many nonprofit boards as well as serving on my kids’ Parent Teacher Association boards as well as being a longtime member of the Plano Chamber of Commerce. Recently, I was chosen by Plano City Council to serve on the 2020 Complete Count Census Committee. Overall, I have a wide and deep understanding of how our city operates.




If elected, what would be your top priorities?




JH: If elected, my top priority would be to keep Plano strong. First and foremost, this means keeping Plano safe. Funding for our first responders must always be the top priority. We need to make sure we continue to invest in our infrastructure, which includes maintaining our roads, parks, trails and facilities in a financially responsible manner. To keep Plano strong we also have to keep Plano's culture thriving. We need to continue to be a professionally managed city that invests in our arts, our education, and into ensuring that Plano is an accepting and inclusive city for all.




As Plano continues to grow and age, what do you see as the city’s top transportation and infrastructure-related concerns? How do you plan to address them?




JH: Plano will continue to grow and age, and we need to make sure that our transportation keeps up. To ensure Plano's longevity, we need to ensure that people settle near our transportation hubs. We should expand our public transportation, whether that means improving our Dallas Area Rapid Transit access or including people movers to the college and business hubs. Plano is a wonderful city, and we must strategically think of how people move in, out and around.




What do you see as the city's top issues related to housing and commercial real estate development? How do you plan to address them?




JH: We have very little land left to develop here in Plano. We need to make sure that all developments are strategic and shaped by input from our community. Any additional multifamily housing needs to be incorporated into mixed-use development to allow walkability and reduce traffic impact.


What else do you want voters to know about you?




JH: I am proud to say that I have been endorsed by people affiliated with all political parties as well as independents. I believe that City Council should remain a nonpartisan governing body to represent all constituents. When elected, I want everyone to know that I will actively listen with an open mind and heart to all Plano residents and will represent Plano to the best of my abilities.











Bill Lisle III



Occupation: owner, Lisle Inc. and Smith-Lisle Holdings








Why are you running for Plano City Council?




BL: To maintain a vibrant community that is self-governed, individuals must step up and volunteer to serve. Sadly, factions often form and allegiance to party over propriety begins to erode the proper role of government. I am running to provide a common-sense, kind and truthful option for the city of Plano.




What are your qualifications for seeking this office?




BL: As a property owner, business owner and resident, I have experience with land development, zoning, city codes, construction and the end use of properties. I have the proven ability to work with and alongside the city and have gained perspective on the human side of the equation in the partnership. I have tremendous business acumen and good people skills. My 'cut-to-the point' honesty is delivered with grace and humor and will be a refreshing welcome to the leadership in Plano.




If elected, what would be your top priorities?




BL:



  • keeping our police, fire and EMS top-notch;

  • eliminating wasteful spending and cutting nonessential services and programs such as the Great Update Rebate and council members' stipends;

  • keeping our city services at an A+ rating.





As Plano continues to grow and age, what do you see as the city’s top transportation and infrastructure-related concerns? How do you plan to address them?




BL: As our community ages it is critical that we continue to invest in our roads and infrastructure, replacing and repairing as needed. This past year, more than ever, we have seen the importance of technology as many of us worked remotely. I believe this is part of the solution to our traffic issue long term. This trend paired with improved monitoring of traffic patterns will move us in the right direction to alleviate some of the congestion we currently experience.




What do you see as the city's top issues related to housing and commercial real estate development? How do you plan to address them?




BL: It seems in every election cycle close to half of the candidates running for office try to work the entire community into a fear-based frenzy that our city is going to be ruined by the very next development. Once they get into office, they often support the very types of developments that they campaigned against. I oppose the false narratives and believe that smart development is good. Each potential development needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis, keeping the public welfare and private property rights in consideration.


What else do you want voters to know about you?




BL: Lisle Inc. performs landscape construction and irrigation services. Smith Lisle Holdings purchases, develops and leases real estate. My favorite titles are 'Nonnie,' which is what my son calls me and 'Oobie,' which is what my nephews call me.









Chris Robertson



Occupation: teacher








Why are you running for Plano City Council?




CR: My 20 years in the military has me grounded in a philosophy of selfless service. I want to continue to serve, just in a different capacity. I want to represent the best interests of the residents of Plano by serving on the City Council. Additionally, Plano needs leadership they can trust and who believes in transparency.




What are your qualifications for seeking this office?




CR: I am an experienced leader with more than 20 years of active military service. As an officer and platoon leader in the Army deployed to Afghanistan, I was in charge of base security and subsequently responsible for the safety and security of more than 500 soldiers and local Afghan nationals. I was also responsible for managing $18 million of taxpayer funded government property without incident of fraud, waste or abuse. These skills are absolutely critical when dealing with city budgets, managing infrastructure and prioritizing issues according to importance. My time as an Army officer has undoubtedly prepared me to serve you on Plano City Council, and I will do so putting your needs above mine.




If elected, what would be your top priorities?




CR: If elected to Plano City Council my top priorities will be:




  • law and order: I will work to provide our first responders with the equipment and resources they need to keep Plano families safe. I will ALWAYS prioritize public safety;

  • veterans: I will support our Plano veteran community, providing solutions, opportunities and resources for veterans;

  • quality of life: The suburban lifestyle and values that make Plano unique are what we must work together to preserve and protect;

  • economic development: I strongly believe in fair incentives for small and large businesses; and

  • taxes: I will work on finding solutions, such as better budgeting, to reduce tax burdens on our citizens.





As Plano continues to grow and age, what do you see as the city’s top transportation and infrastructure-related concerns? How do you plan to address them?




CR: Another one of my priorities is to make sure that we maintain and repair our aging roads and infrastructure. The residents of Plano have come to enjoy a certain quality of life, which must be maintained. I will support innovative solutions such as retiming our traffic lights and new asphalt overlays.




What do you see as the city's top issues related to housing and commercial real estate development? How do you plan to address them?




CR: My family and I decided to make Plano home, as we were attracted by the suburban lifestyle and high quality of life. Plano is continually ranked as one of the best places to live in our country, which means we continue to attract new businesses and homeowners. I will support a new comprehensive plan that encourages smaller homes for our seniors and new businesses.


What else do you want voters to know about you?




CR: I am the husband to a wonderful woman, Larci, who is my rock and confidant and who I have just celebrated 20 years of marriage with. We have two beautiful children, Hannah and Braden. We love spending time in downtown Plano and outside in the green spaces and walking on the trails. I am a middle school social studies teacher.









David M. Smith



Occupation: consultant









Why are you running for Plano City Council?




DS: I seek a return to the Plano City Council primarily to improve communications between the factions that have developed in recent years and restore the City Council to a collaborative body that will work together to make Plano an even better place. I pledge to be a council member for all Plano.




What are your qualifications for seeking this office?




DS: 31 years of civic engagement here in Plano, including six years on the City Council. I served on the city finance committee during all of my years on council and rotated through virtually every other committee and liaison role.

Prior background includes an engineering degree from Vanderbilt University, service in United States Air Force civil engineering units, and engineering and middle management work for Texas Instruments and EDS. At EDS, my leadership skills were recognized not only in my management assignments but also as an instructor in the company’s internal leadership development program.

In addition, I have been a neighborhood advocate before, during and after my City Council service. I have been a homeowner association president as well as an officer of the Plano Homeowners Council and Texas Neighborhoods Together. For Texas Neighborhoods Together, I served as a lobbyist in Austin during eight legislative sessions.

Outside council service, I have served on various city committees. Recent examples include Love Where You Live, the Housing Plan Advisory Committee and the 2020 Census Complete Count Committee, serving as the co-chair of its Community Outreach Subcommittee.

See www.davidforallplano.com/meet-david for a full description of the background and experience I bring to the office.




If elected, what would be your top priorities?




DS: 1. Restore collaborative work by the City Council

2. Eradicate the COVID-19 pandemic and restore full economic activity

3. Reinstate responsible financial planning

4. Plan new housing of the right types in the right places

5. Address and move toward eliminating the racial injustice endemic in our society.

6. Increase funding for police and public safety

See www.davidforallplano.com/platform for all full description of these priorities and how they will be accomplished.




As Plano continues to grow and age, what do you see as the city’s top transportation and infrastructure-related concerns? How do you plan to address them?




DS: We just experienced a harsh lesson about our fragile electricity and water infrastructure. We should work with the cities to our north and others to explore the feasibility of leaving the ERCOT electricity grid and connecting across the Oklahoma border to a more reliable national grid. We should work with other North Texas Municipal Water District cities to ensure better winterization of our water supply.

Regarding transportation infrastructure, we should continue incremental improvements in our road system and signalization. To reduce automobile traffic, we should get more value out of the dollars we send to Dallas Area Rapid Transit and work toward extending public transit to the cities to our north who are currently not part of DART.




What do you see as the city's top issues related to housing and commercial real estate development? How do you plan to address them?




DS: Plano has a jobs-housing imbalance. We have recently added far more jobs than housing. Results include more commuter traffic and later business relocation to the other cities where employees can find housing.

We also do not have enough of the right types of housing, particularly for our seniors and people with disabilities.

Opportunities to positively address all this comes from the confluence of the current comprehensive plan update and the development or redevelopment of key properties. In particular, commercial development and redevelopment can be planned to help reduce housing imbalances and commuter traffic.


What else do you want voters to know about you?




DS: Plano is at a critical juncture. We need the return of an experienced voice not aligned with a political faction and willing to serve all Plano citizens and stakeholders.










Sandeep Srivastava



Occupation: real estate consultant, Remax









Why are you running for Plano City Council?




SS: I am running for Plano City Council to make a positive difference in the lives of our Plano residents. My vision is to first and foremost protect Plano family values and to keep Plano as a warm, suburban community. I will lead the fight to lower taxes on our hard-working residents and will push for more transparency and accountability in city government while removing burdensome regulations from business so they may thrive.




What are your qualifications for seeking this office?




SS: I am a highly successful entrepreneur in the real estate market and run six thriving day care centers and believe the skills I have mastered as well as mistakes that I have learned from in these ventures will make me a highly effective public servant. I also have the patience to hear all sides of an issue and the ability to have the courage to do what is best for the residents of Plano.




If elected, what would be your top priorities?




SS: Prioritizing public safety, fight for lower taxes and removing burdensome regulations that choke small businesses




As Plano continues to grow and age, what do you see as the city’s top transportation and infrastructure-related concerns? How do you plan to address them?




SS: I believe traffic congestion and aged roads are of the highest concerns. I am for improving our roads and streets as this is a core function of government and using more technology with our traffic signals to improve the flow of traffic.




What do you see as the city's top issues related to housing and commercial real estate development? How do you plan to address them?




SS: We need to be the leaders within the city and not the developers to attain smart and responsible growth. I strive to keep Plano as the warm suburban community that is and will fight tooth and nail against unbridled and irresponsible development.


What else do you want voters to know about you?




SS: I will be a public servant in every sense of the word and will continually hold town halls and speaking sessions with our citizens to get their feedback. The citizens of Plano are well-informed about what they want, and I will be their champion.





By Liesbeth Powers
Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano and Richardson, including Plano City Council and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.


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