Q&A: Janet DePuy seeks election to Richardson City Council

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Janet DepuyJanet DePuy is seeking election to the Richardson City Council Place 3 seat that will be vacated by current Council Member Scott Dunn. If successful, this will be the first time DePuy has held elective office.

Community Impact Newspaper sent DePuy a set of questions about her candidacy. Her answers have been edited for publication style.

Why did you decide to run for this office?

I’m running for City Council Place 3 because keeping a mature suburb like ours vibrant, vital and desirable to families and businesses—small and large—requires constant vigilance. I want to continue the work that our residents, neighborhood leaders and I have done to improve Richardson. When residents work with the city, City Council and chamber, good things happen. I’ve seen it numerous times through my work in the Heights neighborhoods, on the City Plan Commission and elsewhere.

As a Realtor and a past president of the Heights Park Neighborhood Association, or HPNA, I understand that neighborhoods are powerful. They are the lifeblood of a city. Richardson is fortunate to have a multitude of diverse neighborhoods with unique needs. I’m proud of my work in the Heights to stimulate economic growth and development, upgrade infrastructure, increase renovated housing stock and even upgrade Heights Park itself. I’m proud of my working relationship with neighborhood associations’ leaders. By banding together, we have built the necessary clout to make sure our neighborhoods’ needs are met, thereby increasing property values, commercial values and increasing the popularity of our neighborhoods. Never underestimate the power of strong neighborhoods!

What experience—professionally or politically—do you have that would prepare you for this position?

I have a long history of civic involvement with the city. That involvement over time has prepared me for this important role. As a Realtor and a past president of a large neighborhood association, I understand how development affects neighborhoods and how neighborhoods affect development. I served on the City Plan Commission for eight years—the last year as vice chair—deliberating the same issues the City Council deliberates. I know what to expect, and I know how important a City Council seat is to residents. Decisions made here often last many years. It’s not something I take lightly.

I’m a founding member of HPNA, serving for 10 years as president. During those years our neighborhood worked with nearby neighborhoods to bring about much-needed redevelopment in the area—Richardson Heights Shopping Center, Spring Valley redevelopment, Main Street redevelopment, to name a few—helping small businesses flourish and property values rise.

I also am a graduate of Leadership Richardson and will be participating in the Citizen Police Academy beginning in February.

I was named a Richardson Real Hero in 2018 for my neighborhood volunteerism. And I serve on the board of the Arts Incubator of Richardson, or AIR.

What do you think is one of the biggest issues facing Richardson today, and how do you plan to address it if elected to City Council?

As stated earlier, keeping a mature, first-ring suburb vibrant and valuable takes a great amount
of vigilance. We have many older neighborhoods, streets, parks, retail and infrastructure, and
maintenance in these areas must have a high priority. Ensuring funds are allocated
appropriately to these areas will be a focus for me.

The city in the past has used economic incentives and tax grants to attract companies. What means, if any, would you support the city using to attract companies in the future?

The economic incentives used by the city (such as tax-increment finance, or TIF, zones) allow large developments to get started and build infrastructure, thereby creating redevelopment in an underperforming area. This brings revenue to the city via that redevelopment and encourages economic growth in the surrounding area. It’s a win for the development and a win for the city. These businesses pay approximately 60 percent of our taxes, with residential paying the remaining 40 percent. TIFs have proven to be a very effective method of generating revenue and furthering redevelopment. Without strong commercial and retail spaces, neighborhoods suffer; jobs are lost; small businesses can’t flourish; we lose our competitive edge to maintain our first-class police and fire personnel, and Richardson loses.

What else do you want voters to know about you?

Council members are often called on to deliberate complicated issues affecting all aspects of our city, and those decisions have lasting effects. I have the long-term civic involvement and skills to understand the issues that come before the City Council. I have a proven record of working productively with other groups across the city. I will continue the work of promoting quality, sustainable economic growth in all areas of our city. My focus will be on what’s right for Richardson.

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Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.
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