Q&A: Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker seeks re-election

Early voting begins April 22 and ends April 30. Election day is May 4.

Early voting begins April 22 and ends April 30. Election day is May 4.

Paul VoelkerRichardson Mayor Paul Voelker is seeking re-election. Voelker was first elected to the Place 5 seat on City Council in 2013. In 2015 he was re-elected to his council seat but then appointed mayor after former Mayor Laura Maczka stepped down. He was elected mayor in 2017.

Community Impact Newspaper sent Voelker a set of questions about his candidacy. His answers have been edited for publication style.

Why did you decide to run for this office?


Serving as the mayor of Richardson has been an honor and a wonderful experience. I would like to help assure continuity and provide a consistent and stable government that serves the needs of all constituents. I have seen some amazing progress in the past six years that I have been on council, and I still believe there is so much more that can be accomplished.

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


I have over 30 years of experience here in the Telecom Corridor providing communications technology services and management consulting with a background in business strategy and planning, organizational and technology transformation and global workforce management.

I have served on the Texas Governor’s IT Cluster Committee under the Texas Workforce Commission, been an ex-officio board member of the Metroplex Technology Business Council (Tech Titans), chairman of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, Richardson Zoning Board of Adjustments, and president of the Reserve at Sharp Lane Homeowners Association. My involvement in local education includes past board memberships on the Richardson ISD Tomorrow Foundation and the University of Texas at Dallas Jonsson School Industrial Advisory Board Executive Committee.

I serve as chairman of the City Council Audit Committee and have served for two years on the Executive Board for the North Central Texas Council of Governments. I am the immediate past president of the Metroplex Mayors Association.

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


Richardson, like many cities in this country, is facing the challenge of developing a workable business model that delivers the service levels that all stakeholders want at a cost that can be supported through a broad base of revenue sources. Creating and maintaining these sources of revenue while containing costs and practicing financial discipline is the key. Growing our commercial tax base and increasing the flexibility, density and efficiency of both our business and residential properties is one good way to offset the increasing needs of aging infrastructure, congested transportation systems and ever-increasing pressures on our resources and environment while supplying the living environment necessary for the next generation workforce needed in our evolving economy. I will work every day to tell the story of Richardson to both current stakeholders and prospective investors in our business and residential markets. I will work to maintain our decision-making at the local level so we can determine what is best for our community.

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?


Attracting new and vibrant businesses that offer a strong tax base and high-paying jobs and contribute to the community in a variety of ways is becoming more and more the job of municipal government. As state and other government bodies back away from this role, it is more important than ever for us to have as many tools at our disposal to accomplish this mission. Economic incentives are intended to be catalytic in nature. These are the various tools that are at the city’s disposal—tax abatements/rebates, tax increment financing (TIF), cash grants, fee waivers, city-owned land donation, city participation in project and/or public infrastructure [and] parking usage agreements.

These tools can be used in combination or on their own. They should always be done only after a return on investment analysis has been performed and proper management processes have been established to properly monitor and control the desired outcomes. And, of course, transparency is mandatory. Richardson follows the state comptroller’s guidelines on disclosure of all agreements to the public, helping us maintain our five-star transparency rating with the state.

What else do you want voters to know about you?


Having moved here for a job after graduating from William Penn University in Iowa, my wife, Kris, and I continue to see Richardson as our home, a wonderful place to have raised our son, Ryan, and we both continue to be passionate supporters of Richardson’s success.  
By 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.


MOST RECENT

Richardson Bike Mart has about 11,000 bicycles on back order. (File photo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Richardson shop has 11,000 bicycles on back order and more DFW news

Read the latest Dallas-Fort Worth business and community news.

Thirteen drive-thru grocery stores operated by the Salvation Army of North Texas are offering backpacks filled with supplies. (Courtesy Salvation Army)
Salvation Army expands North Texas grocery service locations to include school supplies, protective equipment

Backpacks filled with school supplies, personal protective equipment, financial assistance resources and U.S. Census forms will be available at the 13 existing locations.

Cottonwood Creek Trail features platforms for viewing wildlife and fishing in Cottonwood Creek. (Courtesy Visit Frisco)
Trails system in Frisco expands and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the DFW area.

Anika Cooper founded Simply Grace House in 2013 after her own experience in recovery. Proceeds from Simply Thrifty benefit the nonprofit's seven sober living homes. (Olivia Lueckemeyer/Community Impact Newspaper)
First Look: Richardson boutique Simply Thrifty helps women in recovery rebuild their lives

Merchandise in the store includes lightly used secondhand clothing, furniture and household items.

Richardson Bike Mart has about 11,000 bicycles on back-order. (File photo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bicycle shortage expected to last months, says Richardson Bike Mart owner

In more than 30 years in business, Richardson Bike Mart owner and President Woody Smith said he has never seen a bicycle shortage like the one that has occurred since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rapid nasal swab antigen tests are recommended as options for individuals who were potentially exposed to a confirmed positive carrier, as well as for people traveling, returning to work or undergoing a medical procedure. (Courtesy Total Primary Care)
Find out where to get a 15-minute COVID-19 test in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth metros

Rapid nasal swab antigen tests are recommended as options for individuals who were potentially exposed to a confirmed positive carrier, as well as for people traveling, returning to work or undergoing a medical procedure.

The owner of the Richardson franchise is Darrin Lawrence. (Courtesy Fastsigns)
Fastsigns now open in Richardson

The business creates custom signs and graphics printed on a variety of products.

A mother and daughter visit at Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care in Conroe earlier in the pandemic. (Courtesy Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care)
Texas allows limited visitations to nursing homes, long-term care facilities

Facilities that meet the requirements will allow limited visitations, but you still will not be able to hug or kiss your loved one.

SweetStop bakery holds grand opening in Richardson and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Improvements to Main Street from east of US 75 to Abrams Road are ongoing in Richardson. (Courtesy city of Richardson)
Richardson officials: Main Street improvements now 50% complete

City officials said they expect the project to be mostly finished by March.

New Richardson bakery SweetStop holds grand opening

The business sells custom cakes, pastries and fresh-baked bread and offers catering.