Q&A with candidates running for Place 5 on Cedar Park City Council

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Incumbent Heather Jefts and Rodney T. Robinson are running for Place 5 on Cedar Park City Council. Community Impact Newspaper asked the candidates about their priorities and experience.

Places 1 and 3 on Cedar Park City Council are also up for election. Election day is May 4. Early voting is April 22-30.

Heather Jefts

Occupation: Small-business owner
Top priorities: Sustainability, quality of life, public safety
Website: www.jeftsforcedarpark.com

What makes you fit for the role of a city council member?
As a small-business owner, I know what it’s like to build from the ground up and work hard. I’m detail-oriented, thoughtful and organized. I’ve worked tirelessly to become familiar and educated on city issues and management. We have a lot of major projects and bids at the moment, and my experience is invaluable to see them through in a cost-efficient and timely manner. I look at data; get input from others; and find rational, logical solutions to whatever problem is in front of me. I’m also a great listener, engaging all sides and stakeholders before making a decision.

How do you plan on addressing the growth in your city?
Cedar Park has become a preferred city over the years, and with growing popularity comes higher demand. We need to embrace the reality that people want to be here. Long-term strategies, both financial and infrastructure, are crucial in absorbing new people and businesses. That’s why I’ve worked with fellow council members to update master plans, zoning, ordinances and even waste-management plans. Planning for the longevity of Cedar Park takes more than looking a year or two ahead; we have to have the strength and courage to address issues many years into the future.

What role should the city play in regulating development?
Our city is landlocked, so we must strive for thoughtful and deliberate development of our remaining open spaces. It’s a balancing act between the rights of landowners to develop their land, homeowners who want to preserve their quality of life, and the needs of the entire community. The council decided on a set of standards, with input from the whole community, and we must apply those standards fairly to all. I would invite anyone to speak with me if there are specific concerns.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?
Mobility, sustainability and affordability are three major issues. There are many residents unable to drive, and we need to ensure they are able to live and move within our community. Traffic will only get worse unless we improve roads and provide alternatives. Sustainability includes financial health, public safety, water and waste management, and environmental health. Affordability comes from a diverse tax base, low debt and tax rate, and diverse housing. Our council and I have made addressing these needs an integral part of our strategic goals.

Rodney T. Robinson

Occupation: Operations officer, Texas Army National Guard
Top priorities: Core services and community development
Website: https://robinsonforcp.com

What makes you fit for the role of a city council member?
I’m not a career politician, so I have no political agenda. I’m a regular citizen that is concerned with the direction and growth of Cedar Park. I’ve served our great nation for the past 21 years as a soldier; I would love the opportunity to serve our community as a council member. I have successfully led and managed multiple units and personnel under unpleasant operating conditions. We all moved to Cedar Park for a reason, and we want to stay here for a reason. I am proud to call Cedar Park my home and want to help keep this community a great place to live and keep Austin south.

How do you plan on addressing growth in your city?
Careful consideration must be given when addressing the growth of our city. I want to ensure Cedar Park maintains balanced growth while preserving our history, protecting our future and maintaining a sense of community.

What role should the city play in regulating development?
I believe Cedar Park should be able to regulate development when it negatively impacts either our history, quality of life or environment.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?
Public safety is the number one issue facing Cedar Park. Our police and fire department need to be properly manned, equipped and trained to support current and future safety needs. The second biggest issue is transportation and mobility. Cedar Park is growing rapidly and needs road improvement and construction projects to help improve our driving experience. The third biggest concern is lack of city transparency. Our local government needs to do a better job at keeping citizens informed and providing them with opportunities to voice their concerns.

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COMMENT
  1. Heather Jefts is the Leader we need in Cedar Park. Heather is always well prepared & works diligently to find answers. Heather is available to all of Cedar Park and holds office Hours weekly. Heather knows the importance of careful planning, fiscal conservatism, and balancing spending to achieve and maintain our city identity & sustainability. Heather is a true servant leader, devoting countless hours to local organizations. Most importantly, Heather is always seeking new ways to alert our citizens to organizations they can support. Serving with Heather is a great privilege.

  2. I began paying attention to local government 2 years ago when the recycling initiative was introduced. I have to say, ever city council meeting I went to, Heather Jefts was there. Every town hall meeting, Heather Jefts was there. And she was the only councilmember to attend any of the waste management planning meetings. She even has office hours at local coffee shops often to meet with citizens. Transparency. Dedication. And a true will to make this city better is what I have seen Heather do time and time again. I did not know her personally before attending these meetings as a citizen, but the fact that she is always present to help Cedar Park, I feel like I know her. Her heart is in the right place and honestly we need her to keep this city moving in the right direction. I have nothing to gain by saying this except that I want Cedar Park to continue to be an amazing place to live.

  3. Stan O. Springerley

    Heather Jefts has served in her first term as an informed and prepared council member. There is no argument against her service to the community. The challenger has not met the burden of proof for making a change. In fact, he appears to be uninformed. While I respect those that serve in the military, this alone does not mean you are ready to lead in a fast growing urban city with a diverse electorate. Saying that police and fire may not be adequately funded shows profound ignorance. Saying transparency is an issue also indicates someone grasping for points of attack against an exemplar council woman who is an asset to the City of Cedar Park.

    • Sheron Wechsler

      I absolutely agree with you!! Her challenger has shown why he’s not the person for the job. Heather has been endorced by our Fire Fighters and has been one of the most transparent officials on our Council. Heather will have our Votes!

  4. Heather Jefts is exactly what Cedar Park needs. She has always been approachable, writes down and truly hears what the citizens have to say and never wavers on what she has promised to do to make our city the best it can be. Her zero waste initiative has been the forward thinking progress that has made this city council one that all citizens can get behind. It’s an amazing time to live in Cedar Park and I’m proud to know with Heather’s leadership our city will continue to be a great place to raise families.

  5. I started paying attention to local politics two years ago when Heather Jefts and Anne Duffy were first running for Cedar Park City Council. I’ve always been impressed with them both because they’ve been very transparent and available to constituents. I appreciate level-headed service-minded individuals who are approachable and only interested in making our community better.

  6. Heather Jefts has been voted the “Best Elected Official” by the readers of the Hill Country News for a reason: She’s outstanding! Heather is bright, open, approachable, caring, concerned, and focused on doing the right thing at all times on all issues to improve the quality of life in our city. She listens to diverse opinions, and her integrity is beyond reproach. I support Heather Jefts for re-election to City Council, and I encourage my friends and neighbors to do the same.

  7. I supported Heather when she ran for office 2 years ago, and have never regretted it. She is consistently doing the research on city issues, and continues to connect with constituents in Cedar Park. She truly is working for the benefit of ALL Cedar Park citizens, and I’m proud to support her re-election.

  8. I didn’t get involved in local politics until 2 years ago. In that time I’ve been super impressed with Heather’s work ethic! I’m most excited about her help with recycling and her zero waste program!
    I’m also keenly aware of how she conducts herself. No bashing of opponents, no fear tactics or conspiracy theories. She’s what I want in government… open, honest and looking out for our best interests!

  9. I am so grateful for our current city council members who are using their platform to make cedar park a beautiful and healthy city.

    Heather, Anne, Stephen and Mayor Arsdel truly have the best interest of our community in mind.

  10. My husband and I supported Heather two years ago, and we’re so happy we did. She’s so open and transparent about what the city is doing. She is knowledgeable about what our city needs at this point, with an eye to our future. We’ve lived in CP for about 20 years and it has been a fantastic change! She’s the person Cedar Park needs! We are pleased to support Heather again!

  11. Heather Jefts answer to the last question is very worrisome to me. Cedar Park does not have a mobility problem compared to many other growing cities in Texas. Mainly because instead of throwing away our money to Cap Metro the citizens voted to keep the money and help improve our roadways. Which is happening. Jefts would like to divert that money or increase taxes for something we don’t need. Heather must be behind the push to increase recycling and composting at an increased to taxpayers at a time when there is a shrinking market for recycled materials. So much recycled material still ends up in the landfill. Housing affordability can be maintained by keeping the government out of the housing business. Intelligent growth is a must. She wants diverse housing. That is just code words for low income housing in your neighborhood whether you want it or not. Heather Jefts is aligned with Democrat party and wants to change Cedar Park into a little Austin with all it’s problems.

    • Sadly, Cedar Park does have a serious lack of public transit options. I don’t mean Cap Metro at all, but any 21st century option that will enable our youth to get to their jobs on time, and maintain employment. I am speaking on behalf of those youth whom I have been serving as a job coach since 2005. These are the youth who are enrolled in the Vocational Services program of Leander ISD. Along with my team, I work very hard to help them find jobs in Cedar Park businesses so they can lead productive lives. Unfortunately, because they are not able to drive, or cannot afford to buy their own vehicle, they lose their jobs as soon as they stop receiving transportation support through the district. Just because the majority do not depend on public transit, doesn’t mean we should ignore the needs of those who need some type of transit to achieve self-reliance and live a life of dignity. I applaud Heather for thinking outside the box and lending her voice to an issue that is crying out for a creative response.

    • Lance this is so on point it hurts!!! Heather Jefts used a lot of sly language to say I want more of your money and to be more in control of your life by forcing an agenda down all resident’s throats!!!

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Marisa Charpentier
Marisa Charpentier joined Community Impact in September 2018. After working as an intern, she became a reporter for the Cedar Park | Leander edition in October 2018. Charpentier graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with degrees in journalism and Plan II Honors.
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