Four candidates, including one incumbent, filed for candidacy for two of Hutto City Council’s contested seats.

Hutto Mayor Pro-Tem Tom Hines, looking to retain his Place 2 dais seat, is the only incumbent running for re-election this cycle. Hines will be challenged for the Place 2 election by Gay McMillan.

Patti Turner and Rick Hudson both filed for the Place 5 election to replace Lucio Valdez.

Election Day is May 5. Early voting begins April 23 and runs through May 1.

Hutto City Council, Place 2

Tom Hines*
Bio: My wife Lori and I have called Hutto our home for the past 22 years. We have been married for 32 years and have 2 grown daughters and 4 lovely grandchildren. I am a past president and treasurer for Hutto Fire Rescue’s local association #4707. I am very involved in this community participating in many activities throughout the year. I am also currently the sitting councilman for the city of Hutto Place 2.

Experience: Current Hutto City Council Place 2 member; 20 years of experience as fire fighter and first responder

Gay McMillan
Bio: Gay Isber McMillan has dual MA Degrees in Humanities and Fine Arts, a BA in Journalism and an IT degree from UT Austin. Gay teaches social media/jewelry making/sales at Austin Community College. She creates products from her home studio in Hutto for the movie industry and for retailers. She has over 200K followers on social media find her as "Sugar Gay Isber" or at Over 3,000 stores carry her designs. Gay is a 7th generation Texan with a dual Canadian citizenship.

Experience: Business owner; currently attending Hutto Citizen’s University

How should Hutto manage its growth?
Hines: Hutto should manage growth in a balanced way that reduces the financial burden to the tax payer(s) while yet continuing to improve the quality of life for Hutto residents.

McMillan: We need a firm plan that keeps taxes low, water prices on par plus more ideas that will conserve our resources with the changing environment in mind. Looking how Houston thought it was safe from a 100-year flood, we need to be cautious and have safeguards in place to protect our homes from possible floods and droughts. Too much concrete is not a good thing. Our new city center will be such a bonus to give families a safe alternative to leaving Hutto for entertainment. I would like to see more super energy efficient and water saving homes in the mix.

What are the top issues Hutto is facing?
Hines: Making sure that we continue to improve the quality of life for residence(s) by recruiting more retail shops and jobs to town and focusing efforts on improving our park system to
give residence(s) and children more options to play as we continue improving our police department capability to keep residence(s) safe while Hutto grows.

McMillan: Growth comes with many issues, good and bad. Our city is hiring great people who are experienced with larger cities and hiring studies to help identify possible future growth missteps. But we need to think 10 years and farther. The railroad cuts off the fire department if a train is coming down the tracks. We need to think big and bold. Perhaps the train could be tunneled underground like in Round Rock? We need to attract a hospital and slowly annex areas to enlarge the seven square miles that define Hutto. Growth, the good and the bad, is our biggest issue.

What should Hutto’s infrastructure priorities be?
Hines: To continue improving our police capability and work to reduce traffic congestion along with our roads like Limmer and FM 1660 as an example.

McMillan: To grow we need waste water piping in place before developments can be started. These are major financial investments as existing roadways must be considered. Sidewalks and streets must flow so traffic isn’t bottlenecked through new areas with traffic snarling the grid. Land developers must help pay for lanes to be expanded before the homes are built. We must include as many green spaces, parks and tree plantings as a priority, too.

Are there enough affordable housing or multifamily unit options in Hutto?
Hines: We need to make sure we continue providing housing for all families within our community in a balanced way. Having solid quality step up housing options have been a major factor in our successful growth. I will continue that.

McMillan: No, there is never enough and we also need to add more nursing home facilities, too. Families are the backbone of our city. We must make our neighborhoods contain many options. As we grow, not everyone will need a $300k home. Variety makes for a better hometown.

What does the city need to do in order to secure development longevity for the years to come?
Hines: We need to be thoughtful, focused and flexible to respond to the needs of our residents and continue investing in police and public infrastructure like roads to reduce traffic congestion while improving our parks system.

McMillan: If there is a need and vacant places, development will come. We should not be in such a great hurry that we low ball or offer too many tax breaks for builders. Then we all suffer. Our main road to anywhere is a toll road, which is very expensive with few free feeder roads. We need a solid grid of streets so there are many ways to get around to ease traffic. TxDOT doles out the funds for some projects but they need to be pressured into thinking that their tolls are not a forever solution. Our longevity should not be forever toll roads.

Which kinds of businesses does Hutto need to attract?
Hines: We need to attract more retail and restaurant options along with good primary jobs that allow residents to take care of their families.

McMillan: We need to have more local employment so that the quality of life is improved. If everyone is driving away every day that impacts our families, retailers, daycares, schools, etc. Storage units only employ one or two people so I would not support any more of those, for example. Employee focused business are mostly in the service sector. We might soon have more tourists from the Kalahari development so we need to offer them a cute city to explore and spend their money. We need business that are employee driven.

Hutto City Council, Place 5

Patricia Turner
Bio: I am a mother of 3 beautiful children, partner to my soulmate and a proud citizen of Hutto. I love Hutto and only want what’s best for our growing community. I am honored to be active in our community to help make it the best it can be. From overseeing the Country Estates Neighborhood Watch to engaging in political debate, I want to make a positive difference for everyone who calls Hutto home.

My love for our community and neighbors continues to grow as much as our city is growing. I am enjoying and fully support the smart growth that is happening in Hutto. New businesses, both retail and commercial only help our city thrive. From the construction of the Co-Op District, the roadway improvements and the new housing developments, we are seeing much improvement in the way we do business, but there is much more we can do.

With the continued growth comes many challenges and Hutto must have leaders who are committed to the citizens; a leader who will be their voice and fight for them. My commitment is to ensure our city thrives in a manner which our citizens and their families need. I believe strongly in making Hutto affordable again and growing our community in a smart manner that will bring residual benefits for many years to come.

Experience: Has worked in financing & accounting in construction for 6 years; volunteers in community

Rick Hudson
Bio: Rick Hudson was born and raised in Wisconsin. After retiring from the Army, he got to Texas as fast as he could. He holds degrees from both ACC and Texas State University, and has lived in Hutto since 2014.

Experience: Serves on Hutto Mobility Plan Advisory Committee, Hutto Building & Standards Commission and Hutto Zoning Board of Adjustments; graduated from Hutto Citizen’s University

How should Hutto manage its growth?
Turner: Very carefully. We need smart infrastructure as well as a diverse economy by continuing to bring economic growth to match our residential growth. All growth should be managed properly to ensure we are able to ease the burdens that have been placed on the taxpayers of Hutto.

Hudson: I’ve heard that Hutto is growing too fast; it certainly isn’t balanced growth. Nearly all of the explosive growth in the past decade has been housing, and that has skewed the tax base, infrastructure, and even traffic patterns. Planning for balanced growth of businesses and new housing while preserving the surrounding farmland is what I believe to be the responsible way to grow Hutto.

What are the top issues Hutto is facing?
Turner: Public safety and fiscal responsibility. First and foremost, public safety is always my top priority, as well as the city’s, but with the continued growth in population will come a rise in criminal activity. Hutto PD has added many new officers and new divisions to their police force in order to match the city’s growth. I will continue to show the same support for our police, and all firefighters and EMS. Fiscal responsibility is another priority for me. We must be sure that we are using our budgets wisely and thinking of the impact on our citizens.

Hudson: We need to retain and promote Hutto’s identity as we grow responsibly. I think we can blend industry, residential, and agricultural aspects into a functional city that doesn’t lose the spirit that makes Hutto great. The city government and employees need to communicate openly and frequently with their boss–the Hutto citizen. And we need more engagement in the political process; low voter turnout and involvement benefits no one.

What should Hutto’s infrastructure priorities be?

Turner: We need to properly support our city with better built and maintained roadways plus mobility options for those without transportation.

Hudson: Getting control of our water was a good–if painful–move. We need Hutto to run Hutto, rather than hope some outside entity will do it right. We have nearly 25,000 residents; and we’re on track to add another 1200 just this year. It’s about time we stood up our own fire department and full-time dispatch/911 system. And we need a fix for the city being split in half by the railroad.

Are there enough affordable housing or multifamily unit options in Hutto?
Turner: Hutto needs to explore affordable housing options while ensuring quality of life. This is a very complex issue that should also include much citizen input.

Hudson: Yes and no. Hutto housing is less expensive than other cities, but that’s changing as the region booms. There is multifamily construction in the works or newly built, opening up even more housing options. We need to push developers for affordable housing options as prices climb, and make sure that residents can access the services they need to make Hutto their hometown instead of just a place where they live.

What does the city need to do in order to secure development longevity for the years to come?
Turner: Continue to grow smartly, not for the sake of growth. We need to ensure we have the correct infrastructure to support such growth over many years to come.

Hudson: By looking forward and developing a plan for responsible growth, then implementing that plan, I believe Hutto can have it all. If the growth trend continues, Hutto is going to reach 50,000 population faster than it got to 25,000. That growth doesn’t have to include paved-over farmland, empty strip malls, and bad traffic if we take action now.

Which kinds of businesses does Hutto need to attract?
Turner: Larger corporations will make a bigger impact on our water usage and rates. However, smaller local businesses make a great impact on city by allowing the citizens to shop locally and help our entrepreneurs thrive.

Hudson: All kinds. I think it’s a mistake to pin the city’s future on a single large business. Hutto is experiencing massive residential growth, we need to attract businesses that recognize that opportunity. Service industries should be blowing up right now; instead, residents are driving to other cities. If you want to see a movie or take the kids for ice cream, you should be able to do that in Hutto.