Q&A: Hollis Bone, Hilda Montgomery and John Montgomery compete for special election seat on Round Rock City Council

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On Dec. 16, voters will decide who will take Kris Whitfield’s vacant seat on Round Rock City Council. Whitfield vacated her post in Place 6 to move to Wyoming full time. She was first elected to her position in 2007.

Hollis Bone, Hilda Montgomery and John Montgomery are the three candidates competing to take her position. Hilda and John are not related. Bone previously ran for city council in May 2017, but lost to now council member Tammy Young. Hilda ran against now Mayor Craig Morgan for the position of mayor.

Early voting will take place from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12. Election day will be Dec. 16.

The election will have two polling locations, the Jester Annex and the Baca Center.

Hollis Bone

Hollis Bone

Describe your experience.
23 year resident and businessman in Round Rock; member of several boards and commissions including Planning and Zoning Commission, Economic Development Partnership, and many more; Past Chairman, Round Rock Chamber of Commerce; Married 27 years to my wife Lisa, and proud father of our daughters Lindsey and Lauren; Proud voice of the Round Rock Dragons Marching Band.

What are the major issues facing Round Rock in the coming year, five years or foreseeable future? Please be specific.
Three issues facing Round Rock now and the foreseeable feature center around “fast growth” – roads, public safety, and jobs. We must maintain a balanced approach to improving our roadway infrastructure and connectivity to ease traffic congestion and improve mobility, while also being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. We need to maintain a relationship with our state and federal partners so everyone is working together to address this critical issue. We also need additional first responders and equipment as our city grows to ensure all citizens are safe. And finally, we need to ensure we have a tax base and a taxing system which attracts employers who bring good and sustainable jobs.

What concrete solutions would you propose to address these issues?
We are fortunate previous councils had the foresight to broaden our tax base with Dell, the Round Rock Outlet Mall, and other retail to create a sustainable commercial tax base and keep the burden off home owners. We are in pretty good shape. That said, we can always improve. We must continue to develop our economic partnerships to bring more businesses to not only broaden our tax base, but provide career opportunities to keep up with the job demands of a growing population. To address traffic concerns we need to maintain a relationship with our state and federal partners so everyone is working together to address this critical issue. And we need to work closely with our first responders to very quickly meet their immediate needs so they can do their jobs.

How will you prepare to transition into City Council as a specially elected council member so you can make the most out of the days left in your term?
My twenty years experience with city boards and commissions, the chamber of commerce, the economic development corporation, and local civic and charity work enables me to start with a strong base of knowledge of what the city will address on the days left in this term. I also know we need council members who are available to the public, meet with civic leaders, and keep transparent dialogue throughout the decision process with the public. I have always been, and when elected will continue to be, that accessible community leader.

How will you fit into an existing team that has already identified priorities?
I’ll fit in very easily. I am already familiar with what this city council has outlined, and is acting upon, as its priorities. In many cases, the city leaders already know where I stand on the issues facing our city because of our nearly twenty years of conversations and interactions at civic and community activities, workshops, lectures, and other special events.

 What makes you uniquely qualified for this position? 
My two decades of service and diverse experience in the City of Round Rock makes me uniquely qualified to serve as city councilman over the other candidates. No other candidate in this election has spent the time I have serving in this community. It’s easy to live in a community, but takes effort and “want to” to be an active and vital part of the community. We all have talents and we all have a responsibility to our neighbors and to the community as a whole to bring that individual effort to the forefront of leadership.

Hilda Montgomery

Hilda Montgomery

Describe your experience.
17 year Round Rock resident; 35 years of leadership roles in corporate America; 19 at Dell, currently project manager; Volunteer with Caritas, Round Rock Serving Center, Meals on Wheels, and the Food Pantry

What are the major issues facing Round Rock in the coming year, five years or foreseeable future? Please be specific.
Round Rock is at a crossroads and the decisions we make over the next few years will determine the future of our community. Our small and local businesses are being priced out, long-time residents are finding it challenging to continue to affordably live here, and our roadways are mired in traffic and unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians. Our kids and seniors deserve more enrichment and educational programs where cost is not a barrier to participation. We must do a better job managing our growth and including everyone in the decisions we make. Last, community engagement must improve across the board. We need to make it easier to participate in city government not harder.

What concrete solutions would you propose to address these issues?
With respect to affordability we need to push the State Legislature to do it’s job to fund education and stop passing the buck to local taxpayers. At the same time we need to ensure we have diverse housing options that fit the needs of renters and first time homebuyers as well as those who want to upgrade or downsize. Reducing our traffic requires working with our regional partners as well as ensuring we are providing transit to those who wish to use it. In addition, our most dangerous streets need to undergo design studies on how to improve their safety. Meanwhile, any business incentives must be reciprocated with good jobs that provide opportunities for advancement, job training, competitive benefits, and fair pay. We also need programs that support our small and local businesses, especially minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses.

How will you prepare to transition into City Council as a specially elected council member so you can make the most out of the days left in your term?
The best way to prepare is to meet the challenge head on using immersion. In addition to meeting with council members, the city manager, and department heads, I would continue to solicit feedback from residents on what priorities they hold with respect to the city. I will meet with community stakeholders to get their perspective on pressing issues. I have been attending packet meetings and following the current business of the council, however, an insider’s perspective and knowledge level is always greater than any amount of preparation can account for. Last, I will utilize mentors and thought leaders in the community and region to help me hit the ground running as well as look to best practices across the country.

How will you fit into an existing team that has already identified priorities?
My parents taught me that when honesty and integrity come first everything that follows will be right. I bring a mindset of listening and collaborating but not being afraid to fight for those who are less able to fight for themselves. I go into this with an open mind and I intend to collaborate with council on issues such as affordability and ensuring folks are not priced out of their homes, creating good jobs that pay fair wages, and traffic reduction. These are issues that should be of concern to everyone and where we can find common ground to move forward on what is best for the city. In addition, I will take the lead on projects as necessary, including increasing civic engagement and transparency by holding town halls and developing accessible programs for small businesses, children, and seniors, to enrich the community.

What makes you uniquely qualified for this position?
My background allows me to empathize with people with a wide variety of experiences. I grew up on the south side of Chicago after my parents moved north seeking better opportunity for themselves. My father worked as a laborer, as did my mother. Growing up with the political realities of the 60s shaped my views of equality and respect as well as the importance of being involved. My parents emphasized education and hard work to succeed. Because of their sacrifices I was the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college. Since then, I have spent more than 35 years in leadership roles in corporate America. In that time I have accumulated a wide-breadth of experience in customer service, project management, and consensus building that will make me an effective advocate at City Hall for all of Round Rock.

John Montgomery

 

John Montgomery

Describe your experience.
17 years as a small business owner including the last 13 years owning Roberts Printing Company where I had the opportunity to serve and interact with multiple city government accounts.  I have also been a licensed Real Estate agent since 2008.
What are the major issues facing Round Rock in the coming year, five years or foreseeable future? Please be specific.
Increased traffic, public safety, rising tax appraisals causing high tax bills and pricing citizens out of our community.
With increasing populations it is important to address the traffic problems and fix the infrastructure before it is too late.
What concrete solutions would you propose to address these issues?
Bring in traffic experts to determine future problems.  When we focus on current problems and it takes time to fix those, those problems become past problems and new problems develop.  I would also encourage programs for police public relations programs, youth programs, and a safe nightlife in the booming downtown area.
How will you prepare to transition into City Council as a specially elected council member so you can make the most out of the days left in your term?
It would be important for me to have one on one time with the other members so we can work together on making this community the best city for it’s citizens.
How will you fit into an existing team that has already identified priorities?
Learning more about the current members, the views, and goals would help me to find my roll in the council.  Just like with anything, communication is key.
What makes you uniquely qualified for this position?
My experience as a business owner that works with other businesses on a daily basis and being a Real Estate agent gives me a unique position.
I have no desire to be a career politician but want the opportunity to serve the community and do my part to make the community a better place for my 7 year old that attends school in Round Rock.
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