Colleen Aguilar-Epstein is running for Plano City Council, Place 3. She is running against incumbent Council Member Rick Grady.
Community Impact Newspaper sent Aguilar-Epstein a list of questions about her candidacy. This article is part of ongoing May 4 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. Her responses below have been edited for publication style.
Why are you running for a Plano City Council seat?
I am running for the Plano City Council because I love this city and the great people who live here, and want to do what I can to ensure a bright future for all residents. For over 25 years, my husband and I have enjoyed the uniqueness of Plano and raised our children here. Our roots are deep and wide, and we want to retire here. With so much invested in Plano, I am glad to contribute what I can to direct decisions that will have consequences far into the future.
What are your qualifications for seeking this office?
I am a former Plano ISD high school Spanish teacher. I have served on many professional and volunteer boards that have given me an understanding of the importance of collaboration to achieve a common goal. I frequently attend Plano City Council meetings and am familiar with the requirements of being a council member. My greatest qualification is that I am an informed and diligent servant who will respectfully listen to all of my constituents, and fight to protect their rights.
If elected, what would your top priorities be?
If elected, transparency and accountability will be my top priorities. In our council-manager form of government, the people elect and provide oversight for the City Council. All eight members of the City Council are then responsible for oversight of the city manager and all of the city staff. To facilitate each entity’s ability to fulfill those roles of oversight, I will propose changes to the council meeting agenda postings. The current method of posting the agenda on a Thursday night for a Monday night meeting, hardly allows any time for citizens or City Council members to review it. Under my proposal, all items will be posted one week ahead of the meeting. This will allow council members the opportunity to research each agenda item, ask questions of city staff and communicate those answers to concerned constituents. A week’s notice allows enough time for citizens to organize and attend council meetings where they can make their voices heard.
Other issues that are important to me are safe water, timely street repairs, and paying competitive salaries to keep and add to our excellent first responders. These priorities can be accomplished while still reducing our property tax burden.
If elected, would you generally support or oppose rezoning requests that include multifamily residential options, such as apartments?
I am a strong proponent of smart planning and zoning that takes into account infrastructure and traffic impact studies and respects the rights of property owners. I will responsibly consider each proposal individually, in light of how these crucial issues might be impacted. For a better quality of life for our residents, we must be diligent to protect excellent zoning standards and preserve and create as much green space as possible.