Rick Grady is running for Plano City Council, Place 3. He is running against challenger Colleen Aguilar-Epstein.
Community Impact Newspaper sent Grady a list of questions about his candidacy. This article is part of ongoing May 4 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. His responses below have been edited for publication style.
Why are you running for a Plano City Council seat?
I am running for re-election because I care: I care about all our citizens, about the city in general, about its amenities and its direction, about how it delivers services, about how it collaborates with cities and counties around it, and about how it coordinates with the state services. Among all the cities in America, within the past year our city has been ranked as a Top 10 best city over 20 times for its jobs, its housing market, as a place to live, to raise a family, to retire and to go to school. It has been in the Top 10 for veterans to call home, for its safety, for its transportation, for owning property and gaining wealth, and for its livable environment. It is these accolades that demonstrate our service delivery, the value of our amenities and the warmth of our citizens. It is these tributes that attract companies to move here and improve the employment market and economic stability. It is these recognitions that prove our city employees are great stewards of the citizen’s assets. This is what makes Plano home. This is what makes Plano healthy. I intend to perpetuate and prolong this streak.
What are your qualifications for seeking this office?
I strongly believe in serving the citizens of this nation and this community by action, involvement and deeds. I believe that the indicator of who we are is through what we do. John 3:18 says, “Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” Besides currently sitting on City Council, I have been led by a servant heart since I was 13 when I joined Civil Air Patrol to perform search and rescue operations and begin my military life. Since then I served in Vietnam, earning two Army Commendations, the Cross of Gallantry and four Battle Stars. As a combat veteran, I co-founded and led the Collin County Veterans’ Coalition. I was awarded the U.S. Congressional Veteran Commendation by Congressman Sam Johnson. I am an active member with the Texas Health Resources Leadership Council, Emergency Preparedness Planning Council, Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition, Regional Transportation Council, Collin County Homeless Coalition, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, Military Communities Council, and, in the past, Plano’s Planning and Zoning and Community Relations commissions. I was a senior executive in the technology and banking industries with budgets exceeding $500 million, but retired from private work to become a full-time volunteer and council member.
If elected, what would your top priorities be?
A top priority is to continue to build on the success of this city and the legacy of those who came before me. Our “newest” road infrastructures are now 20 years old, and Mother Nature has shown her strength by shifting the soils and cracking our roads, sidewalks, and other vital pieces of infrastructure. It needs to be repaired and replaced. We need to continually invest in our first responders, from the individuals who pick up the phone when we call 911 to the women and men that show up on our doorstep, the accident scene or the active incident. Besides roads, we need to improve transportation and flow within the city. We need to modernize our signaling systems, expand our mass transit systems for better east-west flow in addition to our north-south flow. We need to reinvigorate our older, less performing sites, such as Collin Creek Mall, into something new and exciting with an attractiveness that invites people to intermingle and relate. We need to work with our citizens and neighbors to ensure that everyone is given a chance to move forward with their lives in a happy and healthy manner.
If elected, would you generally support or oppose rezoning requests that include multifamily residential options, such as apartments?
This is really a land-use issue, and I have voted both ways on this matter. I will continue to judge them on a case-by-case basis. I realize that the recession of 2008 and 2009 destroyed the U.S. housing industry. We have not caught up. We used to produce 1.5 million homes per year—a third of which were replacement homes and two-thirds of which were new stock. The December 2018 Census Bureau report indicated we are still producing just over 1 million a year, meaning that in the past decade we have fallen behind demand by five to six million homes. It is one of the chief reasons our property values have escalated: demand has far outpaced supply and thus price has rapidly risen because of the low quantity. In addition, we have a shifting demographic that desires different products. The rapidly growing senior population is looking for alternatives and shifting from own-maintain to lock-and-leave. Millennials are seeking mobility and social community. And the middle class would just like something they can afford. All this change is at a time when people are moving into North Texas at a significant rate. So, I remain flexible and will judge it case by case.