Community Impact Newspaper sent Ross 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 appreciate excellence in all things, and I want to elevate my role in maintaining Plano’s excellence and its reputation as a model community. While Plano is fortunate to have engaged, concerned citizens and a professional municipal staff, we are at a place in our city’s life cycle that requires more astute communication in order to achieve levels of success we have previously enjoyed. As a citizen who greatly respects this community and has whole-heartedly committed my time and resources toward its success for 18 years, I want to be involved in strategic, solution-focused discussions that will secure Plano’s excellence for years to come. There will always be the need for proactive decisions about traffic flow, infrastructure, fiscal responsibility, land use and regional partnerships. This is how we sustain a high quality of life. However, in order to replicate or exceed past successes in these areas, we must be able to agree on how to move forward in the best interest of all concerned. I want to join my fellow colleagues and citizens in normalizing honest, civil dialogue that encourages us all to equitably and competently address crucial issues that reinforce a sense of community.
What are your qualifications for seeking this office?
Service is a huge part of my life, and I have happily shared my talent, time and resources for 30 years. Eighteen of these years have been in Plano, where I have experienced this community as an engaged citizen, employee and volunteer. Throughout my adult life, I have studied the psychology of people in order to better relate to others and understand how behavior impacts outcomes. As I understand the qualifications and roles of council members, I am confident that skills I have nurtured in leadership, decision-making, conflict management and systems orientation—along with my knowledge of municipal government—qualify me to be an engaged, accountable and solution-focused council member. It is not an accident that soft skills are heavily sought in today’s professional environment. Organizations have come to realize that technical skills and academic achievement are greatly enhanced when accompanied by emotional intelligence. I have worked diligently to attain the full measure of these skills and am prepared to continue using them as I serve and join others in maintaining the excellence of Plano.
If elected, what would your top priorities be?
- Building a sense of community will create space for all citizens to be engaged in the governance process and feel valued as individuals
- Effectively managing infrastructure and demographic changes will ease challenges associated with them.
- Setting and modeling standards for civil discourse will reinforce Plano’s reputation for having that something more and encourage honest, respectful, productive communication.
Safety and security
- Supporting policies and budgets that ensure adequate staffing and legislative compliance will provide citizens with assurance that their physical, environmental, and emotional safety and security are priorities.
- Listening to public safety professionals will guide decisions to equip Plano with equipment and strategies to maintain its designation as one of the safest cities in the United States.
- Understanding and sharing statistical data will promote citizen understanding of the number and types of public safety events managed by Plano’s first responders.
- Working with citizens and municipal staff to consider revenues, expenses, and legislative mandates will result in cost-benefit analyses that yield reliable decisions for budgets, facility maintenance, capital expenditures and taxation.
- Strategic approaches to decision-making will lead to heightened efficiency and accountability by focusing attention on core issues.
- Maintaining excellence and the highest quality of life in Plano.
If elected, would you generally support or oppose rezoning requests that include multifamily residential options, such as apartments?
As a council member, I will rely on information provided for each land use and development request. Since each project will include input from citizens, staff, the Planning and Zoning Commission and developers, it will be important to consider each one on its own merit. My basis for this answer is aligned with my focus on making objective, informed decisions in all situations. The comprehensive vetting process for evaluating development projects in Plano, the city’s standards for structural and aesthetic elements, and its years of commitment to maintaining comprehensive plans collectively serve an important purpose. I will not generally commit to support or oppose projects of any kind before considering related facts. If predeterminations of this kind are encouraged, it becomes a slippery slope that may allow any council member to vote in the direction of his or her personal preferences, as opposed to what is in the best interest of the community, its citizens and all current and future stakeholders.