Q&A: Conroe City Council Place 5 candidates discuss experience, goals

After Council Member Jody Czajkoski filed for the mayor position, it opened up his seat for the general election. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
After Council Member Jody Czajkoski filed for the mayor position, it opened up his seat for the general election. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

After Council Member Jody Czajkoski filed for the mayor position, it opened up his seat for the general election. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)



HOUSTON



Conroe City Council Place 5










Marsha Porter





Occupation: Retired teacher, coach and athletic director for 39 years in Conroe ISD


Experience: Conroe City Council member from 2008-2016






What are the biggest challenges the city of Conroe faces, and how do you plan to address them?



MP: We are one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. It is vital to plan for the future with new infrastructure as well repairing old infrastructure. Our local residents have expressed a concern for a strong conservative tree ordinance—one that shall be enforced. We need to help our local businesses recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 virus with a strong campaign to invest and shop locally.



What are your goals for the city's development in the next five to 10 years?



MP: Conroe must maintain one of the lowest property tax rates in southeast Texas. Conroe must continue to attract large companies to the industrial park. This will bring in more jobs and tax revenue. Conroe must continue to fight for lower water rates for our citizens.



Are you in favor of imposing stricter term limits for mayor and council members? Why or why not?



MP: support the current term limits the city of Conroe has in place: A candidate may serve for eight years then sit out for four years. This prevents lifelong candidates, but enables Conroe to take advantage of experience. I don’t believe anyone should limit the rights of the voter or the names on a ballot. Ultimately, the voter determines term limits.








Frank Jackson




Occupation: Content acquisitions for Smith Music Group; Owner/developer of The Table at Madeley food truck park


Experience: Business leader, Music industry professional






What are the biggest challenges facing the city of Conroe, and how do you plan to address them?



FJ: Updating the information and technology to create a better work flow for business and developers. I will work with permits and engineering department to create an simple online process to gather the basic information needed before a pre-development meeting. Conroe also needs to address public safety. Financial responsibility is also crucial to achieve a bold infrastructure and stay ahead of growth.



What are your goals for the city's development in the next five to 10 years?



FJ: Conroe's next generation needs infrastructure support and livable community assets that include mix use modern buildings that have retail and restaurant on ground level with parking and multifamily above. In addition to the residential buildings, Conroe needs a class A office space with multiple floors that offers lawyers and others more space to work. My vision for Conroe is to continue to have its own identity with more private business and updated infrastructure that will meet the needs now and in the future.



Are you in favor of imposing stricter term limits for mayor and council members? Why or why not?



FJ: Yes, term limits is an American issue and must be kept in check. Term limits restore policy and bring fresh faces and ideas to city hall. Incumbents claim experience is needed to do the job so they can become policy making experts. In reality they solve very little and receive sweetheart deals at the tax payers expense. Elections are not term limits. Incumbents receive an average of $9 for ever $1 the challenger can raise. Incumbents know the leaders, who votes and who makes donations. Unlimited terms creates a barrier for every day citizens.







Clarence Lewis





Candidate did not respond to requests for comment.









Frances McDougal






Occupation: Retired teacher, coach and athletic director for 39 years in Conroe ISD


Experience: I am a good communicator, listener and problem solver resulting from being a teacher.


Contact: no website




What are the biggest challenges the city of Conroe faces, and how do you plan to address them?



FM: I believe the senior community is being neglected. The Friendship Center closed as did the YMCA where many seniors tended to hang out and find social activity. The fire fighters in our city need help also. Their pay is at the lower end and, with the growth we are facing, at least one new fire station is needed. Also, the city council needs to stop bowing to special interest groups. Lastly, I would like to see the city council hold town meetings in the different parts of Conroe.



What are your goals for the city's development in the next five to 10 years?



FM: I have a dream that downtown Conroe can be like the city of McKinney and Grapevine. I would like to see the square filled with shops, outside dining and music. I also have a dream that our community will come together as one to move forward for the betterment of all. This is why I proposed having town meetings so everyone will feel like they are being listened to. Cleaning up downtown Conroe is very important, including finding a solution to the homeless population.



Are you in favor of imposing stricter term limits for mayor and council members? Why or why not?



FM: I think two terms is good. I think it takes time for council members to understand each other and learn to respect different ideas. I don’t think much would be accomplished if terms were shorter. I don't think you should be able to sit out a term and decide to come back though as new ideas are needed.







Keith Armstrong





Occupation: Retired


Experience: U.S. Navy Civil Engineering Corps; city manager (Lititz, PA, Willard, OH and Xenia, OH)


Contact: no website




What are the biggest challenges the city of Conroe faces, and how do you plan to address them?



KA: COVID-19 will reduce revenues for 5 to 10 years. The council will have several difficult decisions on salaries, service levels and layoffs. The second challenge is rapid expansion through aggressive annexation has resulted in an estimated $5 billion debt in deferred capital improvements. Third, the current comprehensive plan is reprehensible. A new plan must concentrate on the development in Conroe's core.



What are your goals for the city's development in the next five to 10 years?



KA: Survive the pandemic crisis and have a reasonable program to have full municipal services to all residents and neighborhoods.



Are you in favor of imposing stricter term limits for mayor and council members? Why or why not?



KA: No. The voters are quite capable of replacing officials who no longer serve the public.







Kelley Inman





Occupation: Retired teacher and youth minister


Experience: Business owner, lifelong Conroe resident


Contact: no website




What are the biggest challenges the city of Conroe faces, and how do you plan to address them?



KI: Infrastructure and mobilization; with the massive growth our city is experiencing, it is imperative that we ensure proper mobility within our city. Responsible spending; as more and more tax dollars are being taken from the citizen, it will be my job to ensure they are spent responsibly and no additional taxes assessed.



What are your goals for the city's development in the next five to 10 years?



KA: I will endeavor to bring in the conveniences of a large city, yet I will ensure that we maintain the small town feel. Conroe is a safe haven for families, yet it is becoming a large metropolitan. As we grow we will encounter more crime, traffic accidents and pollution. I will properly equip our responders to ensure a safe and healthy environment for families.



Are you in favor of imposing stricter term limits for mayor and council members? Why or why not?



KA: I believe the current term limits and restrictions are adequate. By limiting them to two terms, it helps deter complacency as well as insuring people are serving in those roles who are seeing the products of the former members of city council and mayor. By having experienced members on the board, it provides stability when bringing in members who have fresh ideas for improvement.



By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


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