Q&A: Meet the candidates running for Katy City Council Ward A

Ahead of the May election, meet the candidates running to serve Katy City Council Ward A. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Ahead of the May election, meet the candidates running to serve Katy City Council Ward A. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Ahead of the May election, meet the candidates running to serve Katy City Council Ward A. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)



HOUSTON



Katy City Council Ward A










Diane Walker



Occupation: Virtual assistant and life insurance broker


Experience: U.S. Navy Veteran; former federal law enforcement analyst; board of directors for Stuff the Sleigh, a local nonprofit benefiting kids with cancer and rare blood diseases; board of directors for the Katy Heritage Society; mission chair for the past three years at Katy First Methodist; managed the housing and feeding of over 250 first responders during Hurricane Harvey; volunteer with many local organizations






What is the biggest issue facing the city of Katy, and how would you address it?



DW: I believe that the biggest issue facing Katy right now is our aging infrastructure. The city is continuing to work on flood mitigation which is especially important. However, we need to also focus on increasing the capacity of our existing storm drains. Additionally, we need to improve our infrastructure simultaneously. To accomplish this, we need to have a thought out, computerized maintenance schedule. Katy is an older city, and we need to prevent major waterline and sewage breaks. We need to be more proactive in addressing infrastructure needs.



What could the city of Katy have done better during February's extreme winter storm and the subsequent power outages? If elected, what would you do to help prepare Katy for similar events in the future?



DW: I really appreciated the KT Alert system keeping us posted on current conditions. Public works did an amazing job helping cut off water for residents. Our first responders, city staff, mayor and City Council worked around the clock assisting citizens. In the future I think it would be great to a have a trained, all volunteer, group of residents that can assist the city during these types of events.



How do you plan on balancing Katy's growth while preserving its history?



DW: I love watching our city grow. The new neighborhoods are beautiful and have really balanced out our city. Now we are at the point where we need to decide how much more growth we want and develop a strategic plan for it. First and foremost, we need to ensure that we have the infrastructure in place to support growth. We also need to make sure that we are protecting our parks and green spaces. The history of this city is especially important to me. As a current board member of the Katy Heritage Society, I will encourage local businesses to partner with the society to tell the story of our city’s history.



What will you do to keep the public informed about the progress of city projects, such as when changes are made to a timeline or when unexpected obstacles arise?



DW: I firmly believe that transparency and consistent communication are important traits of an elected official. If I am elected, I will continue to interact with the residents via social media and in person. I will encourage the city administrator to have city staff update residents on current projects. Being reachable and available is important to me. I give out my phone number regularly and I enjoy interacting with residents around town and at local events.










Dan Smith



Occupation: Territory senior manager


Experience: MBA with 20 years in business, customer service and leadership






What is the biggest issue facing the city of Katy, and how would you address it?



DS: It is critical that we take action over the next three to five years to ensure the city of Katy remains a great place to live for the next generation. All around our borders is Houston ETJ, which is rapidly growing without zoning restrictions or input from Katy. This growth impacts everyone.

We must focus on economic development to secure our small town charm and increase sales-tax revenue to fund city services including police, fire, EMS and flood mitigation while keeping property taxes low. I will bring my experience and passion for service to City Council to benefit all residents of Katy.



What could the city of Katy have done better during February's extreme winter storm and the subsequent power outages? If elected, what would you do to help prepare Katy for similar events in the future?



DS: First of all, it was inspiring and heartwarming to see our community pull together with people helping one another, sharing food and water, opening their homes as shelter, and showing real compassion for each other. This is Katy!

We need a list of elderly and at-risk residents to prioritize check-ins before, during, and after storms. While this storm was unlike others we have experienced, the community’s needs were similar to a hurricane – generators, fresh water, food, and shelter. On City Council, I will work with the mayor, staff, and emergency management office to help plan, communicate, and fulfill those needs.



How do you plan on balancing Katy's growth while preserving its history?



DS: This is one of my top priorities, and I encourage voters to see my full growth plan at www.DanSmithForKaty.com/issues. My plan includes support for the creation of an economic development coordinator role at City Hall, creation of an Economic Development Board for Katy residents, improving Katy’s reputation by fixing challenges in permitting, and more.

Most importantly, I strongly support managing growth in each area to benefit residents. We must prioritize a charming small town feel downtown, while also balancing quality commercial growth. This preserves Katy’s rich history while boosting sales-tax revenue that enables city services and low property taxes.



What will you do to keep the public informed about the progress of city projects, such as when changes are made to a timeline or when unexpected obstacles arise?



DS: I will work with the mayor, staff, and public information office to ensure they have the required resources and funds approved in the city budget to execute a comprehensive communication plan.


Residents who are engaged on social media are often kept aware of city projects through various pages and groups, but we need to ensure that no one is left behind. One strategy we could consider is adding to our existing communication methods such as KTAlerts to push more information directly to residents.

Ultimately, I believe that city government is about customer service, and you are the customer!


By Morgan Theophil
Morgan joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2021 as the reporter for the Katy edition. She graduated from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism in 2018.


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