Mayor reflects on 6 years of leadership
A Katy resident since 1945, Mayor Don Elder is passionate about his community and has a heavy heart as he finishes his final term in office. Because of City of Katy term limitations, Elder cannot run for re-election in May, but would have to wait one year.
Although he said he is not sure he will run again, he will continue being an involved citizen with various organizations.
"Because after you leave and try to come back it's not always like you left it, it's probably best to leave it—but I have enjoyed being mayor," he said. "I hope I have done some things that will help our community in the future."
Elder's resume is full of years spent in education and business experience, and he currently owns and operates Elder Consulting, a firm focused on helping school and governmental entities. He has acted as mayor for six years.
What led you to run for mayor?
It started after I was on the Katy ISD Board of Trustees and Harris County Department of Education Board for 16 years, and someone came to me and said, 'Why don't you run for City Council?' So I ran—and I won. After five years, someone else asked about me running for mayor. When asked why I would want to run for mayor, my thing is I have lived here in Katy since 1945, and I want to give back to my community. So I ran for mayor and was elected, and the next two terms I was unopposed. It's been a great experience.
Where would you like to see Katy grow?
I would like to see the community mesh on both sides of the freeway and update the older city part to mesh it with the newer area across the freeway [I-10]. We want to build a new City Hall and in the distant future demolish the current City Hall and in its place have a park where there can be outdoor entertainment. We have heard from people in Katy that the city never does anything with downtown, and that is not true. We shut down the streets for festivals and the Market Days, as well as the Christmas celebrations. We want to see that area grow. I want to see better care of the buildings, because some have holes in the floors and such, and the owners do not want to do anything. But eventually either they will need to make those improvements, or the city may have to enforce it.
What is your proudest accomplishment as mayor?
I am really proud of our improvement of drainage and infrastructure in the city. When you have prairie land, it's flat and you have problems with flooding. But the mayor is kind of the front guy, and the City Council is the one that gives him the ability to do certain things. It's not all about me. It's about what they do, too, and how they represent the city.
What has been your biggest challenge as mayor?
The challenge was to bring attention to and market the community. Some things I am really proud of that we have in the city now is the areas that have developed around the mall. I am proud of what we have brought in, and we overcame that challenge because people know where Katy is now.