Round Rock native talks public office
Will Peckham, owner of Round Rock Travel & Cruises, was elected to the Round Rock City Council Place 4 seat after he defeated incumbent Carlos Salinas in the May 10 election. Peckham spent his youth in Round Rock and graduated from Texas A&M University in the early '90s. He has raised a family in Round Rock with his his wife, Nikki, since returning. Prior to the May 10 election, Peckham served on the city's Ethics Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission. Peckham was also a member of the nine-member 2013 Bond Advisory Committee, which was appointed by the Williamson County Commissioners Court to review road and park projects and recommend a list of priorities for a bond election, which was held in November. On Nov. 5 voters approved four bond propositions for infrastructure improvements totaling $123.6 million.
You are a Round Rock native. For readers who might be new to the area, can you share your Round Rock roots?
My parents purchased Round Rock Travel & Cruises in 1983; it's been around since 1981. [The business was] in downtown Round Rock to begin with and then outgrew that space. We've been in our current space [on Round Rock Avenue] since about 1986 or '87. I grew up around here eating Round Rock Donuts as a kid. [It is a] great town to grow up in.
As a small-business owner, how did that experience prepare you for a future in city government?
A lot of it is just like anything else. You've got to run budgets. You've got to make some tough decisions sometimes because you don't have unlimited funds. I think that's the biggest part—and also understanding that you've got employees and your decisions have ramifications.
Some political figures start in city government with the intention of moving up the political ladder. Is that your goal?
No—this goes back to a real simple answer: My parents always told us that we should give back to our communities. This is just another way for me to help and give back to our community. I think I can serve and help out and be receptive to our citizens like a lot of the council are.
What did you learn from your experiences on the Planning and Zoning and Ethics Commissions?
With ethics, you're working on ethics ordinances; but planning and zoning is really a lot of the nuts and bolts of the city. You're looking at the general plan, you're looking at plats, zoning, how businesses come in—does it fit our city? So I think they're really good ways to learn about your city. Whether you're going to be in city politics or not, [serving on a commission is] a great way to learn about your city.
What are some of the issues that crop up for the ethics commission?
I'll go back to when I was vice chairman of that [commission]. We had [Place 5 Councilman] John Moman—when he first got elected—he came before our commission and was asking some questions about how he could do his professional work within the city limits, and we had to look at the ordinance and give an answer. We also reviewed the ethics ordinance for the city.