The biggest challenge facing Williamson County is always our growth. Growth affects every single aspect of our community. It impacts our residents, county employees, every county department, schools, local businesses, municipalities, and our budget.
I’m available via phone, text, and email which is shared on the County’s website and on my campaign site.
Retaining and recruiting quality teachers and school staff is the most significant challenge facing WCS
Law Enforcement/Public Safety
The number one issue facing Williamson County continues to be our incredible growth. It is understandable that so many people want to come and enjoy what we all know to be one of the best places to live in America - boasting one of the country’s best school systems. With growth comes demands on our infrastructure. My colleagues on the commission and myself have already been working hard to adapt to our growth and continuing to maintain our AAA bond rating. As good as we have done and despite all that we have accomplished, traffic continues to be a challenge for our residents. This is one area where I believe we can do better. I will endeavor to help improve transportation concerns in Williamson County.
I encourage all of my constituents to call or email me at anytime with questions and concerns. Additionally, I will be active and transparent within the community, continuing to provide strong representation throughout District 10.
Growth not only creates challenges on our roads, but for our schools as well. My fellow commissioners and I are responsible for managing a county budget of over $650M, of which more than 65% goes to ensuring we continue to be a high-performing school system that serves our growing community. We are currently in the process of building our 51st and 52nd county schools. I am proud to say that we recently approved a 3% pay increase for our teachers, who have worked hard to educate our children through the many challenges of the past couple of years. I don’t believe we should stop there and will continue to advocate for additional increases to support our teachers.
The number one role of government is ensuring the welfare and safety of our residents. Therefore, a critical budget item - beyond properly funding schools - is supporting public safety initiatives. For example, we recently provided pay increases for our law enforcement and first responders and completed the construction of a state-of-the-art public safety building. We are now in the process of building a new Juvenile Jails and Justice facility to better serve our community. As with our teachers, I will continue to advocate for competitive wages that reflect the value of those that protect and serve our community.
Williamson County is a model for economic development across the country, with Fortune 500’s and new businesses making relocation announcements almost daily. We certainly welcome new jobs and investments, but we have got to be more thoughtful and responsible when it comes to managing our growth. This includes critical investments in schools, roads, sewer and public greenspace. As one of the fastest-growing counties in America, we have got to make critical infrastructure decisions that put us on a sustainable path forward. This work includes tough conversations about the under-served and marginalized communities.
When I'm elected, I will meet my constituents where they are: in person, online, on the phone, via social media or carrier pigeon. I'm an operation and logistics expert and communicate for a living so this is just part of what I do all day long. I will have a monthly newsletter along with office hours and will make myself available to serve Williamson County in the most transparent way possible.
As a public school parent, I am a proud and vocal advocate for Williamson County Schools. Families move here because of the great quality of life, and the excellent public education we provide our children. Our schools are one of the main reasons businesses choose to relocate to our community. While the County Commission does not have authority over school funding formulas and curricula, the governing body does have the responsibility to put the right infrastructure in place to ensure the long-term success of our schools. Our children and teachers deserve a system that is fully funded and a county commission that remains focused on this economic driver. We need to increase funding and improve teacher salaries and benefits.
The county budget is comprised of 2 main areas: operational and capital (schools, jails, courthouse etc). The majority of our debt comes by way of capital investments and with our AAA bond rating, we are not paying in cash but rather through the market with bonds. 70% of our budget goes to public schools and I'd offer up that we need more money to go directly to teacher salaries and benefits. The remaining budget is essentially payroll, covering the salaries of elected officers and staff and we must continue to pay a living wage and adjust for inflation and cost of living.
The biggest challenge is maintaining local control over local affairs. I want local government to work for all countians, no matter who you are, what you look like, where in the county you live, or who you love, or how you pray. It is necessary to have working relationships with our state and federal legislators, but countians do not want corrupt agendas from outside our community determining the balance between our needs and revenue collections. Residents want an end to national special interest groups and PACs who support immoral politicians stealing your tax money for self-enrichment schemes. Effective government is not intrusive, oppressive, or wasteful. We must not let extreme ideology get in the way of solving problems.
Commission and other county agency meetings are televised on Williamson County TV, allowing constituents to witness their officials in the decision-making process. In addition, social media and dedicated email, neighborhood listservs, constituent meet-and-greets, letters to the editor or op-ed columns in county newspapers (print and electronic), are other methods of communicating county business. Of course, constituents can reach out through telephone calls, emails, or letters, or better yet, attend (or view) meetings of local government agencies to stay informed. Commissioners should push back on bad faith arguments or deliberate misinformation from residents, and from state and federal officials seeking to override local control.
The greatest challenge is the state's extreme school privatization agenda, taking away public money from our county and handing it over to private entities, e.g., vouchers and charter schools. The state's Charter Commission can already override local decisions concerning state-funded private schools; proposed state legislation allows real-estate grabs of public buildings at a reduced rate for charters. Because of this and other proposed legislation, Wilco residents could see their property taxes explode in four or five years. We must fully-fund our schools from all revenue sources permitted under the state constitution and law, and using private-public partnerships where appropriate. We deserve best practices in health and safety policies.
Countians are concerned about available infrastructure, especially inadequate roads and increased traffic; plus, environmental problems created by building on flood plains, construction run-off, and toxic heavy metal pollution of our water, air, and soil. Funding infrastructure before development, and adhering to a robust zoning approval process that complies with the county comprehensive land use plan is necessary. Growth cannot and should not be stopped; it should be regulated. The budget is not a zero-sum game, but a problem of allocation, how taxes and fees are assessed and distributed. County debt is under control, evidenced by its Triple AAA bond rating. Ongoing capital requests, especially for jails and courts, drive budget planning.