Voters Guide: Elections in Arlington

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 29, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Arlington

Chris "Dobi" Dobson

Office sought: City Council, District 6

Age: 35

Occupation and/or main source of income: Massage Therapist

City: Arlington

Campaign phone number: 817-602-6061

Campaign contact person other than yourself: Ellie Hernandez - 9158200638

Your campaign email address: Dobi@votedobi.com

Website: votedobi.com

Education background, including all degrees: Bachelor of Science in political science, minor in history from TCU, 2002; MPA — focus on financial management and economic development, expected completion Dec. 2014

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: I'm currently a volunteer coach for Nallball, I've run for numerous offices and applied to be involved in both AISD and city boards. I've spoken at council meetings and organized people to help ensure their voices can be heard.

Explain how your background, skills and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this office.

My most redeeming factor is I don't think I'm right about everything. I will endeavor to be the most available and receptive council person to the ideas, complaints, and compliments the residents of Arlington have about their city. Having ran for office for a few years I'm aware of the lack of involvement of 97 percent of the population. My education has provided me with the ability to see issues both from the side of the resident and a city planner, providing me with a unique perspective to solve disputes in new and innovative ways. I want more resident participation, please.

Outline the three most critical problems facing the public office you are seeking and the solutions you propose to address them.

1. We have little resident involvement — I will provide 5 to 10 hours a week for residents to speak with me. I've fashioned my campaign after a band tour to engage with millennials — The Hate and Ennui Tour 2. Arlington is not business friendly due to an onerous fee schedule — I'll simplify the process, for business and homeowners, including a waiver for improvements to insure growth and maintenance 3. The city council is out of touch and entitled — contradicting the Planning and Zoning commission, luxury box ticket use, violations of campaign rules, disparaging resident involvement at council meetings. I plan to encourage, be available, and to listen.

Robert P. Shepard

Office sought: City Council, District 6

Age: 55

Occupation and/or main source of income: Attorney

City: Arlington

Campaign phone number: (817) 307-1404

Campaign contact person other than yourself: None

Your campaign email address: N/A

Website: N/A

Education background, including all degrees: BBA University of Texas at Arlington – 1980; JD Saint Mary’s University – 1983

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Arlington City Council – District 6; Deputy Mayor Pro-Tempore, 1999 Citizens Bond Election Committee, 1999 Central Sector Leadership Committee, Arlington Public Library Board (1998 – 2001), 2000 Arlington Subdivision Rewrite Committee, Arlington Planning and Zoning Commission (2001 – 2007)(Chair – 2004 – 2007), 2007 Arlington Impact Fee Stakeholder Group, 2007 City of Arlington Volunteer of the Year, and AISD Futures 2010 Boundary Committee

Explain how your background, skills and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this office.

My legal background, 17 plus years of civic involvement (including serving on the Arlington City Council for the past six years) and experience in running a small business make me the most qualified candidate in this race and most prepares me to serve in this office.

Outline the three most critical problems facing the public office you are seeking and the solutions you propose to address them.

(1) Public Safety — Arlington needs to continue to ensure the safety of its residents by being proactive in responsibly addressing the needs of public safety officials. I will continue to work with the city’s public safety officials to ensure that they have the resources they need to properly address any public safety issues.

(2) Transportation Infrastructure — Arlington must continue to work to ensure that the streets in the city are upgraded and/or maintained so that the current state of our transportation infrastructure is improved. I will continue my past efforts to allocate sufficient resources to our transportation infrastructure needs.

(3) Improve Residential and Commercial Tax Base — The quality of the residential and commercial tax base (both new development and redevelopment) should be improved so that such additions do not unduly burden the existing tax base and adversely affect the city’s economy. I will continue to seek out innovative methods to encourage additional investment in the City of Arlington so that the tax base will continue to grow.

Jimmy Ray Bennett

Office Sought: City Council, District 7

Age: 53

Occupation and/or main source of income: CPA

Campaign phone number: 817.919.1917

Campaign Contact person other than yourself: None

Campaign email address: jbennett@bencpa.com

Website: vote.jimmybennett.com

Education: BBA University of Texas at Austin, Accounting, 1984

Highlights of current and past civic involvement: Current: Arlington City Council Member elected in 2008; chair of the Economic Development Committee, member of Fiscal Policy Committee, member of Arlington Housing Finance Corporation, member of Arlington Tomorrow Foundation Board, member of Tarrant Regional Water District Advisory Committee, board member of Texas Municipal League. Civic involvement includes: board vice-president of Arlington Boys and Girls Club, member of Arlington Chamber of Commerce, member of Arlington Life Shelter Advisory Committee, member of Apartment Association of Tarrant County and member of Texas Society of CPAs-Fort Worth Chapter. Past: board member of Arlington Zoning Board of Adjustment, executive committee member of Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Arlington Human Service Planners Children Priorities Committee member and Homeless Youth Task Force member, board member and vice-chair of the Arlington Museum of Art, board member, audit of the committee chair and treasurer of Girl Scouts of Texas-Oklahoma-Plains, 2007 board member of the year for Arlington Boys and Girls Club, 2013 honored philanthropic volunteer for Girls Scouts of Texas-Oklahoma-Plains.

Explain how your background, skills and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this office.

In the six years I have served on City Council, we have had a number of successes in Arlington and enjoyed many positive in the community. Decisions have been made by council, and while not always popular or even as successful as planned at times, we have achieved unparalleled financial stability and growth despite very challenging economic circumstances. My business, professional and civic involvement experience has given me the skills and ability to continue carrying out the responsibilities of council member. I am respected in the community for being a statesman leader, diligent, open minded, creative, of high character and one who listens. But more needs to be done in Arlington and the city needs individuals like myself to move us toward our bright future.

Outline the three most critical problems facing the public office you are seeking and the solutions you propose to address them.

1. Property redevelopment, both commercial and residential. I recently began a city-wide initiative along with primary stakeholders to look for the best financial options the city can use. As a result, this has become a city council priority resulting in several recent successes in redeveloping decaying properties. 2) Reducing backlog of various infrastructure needs throughout the city. I am currently working with city budget personnel to help establish priority projects as the city begins to experience expanding financial capacity. 3) Attract higher paying jobs to Arlington with increased emphasis on partnering with Univeristy of Texas at Arlington, the business community, along with strategic pursuit of companies. I am proposing a new business incubator program partnering with UT Arlington to leverage their strengths and talents along with those in our city with strong entrepreneurial aspirations.

Gerald Kern

Office sought: City Council, District 7

Age: 38

Occupation and/or main source of income: Small business owner and spouse is a medical/surgical nurse

City: Arlington

Campaign phone number: 817 468 5838

Campaign contact person other than yourself: Matthew Sparks 214-242-6444

Your campaign email address: geraldkern@KernForTexas.com

Web site: https://www.facebook.com/GeraldKernForTexas

Education background, including all degrees: Studied business at the University of Texas Arlington; United States Army Military Intelligence School - Military Intelligence Analyst; Army Medical Department of the U.S. Army - Psychiatric Specialist; Formerly held: Series 7 General Securities Representative License; Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law; Group 1 Life and Health Insurance License

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: First Asian American Solider of the Year for the State of Texas awarded during a joint session of legislature by then Gov. Bush; Vice President of the Texas Asian Republican Assembly; Governor's Advisory Board of the Aidmatrix Foundation.

Foundation facilitates the annual donations of relief aid valued at over $1.5 billion a year to over 52,000 non profits globally. Foundation saved Mission Arlington Clinic about $3 million in medical supplies; food bank partners 50 million pounds per month to food bank agencies around the world; has moved over $50 million in medical supplies to nonprofit clinics and bridged $8 to $12 million worth of resources from high-tech corporate donors to create high-tech vocational training programs for high schools. The Foundation has partnered with major companies to help veterans returning the to civilian workforce; have saved local Texas foodbanks the equivalent of over 65,000 meals in lower transportation costs; facilitated donations of nearly $500,000 worth of dog food to shelters; and $165,327 worth of food to various Texas animal shelters.

Pathways Foundation works with the families of soldiers with PTSD, caregivers of cancer patients, and families of at risk teenagers.

James Burton Foundation works with Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famer and multi-Grammy winner James Burton. It focuses on providing instruments, music/life mentorship, world class studio time to children and young adults of those in need. It involves some of the most iconic entertainers and instrument makers lending their behind the scenes support to help schools, hospitals, and other organizations to keep music alive for kids.

Explain how your background, skills and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this office.

I am well rounded in business development, venture capital, sports/entertainment, and logistics. I provide innovative solutions, I'm a strong negotiator who thinks outside of the box, and I know how to effectively connect and communicate to a broad range of citizens.

Outline the three most critical problems facing the public office you are seeking and the solutions you propose to address them.

Arlington is not a competitive city to attracting major high-paying employers and our city leadership dynamics needs to look at the negative regulatory atmosphere we create. We are hemorrhaging high-paid, skilled jobs and replacing them with entry-level, low-wage employers.

Our local roads repairs are years behind schedule, they need to take a higher priority, they have to be built to last and not just by the lowest bidder, which will need to be redone again prematurely.

Our city gives out tax breaks without requiring an element of a vocational training requirement. Opening vocational training opportunities to AISD students, military veterans, and displaced skilled local workers is key to increase our local workforce potential.

Arlington ISD

Bridgett Davis

Office sought: Board of Trustees, Place 7

Age: 54

Occupation and/or main source of income : Retired Educator

City: Arlington

Campaign phone number: 817-271-5073

Campaign contact person other than yourself: James Davis

Your campaign email address: electbridgettdavis@gmail.com

Web site: www.electbridgettdavis.webs.com

Education background, including all degrees: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice/Corrections - Bethune-Cookman University – 1980; Master of Arts in Elementary Education – Fayetteville State University - 1992

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Member of the Beta Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Member of The Claude R. Platte D/FW Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc.; Created/Chaired 1st Annual Black History Month Program at Martin High School; Organized the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Annual Black History Month Program for Martin High School; Coordinated Sam Houston High School, Arlington High School, and Juan Seguin High Schools planning of their 1st Annual Black History Month Celebrations/Programs; Organized/Co-Hosted the 8th Annual Arlington ISD Back-to-School Drive; Co-Organized 1st Annual Cesar Chavez Parade in Arlington; Served on the Site-Based Decision-Making Committee (SBDM) for Boles Junior High, Young Junior High, & Martin High School; Served on the 30th Anniversary Planning Committee for Martin High School; Organized local Petition Drive & Traveled to Austin to Advocate against Proposed Budget Cuts to Arlington ISD; Testified before State of Texas Appropriations Committee; Received Invitation from State Representative Helen Giddings to attend annual Texas State Black Caucus Meeting; Participated in the 3-Year Strategic Planning Community Forum for Arlington ISD hosted by Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos; Participated in the annual Arlington ISD School Board Community Protest to Name the “Un-Named” May 5th School Vacation Day after Cesar Chavez;

Explain how your background, skills and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this office.

As a retired educator with more than 20 years of classroom teaching experience (Dept. of Defense, Fort Worth ISD, & Charter), I have dedicated myself to the education of all children. From site-based meetings to Back-to-School Bashes, I have been on the front lines of education in Arlington every since we enrolled our oldest daughter in AISD 18 years ago. Unlike my opponent, I live in Arlington and own a home here.

As a parent of honor students that matriculated through AISD, every child should get the education that my husband and I fought to ensure that our daughters received.

In 100 words or less, please outline the three most critical problems facing the public office you are seeking and the solutions you propose to address them.

Close Achievement Gap – AISD is a Majority-Minority school district educating 64,000 students (39 percent Hispanic, 28 percent White, 24 percent African-American, & 7 percent Asian). Conversely, AISD staff consists of 78 percent White, 10 percent African-American, 9 percent Hispanic, & 1 percent Asian respectively. AISD should put forth a “new” Mission Statement that reflects its commitment to Diversity.

Cultivate Respectful Collaboration w/ Parents – AISD should institute a Districtwide Ombudsman program to advocate on behalf of parents and students. The AISD Grievance policy is harrowing to the point of exhaustion.

Promote Diversity & Inclusion – End nepotism, political appointments, and legacy hiring practices and hire best candidates.

Kecia Mays

Office sought: Board of Trustees, Place 7

Age: 45

Occupation and/or main source of income: Auditor with the State of Texas Comptroller

City: Grand Prairie

Campaign phone number: 972-814-3098

Campaign contact person other than yourself: Treasurer Laura Jones 817-266-9623

Your campaign email address: keciaforarlington@gmail.com

Web site: keciaforarlington.com

Education background, including all degrees: BBA Accounting from Texas A&M University

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Big Sister for seven years with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dallas; Executive Board of Dallas Urban League Guild for four years; Capital Need Steering Committee member for AISD, 2014; Citizens Bond Oversight Committee for AISD, 2010-2012; Bond Advisory Committee member, 2009; Financial Futures Committee member 2008-2009, 2011-2014; Citizens Advisory Committee member, 2009-2010; District Level Instructional Decision-Making Committee member, 2011-present; Bowie High School Site Base Committee , 2012-2013; AISD Insiders member of 2011-2012 class; Texas PTA Area 18, Field Service Representative, 2008-present; Arlington Council of PTAs board member, 2007-present; Bowie High School PTSA board member, 2012 - present; Barnett Junior High School PTA board member, 2010-present; Farrell Elementary PTA board member, 2003-2008. Arlington Council of PTAs: Executive Board 2007 to Present; Citizens for Arlington PAC member, 2009; Board of Director for Arlington ISD Education Foundation, Dream Weaver Foundation and Texas A&M Black Former Student Network.

Explain how your background, skills and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this office.

My background in accounting and employment as an auditor for the Texas Comptroller allow for daily interactions with budgets, internal controls, compliance review, and use of interpersonal skills. These experiences will enhance my role as a Trustee, whose job is to: create policy and procedures for a district with a $600 million budget, follow State and Federal Compliance rules, oversee the welfare of 8,000 employees and 64,000 students. I led successfully the oversight of the 2009 $197.5 million bond package as the appointed Chairperson of the first Bond Oversight Committee. I have chaired effectively various district wide committees impacting constituents of AISD.

Outline the three most critical problems facing the public office you are seeking and the solutions you propose to address them.

Building on the momentum of the current strategic plan by extending the 3-year plan to a 5-year plan based on its initial success. Create initiatives to accelerate student achievement by being proactive, starting with Pre-K to help close the current gaps. Successfully implement strategies of the strategic plan, such as the student Discipline Management System and Parental Involvement. These are areas that need strict and timely attention since they impact the ability to learn and teach in the classroom, as well as foster support at home and in the community.

Arlington bond

Arlington's $663.1 million bond package includes two new elementaries, four districtwide centers, multipurpose activity centers for each high school, transportation and security upgrades. The “all or nothing” bond package will appear in the form of one proposition for the 65,000 student district.

If approved, the maximum tax hike would take place from 2016-2020, at 15 cents, or $126 a year for a homeowner with property valued at $100,000, Chief Financial Officer Cindy Powell said.

Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984 chirst@star-telegram.com

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