Keller Citizen

Three residents challenge incumbents on Keller Council

Stephanie Setzer
Stephanie Setzer

Five candidates -- including two incumbents -- are vying for two expiring Keller City Council seats in the May 9 election.

Here is a look at the candidates and their platforms.

PLACE 1

Debbie Bryan, 48, City Councilwoman since 2013:

Bryan, who has been on Council for nearly two years, said she wants to “keep Keller moving upward.”

“We live in one of the greatest cities in the country so it's a privilege and an honor for me to continue to serve my fellow Keller citizens, who have entrusted me as their voice at city hall,” Bryan said. “Keller's future is bright. I am a proven leader who will always put our homeowners' interests first, partner with our local businesses and community to build our economy and ensure that all of our decisions are based on what's best for Keller long term.”

Bryan said the most important piece of her platform is her “unwavering commitment to keeping the interests of our homeowners first and protecting the integrity, character, and assets of our hometown.”

Stephanie Setzer, 43, accountant:

Setzer, a CPA with nearly 20 years accounting experience, said she represents “independent, forward thinking with a clear vision for our city.”

“Keller needs leadership with a solid understanding of city finances to guide us to financial sustainability and renewed progress,” Setzer said.

Setzer believes that Keller residents “must put aside partisan politics, create a shared vision and invest in ourselves.”

“As Keller transitions from growth to maturity, it is critical to our ongoing success as a community that we add and develop park land, address our infrastructure needs and create a wonderful cityscape,” she said. “This will serve to preserve our scenic, natural beauty and provide the structure needed to attract quality development. However, none of this will be possible without a clear vision and sound planning to achieve our goals and provide sustainability for decades to come.”

Mitch Holmes, 56, civil engineer (City Councilman from 2003-2011):

Holmes believes some City Council members are “dividing our town.”

“I’m running for City Council to bring adult leadership back to Keller City Council,” Holmes said. “There are 42,000 of us represented by the votes of just seven, so there will be disagreement. My vision is to put dialogue back into the public square, where all seven of us will hear all 42,000 of you.”

Holmes brought up plans for streets and thoroughfares, plans for parks and trails, plans for current and future land use, saying they weren’t developed by council members, but by Keller residents.

“When council members shelve our plans, as they did recently when they rejected a gift of 35 wooded acres worth $2 million, they are disregarding our voices,” he said. “Using our master plans as my guide, I will lead a cohesive culture, unified in its direction, and build an attractive business environment.”

PLACE 2

Armin Mizani won a runoff in the special election in December to fill the Place 2 seat because Former Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reaves was leaving early to pursue “significant professional opportunities.” Mizani came out ahead of Chris Whatley in the runoff.

Whatley filed to run in this election, but withdrew his application and threw his support behind Bill Heydenburk.

Armin Mizani, 27, attorney, City Councilman since 2015:

Mizani said in his short time on Council, he continues to “work on the issues that matter most to Keller families: responsible development, transparency and accountability, a lower dependency on property taxes and fiscal responsibility.”

“We cannot continue ... to rely too heavily on residential property taxes,” Mizani said. “We need frequent and open discussions with our existing business community while proactively recruiting and targeting the type of establishments our citizens seek. Additionally, I strongly support initiatives aimed at continuing to improve our parks and trail system, preserve history, and celebrate all that Keller has to offer.”

Mizani also referred to some Town Hall events and “Idearaisers” he’s hosted to hear residents’ ideas and suggestions.

“If elected, I will continue being a strong advocate for transparency and citizen participation,” he said.

Bill Heydenburk, 65, retired airline pilot:

Heydenburk said he wants to keep Keller the same city that attracted him and his wife to town almost nine years ago. He said he recently retired, and now has “the time to give back to my chosen hometown.”

“My vision for Keller is to attract good quality businesses to both serve our citizens and provide a better balance between the city’s residential and commercial revenues,” said Heydenburk, an active duty military retiree.

Heydenburk said he will “represent all Keller citizens,” and he and is wife “love the character of Keller.”

“I believe that variance requests to the current zoning and Future Land Use Plan must be considered carefully before being approved,” he said. “The current residents must be heard before irreversible decisions are made.”

EARLY VOTING

Early voting runs from April 27 - May 5.

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