Why did you decide to run for Richardson City Council?
JC: I want to give back to the city that gave me so much growing up. The values I learned from my Boy Scout troop leaders, my teachers and my neighbors were a positive force on me. It is the kind of experience you only get growing up in a community like Richardson. I am at a point in my life and career where I can dedicate the immense amount of time this role requires, and I have the experience and passion to be a productive addition the team that is City Council. I am ready to serve.
How has your experience—personal or professional—prepared you for this role?
JC: The greatest qualification for City Council is a desire to serve other people. If you don’t wake up every day with a passion to volunteer, you have no business being in this position. I have plenty of volunteer experience both in major decision-making roles and on the ground at established organizations like the United Way and the Network of Community Ministries. Whether it has been through organized activities at church or spontaneous tasks, like patching a neighbor’s wall, I have always felt most purposeful when helping someone besides myself.
Aside from my drive to serve, I hold two master’s degrees in business and have six years working in corporate compliance. I especially think my experience at a fast-growing startup company that went public will allow me to bring a unique and helpful perspective to council as Richardson works to develop the Innovation Quarter. On the flip side, I currently audit processes for a Fortune 500 company. If you’ve tuned into City Council work-sessions, you’ll notice that the ability to dig deep and ask good questions is a critical skill for any city councilman.
What are some of the biggest issues facing Richardson today, and how do you plan to address them if elected?
JC: Infrastructure is the name of the game. In preparation for this campaign, I’ve watched every City Council meeting and work session for the past year and a half, every budget workshop for the past three years, and read hundreds of pages of zoning documents. The one major takeaway is that we must look at different ways get ahead of aging infrastructure. We set aside tax revenue and issue debt to repair streets already in poor condition. I’d like to take a triage approach as well and give city staff the flexibility to make fast and lasting repairs to potholes as they spring up. That way, we prevent our streets currently in good condition from deteriorating and will, over time, come out ahead.
Another issue is that COVID-19 has caused serious hardship for our local businesses. I am absolutely committed to trying out innovative ways to promote our small businesses to the wider Dallas-Fort Worth population, such as designated nights for different regions of town and specialized branding. I’d also like to ensure that the city has a small business emergency relief plan in place should something like COVID-19 ever happen again.
With the financial challenges imposed by COVID-19 and Senate Bill 2 in mind, what would be your approach to building the city’s budget?
JC: We need to return our focus to the basics for the 2021-2022 budget. That means prioritizing public safety, infrastructure and parks. We also need to pay close attention to what we call “operations and maintenance” costs when approving new programs and ramping old ones back up. With a new bond package set to be put to voters later this year, it is imperative we don’t strain our future budgets with new programs that have a large overhead.
Eventually, I would like to structure our budgets so that we move away from issuing short-term debt to pay for certain recurring costs. COVID-19 and SB2 have made that vision more difficult to achieve, but I still think reducing our reliance on debt for things like major equipment purchases is a worthwhile long-term goal.
What else should voters know about you?
JC: I’ve set a relentless pace for myself knocking on doors, meeting people and studying the decisions past councils have made because I want to be able hit the ground running when I am elected. I don’t plan on stopping once I’m elected. We’re going to take this energy and apply it to solving the issues that matter. I encourage voters to please call, email or text me with any questions or top concerns they have—I welcome the opportunity to earn their votes and trust.