The Race for City Hall

Ward B Council Position
Jessie G. Campbell:

Jessie Campbell

TKN: What position are you running for?
JGC: City Council, Ward B
TKN: What is your reason to run for this particular position?
JGC: It is about what I see and think when I drive home every day:
How does the new development affect my property values?
How does the growth in population affect my safety, commute, etc.?
When will that shopping complex get some tenants?
What happens if it doesn’t?
What is up with the recycling?
And in the last two years, “how do I get to work when both Morton Rd. and Franz/Ave. D flood during a heavy rain event?”
I am running for City Council for Ward B, because I am representing my every day concerns and those of my neighbors.
TKN: What is your education that you feel makes you qualified for this position?
JGC: I received my law degree from the University of School of Law in Austin in 2002. As a lawyer, I have learned how to investigate a situation or problem from every point-of-view and how to ask and answer the “what-if” questions. I also learned how to be solution-oriented when there is a problem. As a lawyer, my goal is to provide the best solution for my clients when there is a problem and to advocate for my client when they are pursuing their own goals. As a city councilmember, my client will be the City and its residents.
TKN: How long have you lived in Katy?
JGC: 13 years – I moved to Katy in 2004, though my family lived in Katy when I was child (from age 7 to 13). I have fond memories of my childhood in Katy, and I always knew that I would return. In fact, I even moved back into my childhood home.
TKN: What are some of the things that you think need to be changed in the running of the City of Katy?
JGC: Make important information available. When it comes to daily running of the City, one of the top priorities will be to make up-to-date information available. The City website is intended to be the first source of information, and it needs to be updated, frequently. When a person goes to the website, they should not have to search for information that is intended to be publicly available (such as Council Meetings, which has not been updated since August). When information is not readily available, it brings up questions about transparency. Social Media must be utilized in a more effective manner, especially during local events, which is one of the best means to share information quickly. And when the City does post content, it must be kept accurate and updated as needed.
TKN: What do you feel will be some of the challenges you will face in your campaign?
JGC: The biggest challenge will be voter awareness and turn-out. Non-presidential elections and, even more so, elections in May historically have low voter turn-out. I will do my best to meet as many of my neighbors to introduce myself and to share my vision for the City, but it will be a challenge.
TKN: What will be your running platform?
JGC: Smart Residential Growth that Protects Our Residents. As we make decisions about the City’s growth, we must fully study the current and expected outcomes. We must look at (1) are current developments performing as expected, (2) are there too many homes available for purchase, which can create a buyers’ market and hurt property values, (3) do we have the infrastructure for safety/services (flooding, first responders, road development), (4) if we do not have the infrastructure, do we have the means and ability to solve these concerns, and (5) how does it affect the charm that is Katy.
Smart Business Growth and Support. We must support our small business owners and be a partner in their success. We must also support the commercial developers that have already invested in Katy. We must look at (1) how to encourage new businesses to open ships within the city limits, (2) do we have the infrastructure for their growth, while ensuring quality of life in Katy, and (3) do we have a plan to support the growth of the Katy Boardwalk and other commercial developments in the surrounding areas, while protecting the small businesses already open within the city limits.
TKN: Who do you think will be your biggest competitor in this race?
JGC: I respect all of the candidates. Each candidate has his/her own skills and expertise, and we each have a distinct vision for the City. The voters will decide on which vision they most agree.
TKN: Are there any of the current City Projects that you would change and why?
JGC: Flooding! While the City is steadfast that that new residential developments are not a cause for recent flooding issues, it remains a great concern for the citizens of Katy. In fact, in a recent heavy rain event (not just the Tax Day Flood or 100/500/1000 year events), there was street flooding that made it difficult for residents to leave for work. As we grow, there must be an independent review of how those developments will cause any potential flooding issues – even if it is temporary. There must be absolute transparency on this review. While I am happy that City did establish the Flood Committee (which has not issued its findings yet), the City needs to take a stronger leadership role. It is clear the state will not lead in dealing with what they see as a regional problem. I strongly believe that the City needs to work with the surrounding counties and municipalities and either (1) create its own regional committee on flooding solutions or (2) to advocate for our citizens to our state leadership that it must create viable regional solutions. It is not just about convenience; it is also about public safety.
TKN: How do you feel about the Katy Boardwalk project?
JGC: The Katy Boardwalk Project is approved and ground has been broken. The designs are beautiful, and I believe that it will be a good thing for Katy in the long run. For me, it is about making sure that we build the foundation for its success while protecting the charm of Katy. For example, while I read about road construction, I do not see any real discussion about how to handle the new, increase traffic. Even now, on sales tax free day or a beautiful weekend when Typhoon Texas Waterpark is busy, it can take up to 30 minutes just to exit into the Katy area.
TKN: Are you married and do you have children and grandchildren?
JGC: I am in a committed relationship with my boyfriend, James, and I have a senior dachshund/corgi mix, Ronny.
TKN: Do you feel that the position you are running for will interfere with your current job?
JGC: I am fortunate that my current job offers me great flexibility. I have previously balanced my work with other professional or educational responsibilities, all with great success. I expect that to continue as I serve on the City Council.
TKN: Do you have ideas & plans for the future of Katy?
JGC: The City is moving forward as a regional destination city, and it continues to be a great place to live. I want to be sure that as we grow, we do so smartly, and we keep the charm of Katy – the charm that created my fond childhood memories and that makes me and others want to live here as an adult. I want to be sure that Katy stays Katy, and not look like every other municipality with strip-upon-strip of big box stores simply because it brings in sales tax revenue. As we move forward as a “convention city,” I want to support our small business owners, giving them the opportunity to shine so that visitors will enjoy visiting Katy *now* and in 8-10 years and beyond. I want to invite different types of conventions/shows – we have great gift markets and home & garden shows, but where are our car, recreation, antique shows? I want to encourage experience-based businesses and organizations, such as the arts, entertainment, and unique restaurants. My plans for the future of Katy is to maintain and grow the Charm of Katy, making our residents happy to come home and our visitors sad to leave.