Katy City Council Candidate Q&A: Chris Harris

By George Slaughter

Chris Harris (photo courtesy Chris Harris)

Chris Harris is an analyst with the U.S. Department of Justice and is making his first bid for elected office. He is facing businessman and former council member Larry Gore for the Katy City Council at-large seat. The incumbent, Steve Pierson, is stepping down due to term limits.

For polling times and places, including absentee voting information, see the city’s election page.

1. Why do you want this job?

There is a need on city council for a new voice, one that will speak for our citizens’ quality of life and why we all stayed or live in the City of Katy. I have the experience and knowledge to represent the citizens of Katy on city council, and I believe my vision of Katy as our small town within a growing area is achievable. I am active in all aspects of the community and serve in church, school, and city capacities. I have the right experience to fight for Katy families, and in time turn a better town over to the next generation of Katy’s leaders.

2. If elected, what would your top three priorities be, and why?

Flood mitigation is top priority. I serve on the Katy Development Authority and we have been heavily involved in providing resources to the city to provide the necessary drainage improvements that are actually benefitting the city. Also, as president of our neighborhood HOA, I have worked with the board and neighbors to improve our retention ability within our neighborhood. City services are my second priority. A customer service-oriented approach to city government is essential to the small-town feel of Katy, and I am committed to addressing the garbage service issue. Also, with my 20-year background in public safety, part of that priority is police, EMS, and fire departments. We must require that our emergency services are adequately staffed and trained to respond to emergencies. Also, the police department must be sufficiently sized to meet our growing geographical reach. Third priority is addressing our residential/commercial zoning and providing really smart growth strategies for our city that do not change established neighborhoods into flood-prone and traffic quagmires. We have an opportunity to update our zoning ordinances within the city limits to benefit all citizens.

3. Would you encourage citizens to vote for or against the bond proposal, and why?

I will be voting YES on each proposition for the bonds. Proposition A and Proposition B are necessary to solve some flooding issues in our older neighborhoods. Our older neighborhoods have made Katy a great place to live and these areas need our attention to bring the drainage and streets up to current standards. We do not want these established Katy families to leave our community because of flooding. I want to create a volunteer citizen bond review committee that will have the responsibility to receive information and advise the city of the bond improvement progress. Proposition C will enhance our waterworks and sanitary sewer system; Katy is an older city and the infrastructure needs are paramount to each area. I will support raising the flood mitigation and retention standard within the city limits. This is to the benefit of all our residents.

4. Is Katy handling growth properly? If yes, why? If no, how would you, if elected, change that?

The City of Katy has handled the growth well, but we can do better. This election is very important; we must elect persons who will respect the historical nature of the heart of Katy. We need a thriving downtown, quiet neighborhoods, and commercial and entertainment at our fingertips. Converting your quiet streets into busy commercial generic strip centers is not on my agenda. I will be fighting for your quality of life. Keeping your residential street residential, extending sidewalks and areas for families and seniors to access is on my agenda. I want to bring family-oriented festivals and events and quality commercial businesses to our downtown that showcase our hometown pride. We, as a community and local government, must support our downtown and its businesses. Creating a heavy truck route around downtown Katy to reduce heavy traffic and requiring roadway mobility prior to development are issues that can be solved. I am on the Katy Development Authority and support our developers and commercial growth in appropriately zoned areas. Also, I volunteer and serve with the Katy Prairie Conservancy and know the benefit of supporting our historical open lands and greenspace that we all enjoy as part of our community.

5. Is there anything else about your candidacy that Katy News readers should know?

I am a conservative and support term-limits and tax reductions. I will be your fresh new voice with the right experience and vision for the town to represent you on Katy City Council. I am your neighbor and my concerns are the same as yours. My wife grew up in Katy, and I respect our historical city. I want to be your council member that you see at church, at the local store, and at the football games and out in our community that you turn to for assistance and information. My number will be public and I want to hear from you the citizen. I will be distinctly approachable and I pledge to work each day for you.