This past Tuesday, four candidates for Waxahachie City Council and two incumbent candidates for WISD school board, one of them unopposed, attended a highly informative forum at the Fine Arts Center on the campus of Coleman Jr. High. As mentioned last week, two candidates for city council, Olson and Christenson, chose to stay home and hide in the closet. A third candidate for school board, Amy Hedtke, notified forum sponsors around 3pm the day of the forum that she wouldn’t be able to attend due to a personal situation with a friend. Although disrespectful to constituents, no one was surprised that Olson and Christenson chose to abandon the forum ... and you. Truth is, a candidate apathetic and fearful enough to pass on an opportunity to speak to voters is a candidate unworthy of your vote.
Those running for council who did appear were Mayor David Hill, former Mayor and current councilmember Kevin Strength, former longtime Economic Development Director for the city, Doug Barnes, and a quality newcomer, Patrick Souter. All four men were open, honest and eager to share their desire to serve on city council. Given my working relationship with Hill, Strength and Barnes, I know each to be a man of high character and exceptional talent. They are also genuine public servants. With respect to Souter, I’m in the early stages of learning more about the candidate but like what I’ve seen so far. With a sincere attitude and authentic approach, Souter, as I see it, has a future in city politics should he want one. He and I talked specifically about that in a recent meeting at the Sun and I was encouraged.
That said, given the importance of city council and those serving on it, I strongly believe voters would be wise to elect Hill, Strength and Barnes for city council on November 3. All three have worked diligently for many years to bring this city to its current level of success. They also spend countless hours with constituents, city staff and companies that see Waxahachie as well-suited for relocation, growth, and new development. All three are extraordinary men who personify attributes you, the people of Waxahachie, need and deserve. Regarding Mr. Souter, as he and I discussed in that same meeting at the Sun, he is well-suited, in my view, to run for council in the spring when the next election takes place. My likely support of Souter is simply a timing issue that, should he run again, would trigger as the election cycle of 2021 begins. Of course, that’s if current members Chuck Beatty or Mary Lou Shipley, both of whom I respect and admire, and who have served Waxahachie so well, choose not to run for re-election in the spring.
As you already know, I oppose Melissa Olson and Paul Christenson. Neither, in my view, need to be anywhere near city council. Olson is way in over her head and tends to use facades to hide it. She also has a knack for taking credit for city successes without folks knowing she has instead been more of an obstacle than contributor when it comes to Waxahachie’s growth. Christenson is simply an angry contrarian who, at any expense it seems, wants to tear council apart and the city down. Facts aren’t in his playbook either, so to speak. Christenson’s latest stunt is to claim that Waxahachie’s parks, despite obvious significant improvements made by the city, are no better today than before such improvements. It’s a bizarre and wholly false claim by Christenson but one that fits well with his shady motivations. Frankly, Christenson, and anyone like him, sitting on city council would be disastrous for the future of Waxahachie.
Regarding WISD’s school board, Judd McCutchen and Clay Schoolfield are the obvious choices to remain on the board. Schoolfield’s opponent, Amy Hedtke is a woman known for her often-times vulgar, unbridled activism of all sorts of causes. She likes to run every year for whichever office strikes her fancy. Sometimes it’s school board, sometimes it’s city council. Whatever the office, Hedtke’s strategy, for lack of better description, is rarely about winning … as strange as that might seem. Instead, Hedtke enjoys running for the attention she gets and to legally be eligible to call for a vote recount. I’ve come to see Hedtke as bit of an enigma - a clever one, at that. She can also be entertaining in an intriguing kind of way. Figuring out a character like Hedtke requires someone far more versed in human psyche than me, for sure. Even so, let there be no mistake that Hedtke has never, and will never, receive any vote of mine.
So there you have it. Much is at stake and your vote is important. From city council to school board to President of the United States, your resolve in showing up and voting is as important in 2020 as it has ever been. Early voting starts this Tuesday, October 13, and election day is Tuesday, November 3.
If you were only going to vote once in your life, this is the year.
Scott Brooks is the Publisher of the Waxahachie Sun and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.