THE RACE FOR BURLESON MAYOR: Candidates appeal for votes as finish line draws near
With Election Day only days away (May 6), the candidates to be mayor of Burleson are still attempting to persuade voters to support their campaigns. That includes accepting an offer from the Burleson Star to make a final statement as the race nears the finish line. Here is what each had to say:
Ken Shetter, incumbent:
“No candidate should ask for your vote for mayor without telling you what he or she has done to earn your vote, and providing you with a comprehensive vision of what he or she will do if elected,” Shetter said.
“I have worked hard to communicate to the voters the successes we’ve achieved during the time I’ve been mayor and to lay out a plan for the next three years,” he said. “I am proud of our record of smart growth.”
By prioritizing public safety, making major investments in infrastructure, creating thousands of jobs and expanding higher education opportunities, Burleson has grown the right way, he said.
“Even during the election, the Council has adopted a development impact fee that ensures developers will do their part to help provide the resources necessary to provide for the infrastructure needs created by new growth, and we have voted on multiple occasions to ensure apartments remain an appropriate proportion of our overall housing stock.
“If I am re-elected, my first priority will be to raise the pay of fire and police officers to ensure we remain competitive within the region.”
Other areas of focus include completing the Old Town plaza project, expanding higher education opportunities, ensuring Burleson continues to invest as necessary in infrastructure, and maintaining its excellent development standards, Shetter said.
Katherine Reading, challenger
“A recent editorial in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted I have valid points regarding big city ethics and code changes, and recommended that the Burleson City Council follow up on some things I have to say,” Reading said.
The commentary pleased her, she said.
“I can’t imagine why ethics hasn’t been addressed before,” Reading said. “It’s not an attack on someone’s character because it doesn’t matter who occupies the chair. What matters is that there is a culture that condones the awarding of city contracts to City Council members. What really matters is that should not be a standard practice of government.”
Reading, whose husband, Paul, is active duty military stationed at the Naval Air Station in Fort Worth, said one of her challengers has had 13 years to correct the ethics issue.
Recently, Reading has heard criticism that she has lived in Burleson for only 18 months.
“Even if I had lived here for 30 to 35 years, my platform and position wouldn’t change,” she said. “I believe in term limits and find it inappropriate for City Council members to be awarded contracts.
“Additionally, I believe we need to modernize our zoning districts. A high concentration of apartments is not ideal for a community like ours.”
John Garrison, challenger
“I think we need more social services in Burleson,” Garrison said. “There are people who need help and cannot afford to pay for it. One positive we have is our many churches. I can’t tell you if it’s right or wrong if you don’t attend, but I think it’s one of the best things we have in the United States. Everybody needs a reason for living. They have a star they want to reach.”
Garrison likens himself to Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I have a dream,” he said. “I’ve dreamed for years about being mayor of Burleson. I think I would be a good mayor. I can learn real fast from all the Council members who have been there for years and years.”
Garrison would put more money into the parks, he said.
“We’ve come a long way in the last three years, but there is more to do,” he continued. “If you notice when driving by the parks at night, they’re full of kids and young adults. If they weren’t at the park, where would they be? At a bar? Someplace doing something they shouldn’t? I think our parks are very important.”
Garrison said he also wants to see nicer restaurants.
“We have some good ones, but there are some nice ones that still aren’t here. We need a nice steak house.
“We forget about our parents and grandparents. We need more places to take care of our parents; more volunteers or churches assisting our aging parents and grandparents. Whether it’s from churches or other organizations. My dad barely gets visited if it wasn’t for me. Meals-On-Wheels is great, but their volunteers are on site for just a few minutes, then they’re gone. We need others to show they care. Somebody just to say hi. Somebody to talk with. Somebody to give our elderly a reason to get out of bed.”