At-large seat candidates (from left), Randy Pogue, Jeremiah Hammer and Martin Sanchez.
The McKinney Chamber of Commerce hosted a Candidate Forum on Tuesday, April 9 at Eldorado Country Club. The program included a moderated Q&A with the three candidates for the at-large position on the McKinney City Council as well as remarks from Mayor Brian Loughmiller and District 1 Councilman Don Day.
Mayor Brian Loughmiller will not be the only name on the ballot for the Mayoral seat. Derrick Johnson suspended his campaign some time ago and endorsed Mayor Loughmiller; however, Johnson missed the cutoff date to be removed from the ballot, so the mayoral race is still technically contested; both names will appear on the ballot.
Mayor Loughmiller addressed attendees explaining that despite facing some big challenges, during one of the worst recessions in our country’s history, we continue to be recognized nationally as one of the best places to live, the number of building permits have increased, our sales tax revenues are up and our unemployment rate is 4 percentage points below the national rate.
According to Loughmiller, the City and Council will set the stage over the next four years for the next 20 or 30 years of development in the City with the expansion of Hwy 75 and 380; Gateway development; the Collin County Regional Airport; a strategic plan for retail development in the northwest quadrant; and infrastructure improvements along Hwy 5 and on the East side. Developing relationships with residents, the business community, Chamber of Commerce and home owners associations all play an integral role in planning for the future.
Councilman Don Day, District 1 who is running unopposed, took time to thank and recognize the three candidates who are voluntarily facing the challenges of a political campaign. “We need to respect them and applaud them; it’s nice to see young leaders stepping forward.”
Ernest C. Lynch III, Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors honored David Brooks for his outstanding service to McKinney during his term as Councilman for the At Large position. Travis L. Ussery Jr., District 3 Councilman, also running unopposed, was unable to attend as he was representing the City at another function.
Councilwoman Geralyn Kever, Moderator of the Q & A, was grateful for the opportunity to dig into issues and keep the voters informed.
Candidates were asked to share their highest priority or motivation in this campaign.
Jeremiah J. Hammer moved here in May 2010 with a desire to run for office after he purchased his first home and felt the need to give back to his community. He recognizes the importance of a live-work-and play community as well as maintaining a high quality of life.
Randall (Randy) P. Pogue is a Civil Engineer and worked for his family’s business until he started his own engineering and land design firm. “Learn – Earn – Return” was instilled by his family while he was encouraged to become a contributing member of the community. His highest priority is economic development and reducing the tax burden on citizens by working to shift the commercial/residential tax base ratio closer to a 60/40 split.
J. Martin Sanchez was recruited to McKinney in 1998 as the first Senior Long-term planner when he was charged with creating institutional knowledge. He has 20 years of planning experience which he describes as his “passion” and reason for running for Council.
Candidates were asked to address the City Council’s Strategic Goals & Priorities recently adopted following a Council Planning Session
In favor of the initiatives, Pogue says that success will be in the details. A clear vision that can be easily communicated helps to make strong progress in implementation. He wants to continue to expand infrastructure and sees our strong and vibrant downtown as a tremendous asset.
Sanchez said that he supports the Council goals, noting their pragmatism and making economic development his priority. “As a visionary and as a planner, my goal is to look 50 years into the future and see what is inconceivable today.”
The City’s Strategic Goals are in line with what Hammer would want to accomplish also. Economic development, workforce development, affordable housing and transportation all tie into Quality of Life. Achieving a balance of happy, employable people and successful, growing companies is the goal.
How did the candidates evaluate the effectiveness of the City’s Boards & Commissions?
Candidate Sanchez cited a lack of direct training and would like to see those who serve receive additional training. As McKinney grows to be one of the largest cities in Texas, “we must think differently.”
Last time Candidate Hammer ran, he was encouraged to get involved which he says he “took it to heart.” He said that he would like to see certain programs expand, like the Chamber’s Leadership McKinney program, to include more citizens.
Candidate Pogue sees the Boards and Commissions as incubators for our future leaders. He would like to see more training, as well as an effort to match up skills of individuals with needs in the community.
Recognizing that Collin County is one of the fastest growing and the seventh largest county in Texas, what are the top one or two most important regional or state issues for McKinney and the Region?
The Candidates unanimously agreed that transportation and water are the top two regional and statewide priorities that need to be addressed.
In closing, what sets you apart from the other candidates in the race?
As a fiscal conservative, Pogue says that his proven leadership, ongoing engagement and commitment to McKinney and his professional experience and background make him uniquely qualified to serve.
Sanchez believes that his experience as a city and urban planner, his passion for McKinney, and his bold vision set him apart.
Objectivity, following a methodology, analyzing what will benefit the greater good, transparency and accessibility are what Hammer says set him apart.
Visit the City of McKinney Elections page for more information.