Name:

Derek Baker

District:

District 3 is where I live

Office/Seat you are running for:

City Council At-Large

Email:

derek@derekvbaker.org

Phone:

(214) 551-4604

Campaign website:

www.derekvbaker.org

Education:

Bachelor of Science in Business, Religion, and Political Science, Liberty University

Professional background/employment

I have over 25 years of public policy experience working on Capitol Hill (Sen. Phil Gramm, Rep. Mike Pence, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, etc.). Currently, I serve as a top producing residential real estate agent at Keller Williams McKinney. I’m very active civically and politically in Collin County; appointed to Collin County Child Protective Services board, board member of Foster Friends of Collin County; elected as Republican Precinct Chair of McKinney Precinct 131, and served as delegate to 2012 and 2016 Republican State Conventions.

Why are you seeking this office?

Given my extensive background in public policy and finance, and active involvement in city and county government and political affairs, I believe I am the best equipped to provide both clear leadership and specific solutions to the issues facing McKinney in the years to come.

What qualifies you to understand the unique needs facing McKinney businesses?

I believe the best candidate must be qualified to address not only the issues facing McKinney businesses, but its citizens as well. As noted above, I have more practical, directly relevant experience to the issues facing both groups in our city than any other candidate.

The McKinney Chamber has identified priorities for our community’s economic health, including transportation, water and economic development. Please share your thoughts on the following questions:

  1. What are the most important issues the businesses in your district face?

The three most important issues facing businesses in McKinney are the significant increase in property taxes, the lack of commercial tax revenue relative to residential tax revenue, and the fact that the City of McKinney is well known as being difficult to do business with. We must tie future budget increases to either population or inflation growth, streamline our procedures and ordinances so we are business friendly, and in doing so focus on increasing our commercial business by aggressively recruiting new business and being strategic about our short and long term planning and zoning plans.

  1. What is the city’s role in growing the economy and how can we best attract businesses to McKinney while supporting existing businesses?

Ideally, the city would be a willing silent partner in facilitating economic growth. By that I mean as a city council and staff, McKinney must have clear, transparent, and efficient process for planning, zoning and permitting. Further, it’s the primary work of the city council to be the face of the city and actively work with the city manager to identify and recruit commercial business and corporate relocation opportunities. While incentives are sometimes necessary, we must be strategic in providing incentives that are in our best interest (i.e. - long term significant tax abatements are of disputable value to our interests).

  1. What role do you believe McKinney National Airport has in McKinney’s economic development?

McKinney National Airport represents one of the single greatest advantages our city has and makes us unique among the big five cities in Collin County. It has already proven to be a significant revenue generator, and I believe it will be a tremendous asset long term in recruiting Fortune 500 companies to our city.

  1. How can McKinney continue to increase the commercial tax base?

Part of the key to increasing our commercial tax base in conducting a complete review of our planning, zoning, and permitting procedures and our current ordinances, so we shed both the perception and any reality that we’re a difficult city to do business with. Beyond that, we need to be wise in developing our updated strategic plan so that the property adjacent to our major corridors are zoned for commercial, and we end the practice of allowing residential homes to be built so close to major intersections that are ideal for retail and commercial development.

  1. In a growing community, do you anticipate supporting transportation initiatives including public transportation?

The phrase public transportation means very different things to different people. I believe there is a narrowly focused and specific role for public transportation that is designed primary to transport the elderly and indigent to essential city services. Beyond that, it must be economically viable to expand the service to others in need, and ensure the cost is shared with the public utilizing the service. Given our current population and budget, I believe light rail is cost prohibitive and pursuing it would actually have a significant detrimental effect to our city and economy.

  1. What do you believe is McKinney’s greatest challenge/opportunity in the next three years?

Our greatest challenge and opportunity is directly related to my top three priorities. We must get our unsustainable budget under control and rapidly expand our commercial tax base to grow responsibly and ease the strain on home owners and businesses alike. I would add that providing expanded hanger space to meet our current and projected future demand is a significant opportunity that can have an immensely positive impact to our city and tax base.