Question 1. Please summarize your accomplishments as a businessperson, civic leader, and/or elected official.

ANSWER: I’ve owned a graphic design/marketing firm, ran a vibrant electrical contracting business, applied for and received 501(c)3 status for a Children’s Museum that I founded and served as President of the Board/Director of Outreach Activities. I’ve worked with the community to provide after school activities for children, volunteered at various community organizations involving pro bono legal assistance for those seeking asylum and legal aid and at numerous churches in their outreach programs. I’ve held numerous positions on PTOs: Volunteer Coordinator, Box Tops Chairwoman, Student Directory Coordinator, Whole School Production Costume Director and was an Ambassador at a Chamber of Commerce.

Q2: What do you see as the most pressing or unique needs for the smaller but fast-growing unincorporated areas of Rockwall County, and what should the county be doing about those needs? 

ANSWER: Unbalanced growth is one of the issues in the unincorporated areas of the County. Most areas are growing in terms of residential offerings but not commercial. There needs to be a balance between commercial and residential growth. We need to make sure that, along with homes, we also have the schools and businesses residents will need including amenities for families and young adults - trails, activities and jobs. Forcing people in rural areas to come to the more developed areas for daily needs only adds more traffic/congestion to already over burdened roads. We must make sure that amenities are easily accessible to all while still preserving rural ambiance. This can be done with designated open spaces where trails and community activities can occur. The County needs to attract businesses to these areas that will help offset costs by providing tax dollars and fill voids in the job market.

Q3: What would your specific priorities be if you are elected, especially pertaining to county services and/or transportation projects? 

ANSWER: We need better control over construction projects and the length of time it takes to complete them by structuring contracts with companies providing road construction services so they’re finished in a timely manner. We need to make sure that subdivisions build roads that meet state and local standards from the start so homeowners aren’t burdened with the cost of upgrading them when they’re turned over to local authorities for maintenance. I’d also like to see more family activities, diverse options for housing and transportation. We need to make sure those just starting out, those trying to downsize and those in between have options for living and working here, including people with disabilities. I want to make sure that housing and work options are available for those with disabilities/special needs. A County animal shelter is also needed and better emergency management. I’d also scrutinize the budget.

Q4: Has the county done a good job serving its Easternmost portions in the past, and/or can it do better? If so, in what specific ways?  

ANSWER: In numerous conversations with Eastern residents of our County, the biggest concern is rising taxes which put an undue burden on long time homeowners. Many are close to losing their homes. We need to look at how to overcome this while still allowing home values to grow. Another issue is providing public transportation options for those living in the East. Getting to work and recreational activities within/outside the County needs to be made more accessible. Roads must be properly maintained. This means not having to redo recently completed projects. Let’s do it right the first time. Bringing in businesses that offer a variety of wages is also important to residents. Why should people have to travel across/out of the County for good jobs? Having diverse companies and employment options can provide jobs and enrich the community when those companies invest in the area and support local non-profits.

Q5: What do you see as appropriate and just county role in participating with ICE, per the 287(g) agreement drafted in early 2018? Do you think the partnership has been a positive thing for Rockwall County residents, or are there things you would change?  

ANSWER: The 287(g) agreement was a mistake. It’s detrimental to the safety of our community. It’s more beneficial for our County to help those who are here without citizenship to attain citizenship rather than deporting them. These people are our neighbors and valuable members of our community. (I’m not for allowing those who commit serious/violent crimes to remain here illegally.) The majority of those 70+ people deported through the ICE program were arrested for DWI offenses. While I don’t take this crime lightly, I don’t think it’s worth tearing apart the fabric of families and communities to remove these people from our country. I’m sure we all know someone who was arrested for DWI and yet didn’t face prosecution. Why should those who are here illegally, working in our community, be deported for the same offense? Let’s offer paths to citizenship. Let them serve their time and help them with citizenship.

Q6: What do you want voters to know about you that you do not believe they may be aware of? 

ANSWER: I’m a first generation American. Dad emigrated from Hitler-occupied Austria during WWII. Mom came from Canada. They met in NYC and raised three girls. My grandpa was a journalist who was on Hitler’s hit list. My grandmother was the only dentist in White Plains who treated children with special needs. I come from this and was raised to be compassionate and speak up for those whose voices are drowned out by bigotry, ignorance and hatred. I embrace the ideals of democracy and the Democratic Party - everyone who wants to make a better life should be given that opportunity. 

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Editor, Herald-Banner Publications

Kristal Kuykendall is an award-winning reporter, editor and graphic designer, having worked for large and small newspapers, lifestyles magazines, and leading sports publishers for the last 26 years. She can be reached anytime via text at 903-213-2990.

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