April Showers Bring May Voters?Apr 01, 2018 ● By Frisco STYLE
Terms are for three years and elections are staggered so any given year, voters typically vote for two to three places on the Council and on the School Board. The Council has nine-year term limitations, whereas the School Board does not have term limitations. The mayor is elected every three years by voters, whereas School Board trustees elect their own board president every year.
How well do you know this year’s candidates? Election Day is May 5, with early voting starting April 23.
Frisco City Council Candidates
John Keating - Place 1, keatingfrisco.com
The Keatings have lived in Frisco 19 years. Mr. Keating was elected to Frisco City Council Place 4 in 2010 and was re-elected in 2013. He was unanimously elected mayor pro tem by council members in 2015. Mr. Keating was elected to City Council in 2017 to fill an unexpired Place 1 term and is currently Frisco’s deputy mayor pro tem. His past career includes being a U.S. Army Senior Counterintelligence agent and he later ran a financial services business. He served seven years on the Spears Elementary PTA, which included four years as VP of fundraising. He is a past president of Starwood HOA, a graduate of Leadership Frisco Class 13 and Frisco’s Citizen Police Academy. He is a member of VFW Post 8273 and American Legion Post 178. He received the PepsiCo Valor Leadership Award in 2016 and U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson’s Congressional Veteran Commendation in 2017. Mr. Keating says, “We must continue planning for future growth in a fiscally-responsible manner while maintaining one of the lowest tax rates in the region — without ever looking like it! I have worked to keep taxes and spending low, while focusing on public safety, roads and infrastructure. Sustaining our vision will require long-term planning, a culture of innovation and a willingness to balance needs versus wants.”
Jason Money - Place 1, moneyfrisco.com
Jason Money is the CEO and founder of Mercury Innovations and Emerging Molecular Technologies, with a career as an entrepreneur and investor in the medical and bio-tech arena. He has lived in Frisco for 21 years. His volunteer experience includes roles in the nonprofit Frisco Heat Track Club as co-founder, board chairman and assistant head coach. Mr. Money served in president and vice president roles in the HOAs of Prestmont, Cecile Place in Hillcrest Estates and Griffin Parc. He was appointed to the Frisco Community Development Corporation (CDC) from 2011-2015. He served on the Frisco Grand Park Design Committee and as a lead WatchDOG at Pink Elementary and Griffin Middle School. He is a past member of the Frisco Census Committee and Leadership Frisco Class 13. Mr. Money hopes Frisco “does not lose its vision. We have to hold on to strengths and principles that made Frisco great while accounting for the needs and perspectives of new stakeholders, if we want to go forward with innovation and excellence.”
K.D. Warach - Place 1, warachforfrisco.com
K.D. Warach is a civil engineer working as vice president with Atkins - SNC Lavalin. He has lived in Frisco for five years. He currently serves on the City’s Board of Adjustment. His volunteer service includes being a speaker at Career Day at FISD schools and serving as a youth soccer coach. His vision includes “making sure Frisco is a vibrant community where everyone feels welcome to live, work and play.”
Dave Bowsher - Place 3, daveforfrisco.com
Dave Bowsher is a sales director at Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing and has lived in Frisco for 16 years. His volunteer experience includes assisting with Frisco’s “homeless count” that was performed in conjunction with the Frisco Police Department, serving on political campaigns and with his children’s sports teams. Mr. Bowsher’s vision is for Frisco to be “a city where the quality of life for the resident and homeowner takes precedence and where the small business owner has a strong voice.”
Will Sowell - Place 3, willsowell.com
Will Sowell is president and COO of Ingo Money and has lived in Frisco for 18 years. He is Frisco’s mayor pro tem and has served on City Council (Place 3) since 2012. He is a past member of Frisco Citizens Fire Academy, a graduate of City Hall 101 and served as president of Leadership Frisco Class 12. Mr. Sowell was a member of Frisco’s Ethics Committee and chaired the Frisco Charter Review Committee in 2012. He is a trustee at Preston Ridge Baptist Church where he has served as a deacon, taught Mission Kids for two years, was a Sunday School teacher and has been the chair of the finance committee and the deacons. Mr. Sowell says, “Frisco should be known for the high quality of our developments, the strength of our partnerships and the ability to provide the high level of services our residents demand while being financially responsible with our tax dollars.”
Frisco City Council Candidate Q&A
Frisco STYLE: What is the most critical issue facing Frisco? How do you plan to solve it if elected to City Council?
John Keating: It is critical Frisco stands steadfast against reckless and irresponsible fiscal policies. I will continue to promote long-term responsible leadership to keep our city strong. The biggest threat to Frisco’s success is inflated property taxes and loss of cohesion between the City, school district, business community and neighborhoods. Using tax dollars to fund well-meaning projects like public transportation and public housing add to our debt burden and lead to an unsustainable tax rate. We need to focus on public safety, roads and infrastructure, small government and quality services.
Jason Money: Our biggest challenge is how we keep out factions that want to see Frisco decline — from groups in Austin that do not like our innovative funding of community projects like The Star to friendly fire from neighboring entities jealous of our success in landing developments and accolades. I want to stand strong with city leaders to protect what Frisco has and continues to build.
K.D. Warach: The tremendous growth is creating a dire need to examine infrastructure, especially our roads and traffic concerns. I will bring my engineering expertise to help the Council act in improving infrastructure to handle ongoing growth.
Dave Bowsher: Managing our growth so infrastructure is always ahead of our population. Solving this will entail slowing down additional housing projects, especially transient multi-family properties.
Will Sowell: There are two issues I would like to focus on most in my last term: bringing jobs and commercial development to Frisco and ensuring local control of our city. Jobs in Frisco mean less of a commute and alleviate time in traffic. Commercial development brings a diversified tax base where homeowners do not bear all the burden for high-quality services. We do not need representatives in Austin determining Frisco’s future, nor do we need them trying to make Frisco like every other city.
Frisco STYLE: Should the City of Frisco build a performing arts hall?
John Keating: When I first ran for Council, I campaigned on the promise of Frisco residents voting on whether the 2002 bond authorization of $19 million tax dollars for an arts center in Allen was the will of the people. Citizens of McKinney voted against participating in what was to be a four-city project (McKinney, Frisco, Allen, Plano). Residents of Frisco were heard in 2011 and revoked the bond authority at the ballot box. While that project was not right for Frisco, it does not mean there will never be a performing arts hall here. When I see the right project proposed — one that is fiscally responsible, meets community need and is modeled on best practices in arts and cultural centers funding and operations —I will support it.
Jason Money: I do not believe the City should build an arts hall any more than I believe the City “should build” a hospital, university or museum. City government needs to be in the business of leading projects only a municipality can lead — public safety, roads, infrastructure and so on. I do believe Frisco deserves to be home to a world-class arts facility and that we have talent, vision, community support and passion here to create a public-private partnership for that level of facility. Politics has been a hurdle to arts in Frisco for too long. It is time for people to start putting vision ahead of fear.
K.D. Warach: A performing arts hall will be a welcome addition. I support the City’s efforts to build it and would like to explore a private-public partnership to offset some costs.
Dave Bowsher: I would say we already have 12 performing arts halls in Frisco. From the 10 high school auditoriums and the fabulous Dr Pepper Center to the new Ford Center, Frisco has 12 places to hold performances, from a few hundred seats to more than 12,000.
Will Sowell: No, the City should not build it. Should the City support development of a community arts facility to provide a space for community users? Yes! That approach I support. This would be a smaller facility (300–500 seats) and support a variety of arts groups. I would advocate the City not own maintenance and operations of the facility, as that should fall to a nonprofit or commercial enterprise. This could be part of a larger arts facility or it could be a stand-alone facility.
FISD School Board Candidates
John Classe - Place 6 , jcfisd.com
John Classe is a Certified Financial Planner™ with Bell Financial Group and has lived in Frisco 17 years. He has served as a trustee on the FISD Board (Place 6) since June 2014 and served as the School Board president for the past year. He has two daughters attending Isbell Elementary and Vandeventer Middle School. Mr. Classe is a member of the Isbell, Vandeventer and Cobb PTAs. He is a graduate of Leadership Frisco 16 and has served as a board member with the Frisco Education Foundation, Frisco Economic Development Corporation and Frisco CDC. He was a commissioner on the Frisco 2013 Charter Review Commission and a member and chair of the Frisco Parks and Recreation Board. Mr. Classe says, “Frisco’s well-known mission statement is to know every student by name and need. To do this, I believe we must reduce class size, pay teachers competitively, provide them with needed support and continue offering students an abundance of opportunities to learn and engage so they can discover their interests and talents as they advance to become productive members of society.”
Rene Archambault - Place 7 , reneforfisd.com
Rene Archambault is a graduate admissions and marketing officer at Southern Methodist University and has lived in Frisco for nine years. She is a member of the FISD Long Range Planning Committee, the FISD Financial Transparency Sub-Committee and FISD Insight. She serves on the Frisco Education Foundation Advisory Board, on the Frisco FastPacs board, the Frisco Women’s League and as a Griffin Band Booster. Mrs. Archambault’s daughter attended Purefoy Elementary and now attends Griffin Middle School. Mrs. Archambault was a member of the Purefoy PTA and is now a member of the Griffin PTA. Her vision for the FISD “is to build upon the successes of our collaborative and caring learning community by expanding opportunities for all students, both academically and in extracurricular offerings, to foster learners who are prepared to excel in an ever-changing world.”
Linda McConnell - Place 7, votemcconnell.com
Linda McConnell is a realtor who moved to the FISD in 2003. Mrs. McConnell is the former Riddle Elementary PTA president and a recipient of the Texas PTA Honorary Life Award, one of the highest forms of recognition for volunteerism and dedication to children and the community. As a parishioner of Prince of Peace Catholic Church, she serves as a Faith Formation Sunday school teacher. As a mother of two boys, Mrs. McConnell has served in numerous Scouting volunteer roles under Cub Scout Pack 4380, including Northern Lights District 2015 summer camp director. As a Collin County Junior League member, she served as the chair of City House, a group home for at-risk youth. Mrs. McConnell has also served as a board member and HOA president for the Crystal Creek Community.
FISD School Board Candidate Q&A
Frisco STYLE: What do you believe is the FISD’s biggest success?
John Classe: Surrounded by districts with mega high schools, the FISD’s biggest success has been its ability to maintain its commitment to maximum student opportunity through smaller high schools amidst unprecedented growth. It has taken long-term commitment to a vision from past and present trustees, city leaders, district staff and a community that has supported implementation of that vision.
Rene Archambault: It would have been very easy for a district that grew more than 2527 percent between 1990-2011 to lose focus and begin to creep away from its mission to know every student by name and need. The FISD kept its small school model intact and expanded opportunities for students through this massive phase of growth.
Linda McConnell: Our kids and students.
Frisco STYLE: What is the most critical issue facing the FISD and how do you plan to solve it if elected?
John Classe: Funding is the most critical issue facing the FISD and many of the more than 1,000 school districts in Texas. The state’s share of per-student funding has steadily declined over the preceding decade and elements of the Texas funding formula are obsolete, having not been updated in nearly 30 years. There are two ways for the FISD to solve funding challenges: the state legislature can change its funding formula and restore cuts in funding per student or the FISD community can support a change in the FISD tax rate.
Rene Archambault: Funding. The FISD receives $300 less per student from the state than peer districts. Multiply $300 x 58,000 students and we are underfunded by almost $18 million annually. For our district to continue to expand student opportunities, invest more in teachers and put money back into the classroom, the community has to work together on a solution. I plan to investigate and understand whether a tax ratification election is needed and whether it can be done via a tax swap. This would be different from the failed efforts in 2016 in that we could use I&S revenue which is off-set with commercial tax growth to mitigate the burden on homeowners.
Linda McConnell: School safety and the security of our children is imperative. The people of FISD must work together to make this our top priority and all voices must be brought to the table.
Visit friscotexas.gov/672/election for more information about the May municipal elections. School Board election information can be accessed at www.friscoisd.org/about/board-of-trustees/board-elections.
Rick Fletcher, a Frisco resident for two decades, writes about local history, politics, real estate development and other community topics.