AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — On May 6, Amarillo voters will be making their voices heard about who they want to represent them on Amarillo’s City Council. With the majority of the current council not running for reelection, a number of community members have stepped up, putting forward the perspectives and ideas they would bring to the table.
One of seven candidates for Place One will be taking over the seat from current Councilmember Cole Stanley, who is currently running for Mayor of the city of Amarillo. None of the candidates running for this particular place have been previously elected to the Amarillo City Council.
MyHighPlains.com spoke with each of the candidates who are actively running for the Place One seat on the Amarillo City Council. Each of the candidates spoke about their priorities, why they decided to run for the position and their aspirations for Amarillo if they are elected for the seat.
The list of the candidates in this article is based on how the candidates will be listed on the May 2023 election ballot.
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Ray White announced in late February his intention to drop out of the Amarillo City Council Place One race. At the time, White provided no reasons surrounding the reason why he chose to make this announcement.
When MyHighPlains.com reached out to the city of Amarillo regarding his withdrawal announcement, the city said in late February that White had not contacted the city of Amarillo prior to the Feb. 24 deadline to “withdraw a name for a place on the ballot.” White’s name will therefore remain on the ballot for the seat in the May 2023 election, although White himself is not actively campaigning.
Amarillo City Council Place One Candidate Margie Gonzales said she chose to enter the race for the goal of having more diverse points of view on the council. As a pastor, Gonzales stressed that she is well-connected to all portions of the Amarillo community.
With the current council, Gonzales believes there are marginalized citizens, as well as marginalized areas of the city, that the council “may be somewhat out of touch with.” Gonzales said she wants to see Amarillo as a whole grow, specifying the importance of economic and tourism growth for the whole city, and not only for portions of the city.
When asked about Place One, Gonzales said she believes that all the candidates bring something to the table. However, Gonzales feels she is the most well-rounded candidate, connecting with the bulk of Amarillo citizens.
Amarillo City Council Place One Candidate Dean Crump believes he can make a difference with his experience, business acumen and maturity, something that he believes makes him stand out from the other Place One candidates.
Crump, who is part of a number of companies, including a real estate investment company and a company in development surrounding wound care for animals, said he can bring experiences with budgets and finances to the City Council, as well as his ability to build relationships.
Crump said the moment that made him want to run for office was the council’s vote surrounding the Civic Center, which resulted in a lawsuit in Potter County. Crump said the council needs to separate what the city needs and what the city wants, reprioritizing the budget for city services including trash.
With this budgetary approach, Crump said he wants to lay the foundation, eventually preparing the city for future growth.
Sherie Wood, a Place One candidate for the Amarillo City Council, said that she believes the city of Amarillo is “crumbling,” with the goal of wanting to rejuvenate the city as a whole.
Wood said that she felt a calling from God to put her name out there for the Place One position on the Amarillo City Council, stating that she can bring a more people-focused perspective to the council.
Like many of the other Amarillo City Council candidates, Wood cited the Civic Center vote as the catalyst for her campaign, highlighting the lack of accountability and transparency she believes the city council had.
Wood said her experience as a manager would help her on the City Council, previously having experience with budgets. The priorities Wood wants the city council to focus on in the budgetary process included public safety, funding for a senior citizens center in Amarillo and the opportunity for the city to look at infrastructure improvements, especially on the north side.
Kelsey Richardson, a candidate for Place One on the Amarillo City Council, said she chose to run for the position because she does not like the direction that Amarillo is headed in.
However, she said that this particular election gives Amarillo immense potential to turn things around, giving the city the chance to show the rest of the state and the United States that it can be “fiscally responsible.”
The event that encouraged Richardson to run was the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically citing the council’s decision surrounding the COVID-19-related ordinance in November 2020 encouraging business owners to enforce mask-wearing. Richardson said that she then spent time researching the city’s charter and understanding how the city is run.
Richardson said her platform centers around fiscal responsibility, while also stating that she is a fighter and not afraid of conversations and discussions surrounding City Council votes.
As one of the younger people running for the Place One seat on the Amarillo City Council, Josh Craft said he would bring a fresh perspective to City Hall if he is elected.
While Craft said he has never been involved in politics before, he said he would bring his leadership and budgetary experience from his job with the Randall County Fire Department. Also citing the Civic Center decision as the reason why he chose to run, he wants the City Council to get back to “reinstalling trust and transparency for the city.”
Craft said his key issues are public safety, as well as managing the core services citizens are paying for through taxes. But ultimately, Craft said he would approach a seat on the council as a “servant leader,” saying he would put other people’s needs before his own and be willing to give everything so others can have a voice.
Craft also said he views being a younger person as a strength, hoping that it can help younger people see how important it is to make their voices heard on who is on the Amarillo City Council.
Chip Hunt, a business owner and Place One candidate for the Amarillo City Council, said that running for office has been “a long time coming.” Hunt said that people have told her for years that she should run for public office.
Ultimately, Hunt said she wants to focus on human needs through her position on the council, having a safe city, having good streets, as well as having efficient trash pickup and cleanliness. Hunt said these factors would help make Amarillo a good place to live.
By focusing on these priorities, Hunt said the city needs to focus more on needs than wants, something she would focus on if she was a member of the city council. Hunt emphasized that the city of Amarillo needs to cut down on what she calls “frivolous spending” on items and projects that are not necessarily needed.
If she was elected to the seat, Hunt said she is open to continuing to have relationships with citizens something she said she has been doing for the last 20 years in her business.
For more information about what is on the ballot for the May 2023 election, check out the sample ballots for a number of counties right here. For a look at early voting locations in Potter and Randall counties, click here.
For more details and updates on the May 2023 election, check here:
- Sample ballots for Election Day on the HighPlains
- Potter, Randall counties report Early Voting numbers for May 2023 election
- MyHighPlains.com Voter Information Guide
- Meet the May 2023 candidates: Amarillo City Council Place One
- Meet the May 2023 candidates: Amarillo City Council Place Two
- Meet the May 2023 candidates: Amarillo City Council Place Three
- Meet the May 2023 candidates: Amarillo City Council Place Four
- Meet the May 2023 candidates: Amarillo Mayor
- Meet the May 2023 candidates: Amarillo College Board of Regents
- Meet the May 2023 candidates: Bushland ISD/Highland Park ISD School Boards
- Meet the May 2023 Candidates: Amarillo ISD School Board
- Meet the May 2023 Candidates: Canyon ISD School Board
- Election Day on the High Plains: Live Updates