Kennedale News::Candidate Press Release 2022::Linda Rhodes For City Council Place 4
To My Fellow Kennedale Constituents,
Once again, I am running for City Council Place 4 and asking for your vote of confidence. Since 2018, I have served in the following roles: as Council Member Place 4 (2018-2021), Mayor Pro-Tem (for a short stint in 2021), and then, most recently, as your Mayor (2021-present) following the resignation of the Mayor at that time. Upon my appointment as Mayor, Kennedale History was made- I had the privilege of being the very first female Mayor for our city! For the past four years, I have been honored and humbled to serve you and I am willing to continue my service by performing the job at hand to the best of my ability.
As a brief background for those that may not know me, in 2017 I retired with almost 35 years experience in municipal government. I was an employee with the City of Kennedale from 1982-2002, working in the departments of finance, tax, and utility billing, along with being the very first Board of Adjustment secretary since its inception. In February 2002 I had the opportunity to work for another municipality serving as City Secretary until retiring in 2017. Even though I was able to retire at that time to watch grandchildren, I wanted to keep my options open for the future; therefore, I chose to continue to grow and remain active in the municipal environment by keeping up my certifications, trainings, organization memberships, and by serving on council as indicated above. Additionally, in 2021 I completed the Texas Certified Public Manager (CPM) program. Therefore, I have almost 40 years of continued municipal experience.
My husband and I are life-long residents of Kennedale. Loving our city, we chose to have Kennedale continue to be our home. We raised our two adult children here and all four of us are proud Kennedale Alumni. Soon, my grandchildren will be attending KISD as well. Not only am I a resident and taxpayer of the city, but I have also been involved in the city at one time or another by being a City of Kennedale employee, Kennedale Youth Association (KYA) coach, KYA Board member, KISD supporter, Kennedale Ignite First Baptist Church member/leadership roles, and serving on Council. I highly support Kennedale businesses by eating, shopping, and utilizing professional services here very frequently. All the way around, I truly have a long-standing, vested interest in Kennedale. Over the years I have seen Kennedale go through a lot of changes and grow. Four years ago when I ran for office, one of my goals was to help bridge a gap between a divided council and community by bringing my professional background experience and knowledge to the table as well as my compassion for my hometown. When appointed as Mayor, I noted that this bridge building could not happen single-handed; it requires cooperation of all parties. Therefore, I made a call out to all stakeholders to work together. Building this unified bridge for the better good of our city is still a struggle; however, I am hopeful that, with proper leadership, we will be able to see a unified bridge begin to be built. Instead of working on personal bridges (agendas), we must work together consistently to persevere, grow, and keep Kennedale a safe and wonderful place to call home.
Points I continue to support in my campaign are: budget collaboration between staff and council, city staff strengthening, improving senior citizen services, maintaining senior citizen tax exemptions/discounts, and promoting business growth. One of the main things I am proud that was accomplished during my term was the increase in property tax exemptions for our senior citizen homeowners 65 and over and for homeowners who are on the disabled tax roll. I pushed to see this happen and, with the unanimous vote of council, the tax exemption increase for our seniors and disabled persons was approved.
Moving forward we have many things to work on. Of course there are the ongoing tasks of addressing infrastructure needs, updating the comprehensive plan, maintaining reliable/safe essential services, etc.; however, we should focus strongly on promoting business growth in Kennedale. One way to do this is to hire an Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Director that can dedicate full attention to aggressively and proactively attract new business in our city that will bring in a healthy sales tax. More business means more sales tax; more sales tax, in turn, means probable less burden on residential property taxpayers. We need to also support the idea of maintaining and empowering a strong team of city employees, which are our biggest asset. This is not done by micromanaging, but rather by setting clear goals and visions as a city and providing a safe and healthy work environment to our employees that will allow them to accomplish their tasks. This will help build trust as well as accountability measures. This starts at the top by council setting the tone. Being a past city employee, I have a unique perspective on this subject. Without providing clear direction, the expectation of growth (or even sustainability long term) is close to being null and void. As the city fills positions, I remain optimistic and look forward to working with each member of our team.
Lastly, I would like to encourage each of you to get out and vote. If you want someone that is qualified, experienced, has integrity, and truly cares about the city, I am your person. I am a proven leader- not a “yes man”. I can make hard decisions based upon what is in the best interest of our city as a whole. Please support me and Vote Linda Rhodes for Council Place #4.