Q&A: Hear from Robin J. Elackatt, Yolanda Ford, Fred Taylor-candidates for Missouri City mayor

Missouri City mayor

* indicates incumbent

Robin J. Elackatt
Occupation: small-business owner
Experience: current HOA board member; Missouri City City Council member for District C, 2009-15; mayor pro tem 2014-15; Missouri City Parks Board member, 2007-09; former HOA board president of Colony Lakes
Contact: www.robin4mayor.com

Why are you running to be mayor?

RJE: My family and I have lived in Missouri City for 15 years. I take pride in the "Show-Me City," which has always kept quality of life as top priority. My platform is clear, and I intend to be a visionary mayor focused on: making Missouri City the safest city in Texas; investing in our aging infrastructure; building a strong local economy; supporting responsible and responsive city government; working to unite our city in order to address a multitude of challenges our city faces in the future; listening to the voice of the people versus self-interest or influences; and letting citizens decide on term limits for mayor and council members.

What is the biggest challenge facing Missouri City, and how would you address it?

RJE: A lack of leadership and vision. I am deeply concerned for the future of our city with current divisiveness within our communities and City Hall, continued property tax increases and recent negative media attention due to decisions made by current leaders. There is a scripture that says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." I would focus on a collaborative effort to unite our neighborhoods, restore morale in our government and be the voice for all residents regardless of race, religion, or party affiliation. I believe the saying, "United we stand, divided we fall." If true leadership does not come in November, MCTX will not be able to contend with the challenges we will face in the future.

How should Missouri City think about economic development and growth?

RJE: We must move forward with an implementation plan for economic development and redevelopment for our city immediately. We have a responsibility to position MCTX for the future by diversifying and strengthening our economy. In August 2018, MCTX completed its first-ever "Economic Development and Redevelopment Plan." We must focus on accomplishing City Council's top five goals: resources for economic development; Sienna Plantation commercial development; office development; commercial warehouse/distribution and manufacturing space on US 90/Beltway 8; and redevelopment of Texas Parkway and Cartwright Road. We must identify opportunities versus alienating partners who can help us develop for the future while setting clear expectations.

What is your vision for the future of Missouri City?

RJE: My vision is simple: "Together, we can move Missouri City forward." MCTX has previously witnessed tremendous growth and we want our city to remain a safe place to live, work and play. Based on many great economic development decisions of the past, we will begin to benefit in future years from their visionary leadership. Our leaders today must step up and be leaders who are accessible to all citizens-visible, honest, trustworthy and transparent. MCTX must come together with all socioeconomic backgrounds, all voices, all generations, all sides of MCTX, so that we fulfill our full potential and reaffirm recent findings of being one of the most diverse and best places to live in America.

Yolanda Ford*

Occupation: mayor; urban planner/land development professional
Experience: Master of Architecture; 17-plus years of community development, urban planning, land development and architectural design; three terms as a City Council member; one term as mayor
Contact: www.yolandaford.com

Why are you running to be mayor?

YF: To serve Missouri City by ensuring financial accountability, redeveloping distressed areas, attracting more diverse commercial development to create jobs, increasing sales tax revenue and improving the overall quality of life.

What is the biggest challenge facing Missouri City and how would you address it?

YF: Currently, the challenge is correcting the previous misuse of city funds and redeveloping distressed corridors-respectively, by putting in financial internal controls and having professionals who have the knowledge and the ability to facilitate economic development in culturally diverse economies.

How should Missouri City think about economic development and growth?

YF: Economic development and growth should be sustainable and focused on the residents' needs in the city.

What is your vision for the future of Missouri City?

YF: To create a smart city that is fiscally sound which provides residents with a community that embodies the opportunity to live, work and play within the city.

Fred G. Taylor

Occupation: business owner
Experience: senior manager, Jasper Oil Company and Kilam Corporation; CEO, Family Advocacy Legal Center; CEO, Ready Go Signs; special education teacher; charter school superintendent; former project manager, Houston Housing Authority
Contact: Candidate did not provide contact information

Why are you running to be mayor?

I'm running for mayor because I want to establish transparency in government, revitalize areas of the city that are in need and combat issues that impede the economic growth of the city. I want to take our city back from those with special/personal interests and establish transparency and accountability in our city government. I have a purpose-driven agenda to restore hope to City Hall and work to collectively and strategically advance the people's agenda while addressing the diverse interests that many of my neighbors have expressed.

What is the biggest challenge facing Missouri City, and how would you address it?

The biggest challenge facing Missouri City and others is the current state of our country. As a city, we are adjusting to the new normal and must determine what that looks like for Missouri City. According to federal health officials, the pandemic will be a serious issue until the latter part of 2021. Therefore, it is imperative that the mayor works collaboratively with county and state officials to determine the best safety measures and practices for our community as well as determining how to continue the economic growth and development of our city.

How should Missouri City think about economic development and growth?

In reference to economic growth and development, Missouri City must focus on public safety, new businesses, infrastructure and intergovernmental relationships, which are all key elements in economic growth and development. As mayor I would collaborate with my colleagues to find solutions to eliminate property taxes for seniors over the age of 65. I would also review regulatory structure, availability of adequate workers, quality of life in the community, educational opportunities and relationships with local businesses to advance the growth and development of Missouri City.

What is your vision for the future of Missouri City?

My vision is to establish quality of life for all citizens. As mayor, I will fight for the safety of our residents, civil service protection for our first responders, and easing the regulatory and tax burdens on new and existing businesses.

This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.