City council elections for Place 1 and Place 2 take place May 5.
We asked each candidate the question:
What are your goals for Abilene’s college students and recent graduates?
Clinton Embry, Robertson Unit nurse
“My goals for the students of our colleges here in Abilene would be for them to be able to retain jobs in Abilene and become residents here. Right now Abilene does not offer much in the way of incentives for students to stay after graduation. The average age of the residents in Abilene is thirty-three years of age, so, obviously, we need new ideas from a younger generation of citizens. Abilene needs more input and representation from the students attending colleges here as to what would keep them living and working here. I, as a council member, would welcome them to give their input into the council meetings. It is obvious jobs, wages, and activities for younger people here is a must in order keep college living and working here. I would encourage these students to get involved in every aspect in the community, not be shy about getting involved in community service, sharing their voices and ideas with those on the City Council. Their input could only help Abilene thrive.”
Incumbent Shane Price, vice president of development at Bookstore Manager Inc.
“I believe Abilene is a great place to live. However, I also recognize that it is not the best place to live for everyone. Plus, what appeals to or is important to one group may be basically meaningless to another. To make living in Abilene attractive to everyone, including college students and graduates, we must have a stable water supply….We implemented some strategies that expanded our water supply to include a fourth reservoir, and we continue working towards having a new reservoir built several miles north of Lake Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir….In addition to a stable, clean water supply, people want to feel safe where they live. This includes a well-trained and properly equipped police department and fire department. Not quite as visible is our health department that works on public health issues like providing vaccinations, initial health screenings for refugees being placed in the Abilene and Midland areas, the Healthy Texas Women program, and breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings, to name a few.”
Incumbent Bruce Kreitler, owner of Broken Willow Tree Service
“I don’t have different goals or priorities for college students than any other citizen. I would like for Abilene to be an attractive place for students to come. College students know a lot about college debt and I’m sure that is constantly on your mind, but what you don’t realize, is that governments saddle you with that as well. That’s up to us to make sure we don’t keep increasing it. Right now, here in Abilene, every man, woman and child carries $3,600 of civic debt in the city of Abilene. I would remind college students of that a lot of that comes from projects where the stated goal was “Hey, we’ve gotta keep this community in good shape for future generations.” We borrow the money but we send the debt to you. The answer is do things better for everybody.”
Alex Russell, owner of Oddly Natural
“My main goal is to get them registered to vote and voting. As far as after graduation, it’s to keep them in Abilene and find them a job. We’re working with Abilene Young Professionals and Campus Connect to pair students with young professionals in their industry. We’re trying to open up building opportunities so young entrepreneurs can have a place to come in and renovate instead of having to build a new building.”
Jack Rentz, owner of Rentech Boiler Systems
“Meaningful jobs. Business creates meaningful jobs, the city council doesn’t, but we hope that we can create meaningful jobs to help people. We’ve got to have businesses to create those jobs. Some people think its all about quality of life but at some point a meaningful job takes precedent over that.”