Sunday, May 26, 2024

Falcon challenges Estes for spot on Azle City Council


AZLE — Three Azle City Council positions are up for election May 4. Incumbents Rouel Rothenberger Jr. in Place 5 and Derrick Nelson of Place 1 are each running unopposed while Place 2 council member Amy Estes faces a challenge from Jake Falcon. Azle City Council approves new ordinances and makes decisions on development in the city. Members are also in charge of adopting a city budget every year as well as the tax rate.

Election Day is Saturday, May 4, and early voting runs Monday, April 22 through Tuesday, April 30. The Tri-County Reporter asked the candidates vying for Place 2 on the Azle City Council to tell us about themselves and their goals. Check out their responses listed in alphabetical order.

Name: Amy Estes

Position you are running for:  Re-election for Azle City Council Place 2

Occupation: High School Teacher/ Coach

Education:  As a proud alum of Azle ISD, I attended Eagle Heights Elementary, Azle Elementary, Azle Junior High and Azle High School. I was active in sports, particularly swimming and track and field. Post high school graduation, I earned a track and field scholarship to Oklahoma State University. Subsequently I attained a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and sociology from Midwestern State University. I later continued my studies in education, obtaining dual teacher certifications in Texas and Hawaii. These accomplishments and continued efforts underscore my unwavering commitment to professional growth and educational excellence.

Community Involvement: As the incumbent in Azle City Council Place 2, I currently serve on the Municipal Development District board and the Special Events board. I am also actively involved in updating the Comprehensive Master Plan, which will guide the future growth and development of our great city. As head swim coach at Azle High School, I am involved in other community events such as the Azle Cleanup Day, Sting Fling, Azle Homecoming Parade and Christmas on Main Street. Additionally, I volunteer as a coach for ABSA 6U softball team, teaching our youth the importance of sportsmanship and community togetherness.

Family: I am the daughter of Harland and the late Judy Estes. From a young age, my parents instilled in me the values of hard work, honesty, trustworthiness and moral integrity. They led by example, demonstrating tenacity and perseverance in their everyday lives, which have become guiding principles for me.

Alongside my older sister, Lisa, and my younger brother, Bradley, his wife Emily, and their daughter Lilly, we form a close-knit family unit. Together, my sister and I have taken on the responsibility of caring for our father, a combat Marine veteran, who requires daily assistance in our home.

Why I’m running for Azle City Council:  I am running for Azle City Council Place 2 because I want to preserve the uniqueness of this great city. It is no secret that Azle is growing, but we can grow responsibly — protecting the aspects that make Azle the friendly and welcoming small city it is, while addressing the needs and issues of a developing city. I grew up in this town and have always had a deep affection for Azle. I received unwavering support from its citizens during my high school and collegiate athletic pursuits, and now it is my turn to give back. Being on Azle City Council for the last two years has been a privilege, and I have used that time wisely, enacting ways to improve the quality of life for the citizens such as opening the splash pad at Central Park, updating the Comprehensive Master Plan, creating a donation bin ordinance, increasing the minimum lot size of new homes to help alleviate the strain on our infrastructure, and opening a food truck park. While I am proud of these accomplishments, I know there is still much work to be done. I believe in the adage “be the change,” and I will do whatever I can to make sure the changes that come are good changes and that Azle keeps its small-town feel.

Goals that will help serve residents in Azle:  As part of my time on Azle City Council, one of the objectives I had was the revision of the Comprehensive Master Plan. I am pleased to report that significant progress has been made, and we are currently engaged in the development of a new Comprehensive Master Plan for Azle. This endeavor aims to furnish a comprehensive roadmap to inform and guide long-term planning initiatives within our community.

For the future, I look forward to the implementation portion of the Comprehensive Master Plan where we can work to effect positive change and cultivate a thriving environment that benefits our citizens and businesses. One of my main focal points will be working toward establishing a community center and recreational facility intended to cater to our growing community, spanning from our youth to our esteemed senior citizen population.

In addition, other goals include encouraging economic incentives to bring more businesses to our city to lessen the tax burden on our citizens, examining ways to lessen the traffic congestion in certain areas on our roads, and search for additional ways to enhance the quality of life of our citizens.

I greatly appreciate your support and look forward to serving the Azle citizens for another two-year term.

Name: Jake Falcon

Position you are running for:  Council Place 2

Occupation: Law Enforcement and Texas Army National Guard

In 100 words or less, tell us about your education. I graduated high school in 2005 and joined the Marine Corps right after. I attended and graduated Utah State University with a B.A. in political science and am currently working on an M.A. in political science at Texas Tech.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your community Involvement. I participate in many of the events that are hosted by the city, but I have preferred to support rather than be in the spotlight. I prefer to help people on an individual level as much as I can to demonstrate how to build a strong community by working together.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your family. I live with my girlfriend and our two kids, one in elementary school and one in high school. I grew up farming and ranching which has led our family to start a small homestead that provides food for ourselves and neighbors. We love spending a lot of time together playing board games, D&D and outdoor activities.

In 300 words or less, describe why you are running for Azle City Council, and what experience you are bringing to the position. With Azle growing in the last few years, I am concerned that the City has a larger focus on revenue rather than improving the lives of the people of Azle. This focus is easily seen as you drive into Azle with the more industrial look to the town rather than a thriving community. After speaking with Azle residents, and attending council meetings, it appears that our town’s current city council members are more concerned with other matters rather than community interests. As the elected leaders of our community, that is unacceptable. It can be time consuming and difficult to hear all the concerns of your constituents, but that is the role of an elected official and our city council needs to be revived with new voices that answer to the people of Azle, for the people of Azle.

I have studied politics since I left active duty but chose the path of law enforcement to better serve the people as well as the National Guard to serve all of Texas. Working for a larger city has afforded me the opportunity to work with multiple departments within a government, politicians, and local, state and federal authorities.

In 300 words or less, what goals do you have that you feel will help serve residents in Azle? I want to help reduce crime in Azle by working with the police department to bring training and equipment that will allow our officers to better serve our community. I hope to connect the department and the city with the resources they need that will keep costs to taxpayers low and provide quality and effective products that will help officers take on the challenges of modern policing. A highly trained and well-disciplined police force builds confidence in the community that officers will keep them safe and deter criminal activity.

Azle ISD has seen a frightening increase in threats of violence to our children while they are getting an education. I plan to work with Azle ISD to provide training for first responders, staff and parents to build the confidence that their children are safe and prevent would-be evil from harming our future. A well-prepared community deters violence by standing ready to safeguard the future generations of Azle: our children.

I want to get the citizens more involved in our local government to ensure elected leaders are transparent with all decisions. I want to focus on improving the community and the lives of the people of Azle and give all citizens a way to connect with council members to voice their concerns easily. More importantly, I want their concerns to be heard and addressed by the people they elect to represent them.

I am going to review regulations, policies and ordinances that impose unreasonable restrictions or hardships on our community. The people of Azle have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without being over-regulated by policy. Ordinances need to be regularly assessed to ensure they do not cause undue burden on individual independence or infringe upon our way of life.