Three spots are opening on the Florence City Council in May, and the initial field of candidates had five people.
Since the election filings, one candidate, Franklin Gabriel Baker, withdrew his candidacy and another will not be eligible.
“I asked to withdraw my name but was too late to officially withdraw,” said Lori Enright. “But I will be moving out of the area so I would not be eligible to run.”
The Herald sent a few questions to council incumbents Lesa Ragsdale and Richard Sloan Moon, and newcomer Amanda Dawn Vance.
Moon, a retired medical doctor, was elected the council in 2013. Ragsdale, the director of transportation for the Florence school district, has been on the council since 2012. Vance will be a newcomer to the council, but she is a familiar face to many in Florence through her volunteer work.
Question 1: Tell me about yourself and your background.
Moon: We moved to Florence 40 years ago because I wanted to practice medicine in a small town. I’m now retired with time to contribute to the city.
Ragsdale: We moved here in 1990 because it was the halfway point between Georgetown and Fort Hood and it’s just a good place to raise our three kids.
Vance: I am a 38-year-old single mom. I currently care for children in my home and I volunteer wherever I can. My two main volunteer jobs are as the Florence Elementary School PTA Treasurer and a Blue Santa Thrift Store employee. I’m a lifelong resident of Florence, where my mother was raised and my son will be the third generation to graduate as a Florence Buffalo.
Question 2: What prompted you to become involved in city leadership?
Moon: After two terms on the Florence City Council, I’m familiar with the issues, the complexities, and the possibilities here in Florence. I believe I can continue to make a difference.
Ragsdale: Several citizens asked me to run for city council.
Vance: In recent years I’ve come to learn a lot about our city workings through volunteer work and attending council meetings. It’s important to me to invest in the city because I’m raising a baby Florence Buffalo. What better way to be a part of the city you love than to be a leader? I can’t wait to be a voice!
Question 3: What is the number one thing you want to accomplish as a city leader, and how would you accomplish it?
Moon: Besides assuring an adequate supply of water, I’d like to see the completion of a community swim center. We have a grant for part of the cost and are gathering donations to complete it.
Ragsdale: I would like to enlarge our city limits to bring more homes into a larger tax base. This would help us fix roads, water and sewer lines without raising taxes on our citizens.
Vance: My number one goal as a city leader is to get people involved and have their voices heard. This is our city! I want to learn how it works, share how it works, and get people working on a better tomorrow.
Question 4: What issues are Florence residents facing and which ones are most important for you to help resolve?
Moon: Water. Water is, has been, and will be in the future the most important issue for Texas as a whole. It’s especially critical for small communities. Anyone who doesn’t understand that hasn’t been paying attention: water resources are less, the population is growing, and unchecked commercial and industrial usage has destroyed one aquifer after another.
Ragsdale: We were having water issues but we have connected with another water system so when our wells do go down we still have access to clean water. Our water and sewer lines need updating. We’re looking for grants to help with this. When this infrastructure is fixed then we can repair more roads.
Vance: I think our biggest issue as a city is because of communication. If the city and the people worked together we could be unstoppable, like a mighty herd. I plan on being the best line of communication I can be between people and the city.
Question 5: What is your vision for Florence? What do you love most about the city?
Moon: My vision for Florence is a healthy small town with a good mix of homeowner and rental residency, good schools, thriving local businesses and services, and water, food, and power security. What do I love most about Florence? The people.
Ragsdale: It’s a small town, so everybody knows you and will help you out if needed.
Vance: I love that my city is still a small town. In an overgrown world we still know each other, we still help our neighbors, we are a close-knit community. Bigger is not always better.