Bradi Diaz laughs when asked what she’s learned that will make her second term as Copperas Cove mayor different from her first term more than a decade ago.
“Patience,” Diaz said. “Listening to concerns. I think I did a good job as mayor before, but I think maybe (there’s) a maturity as well.”
Diaz said last week that she’s already working with city employees on the nuts and bolts on returning to the mayor’s office.
“(We’re) trying to coordinate calendars,” Diaz said. She’s been in touch with Interim City Manager Ryan Haverlah and Public Information Officer Kevin Keller to start blocking off the time she’ll need to do city business once she’s officially the mayor.
That will happen officially on May 21. The Copperas Cove City Council certified the results of the April 27 special election at its Tuesday meeting, paving the way for Diaz to be sworn in.
Diaz received more than 60% of the vote in winning a special election to succeed former Copperas Cove Mayor Frank Seffrood.
Diaz is, at 50, at a different point in her life than she was in 2004, when she became the youngest person and first woman to ever hold the Copperas Cove mayor’s post.
She graduated from Tarleton State University in 1991 with a degree in business and immediately moved into a position with working in her family’s property management operation.
Her Facebook campaign profile indicates she found her love for community service in 1994, when she was appointed to the city’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. She ran for city council and won in 2000, then became mayor in 2004. Issues such as land annexation, growing the city’s tax base, the U.S. 190 bypass and rising utility costs dotted her tenure.
After losing her reelection bid to Roger O’Dwyer in 2007, she focused on her family and her business interests, but continued to be involved in community service on various community boards. Prior to her reelection, she was serving as a director on the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce and the Coryell County Central Appraisal District, and as a member of the Coryell County Economic Development Board.
HER BIGGEST CHALLENGE
Diaz believes the toughest challenge she faces in returning to the mayor’s chair is living up to the standard set by former Mayor Frank Seffrood.
“He set such a high bar,” Diaz said, “as far as the time commitment and just doing his level-best to just go to everything you’re asked to go to.
“He was amazing at doing that and loved doing that, and did such a great job.”
Diaz said her full-time job and other commitments will affect how she handles the challenge. But she notes that her children are now grown and she’s grown adept at handling a tight schedule.
“I’ve always stayed busy, so I’ve always had ... calendar obligations to one committee or the other,” Diaz said. “So it won’t be too much of a learning curve. But being the mayor, you have the council meetings and the outside commitments...once I get those on the calendar, then I can figure out where my personal times lie between all of that.”
Diaz said her first priority is getting up to speed on what’s happening with the city council and the city government.
“There’s a lot of information that you’re just not privy to unless you are the mayor,” Diaz said. “I know there are some legislative issues that are in the works for the city of Copperas Cove and our area that are of concern. So that’s one of the first things I want to get briefed on.”
Diaz campaigned on her experience in local and regional government and the relationships she’s built over the last two decades. She plans to use those relationships to help work on issues important to the city.
But she also hopes to carry out the will of the voters who elected her.
“A lot of them just want to see the Copperas Cove get better,” Diaz said. “They want to see (the city) grow, They want to see new and neat and fun things come to Copperas Cove, and that dovetails with the economic development that I ran on.”
BUSINESS 190 AND FATHOM
Two issues that keep popping up at the city council’s citizens forum are the proposed Business 190 median project and customer issues Fathom, the city’s third-party utility service provider.
“I can see a definite improvement,” Diaz said when asked about customer complaints about Fathom. She said she has dealt with the company directly because of properties she manages in Copperas Cove.
“Is it perfect? No. But it’s definitely better than it was before. It still needs work, and I think the interim city manager (and the city council) is dedicated to...making sure we get the best customer service for the citizens.”
As far at the Business 190 project, Diaz doesn’t think anything is set in stone at this point.
“If the project happens, there are ways to make it a better project,” Diaz said. “I don’t think we should just accept it as it is.”
The mayor-elect said citizens have been giving input and that the project engineers have shown they are willing to listen and make changes.
“I don’t think it’s a project that should be totally scrapped, but I think there is somewhere we can (compromise) where we solve some of the traffic issues that we have, do some beautification, and not totally change the entire landscaping of Highway 190.”
Diaz plans to work hard to keep Copperas Cove moving forward.
“We’re always on that cusp of being a little bit bigger, a little bit better, (and I) just want to be a part of making that happen.”
firstname.lastname@example.org | 254-501-7568