Three candidates are vying for Killeen’s top-elected post.
Two former councilmen — Scott Cosper and Richard “Dick” Young — and retiree Hal Butchart are competing to fill Mayor Dan Corbin’s post after he decided not to seek re-election.
Here is a look at the candidates in the order they appear on the May 10 ballot and the issues they see at the forefront of the city.
Richard “Dick” Young
Richard “Dick” Young, 61, a local small-business owner, said he had been eyeing the seat for a “long time,” and felt like now was the right time to run.
He served on the Killeen City Council from 2000 to 2006 and said he is ready to continue with his vision for the city.
“We did a lot of great things when I was on the council,” he said. “If you look at most of the new things that happened in Killeen, they happened during the time I served: the airport, the conference center, the hike and bike trail, the senior citizens center, the state (veterans) cemetery. ... Those things were all completed or started under our term.”
Young said apathy is the biggest challenge facing the city.
“We have a highly transient population. People are here and they really are here for a short enough time, and they don’t get the sense of (staying) that they should,” he said. “I think that we need to change the way that we present ourselves to our citizens. I think that we need to be a more open, loving, caring community that has opportunities for everyone.”
Young said he considers himself the best candidate for the post because he can “devote 100 percent of my time to the citizens of Killeen.”
“That’s what they deserve,” he said. “They don’t deserve someone who is going to be off taking care of other things. They need someone who is going to be accountable; someone who is going to be approachable. I can devote my time to this and I think that has been sorely missed.”
Scott Cosper, 45, a local business owner, said he decided to run to continue serving the city he’s “worked hard” for over the past 14 years in various capacities.
He has served on numerous boards, including the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, the foundation board for Texas A&M University-Central Texas and the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization policy board.
He was elected to the council from 2000 to 2006, returning in 2008 and serving as mayor pro tem until the November 2011 recall, which unseated him and four other council members.
“That was a trying time in our city’s past,” Cosper said. “Unfortunately, we were in a situation that had no good answers. ... We did what we thought was best at the time and we have moved forward.”
Cosper said the biggest challenge he sees in the city is its water capacity.
“We are very close to triggering a mandate with (the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) to have to construct a new water plant and provide additional capacity,” he said.
“... I know the city has plans that are currently in progress to address that issue, but we need to go all the way into finalizing the agreements with (Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1) and get the plant under construction.”
Cosper said he believes his accomplishments make him the best candidate to fulfill the city’s mayoral duties.
“I am certain that I have the ability to lead the city,” he said. “I am excited about the opportunity to continue moving our community forward with (its) great low cost of living and the opportunity for people to live the American dream right here in Killeen.”
Harold “Hal” Butchart
Harold “Hal” Butchart, 65, a retiree, said he is the only candidate running for mayor who isn’t “tied to the past and I’m not hiding from my council voting record as my two opponents are.”
“Our city council has made some real mistakes in the past,” he said. “I truly want to serve. I’m not a politician; they are. My only job will be serving the people of Killeen.”
Butchart said the city has several issues to overcome, but the biggest challenge is its business climate.
“Our sales tax rebates declined again because we’re no longer friendly to businesses,” he said. “Business is going to Harker Heights and Copperas Cove.”
He said other issues he would address, if elected, include traffic and crime rates.
“We need a real traffic engineer whose dedicated duty is dealing with the traffic in Killeen, and just as important, we need to approach crime,” Butchart said.
“I think we need to start at the top and replace the chief or have the chief retire, (and) get a professional law enforcement officer who will demand professionalism on the entire police force.”
Butchart said the political climate in Killeen also needs to be addressed.
“(Residents) have lost hope in their city. Our city isn’t hopeless,” he said.
“We can make a better city, and I personally will make it my only job to be the mayor and to do the very best I can for Killeen.”
Butchart said the final issue on his agenda is to change the city’s charter so the mayor and council posts are paid positions.
Contact Natalie Stewart at email@example.com or 254-501-7555