Three at-large seats are open on the Killeen City Council for the upcoming Nov. 3 election. Retired U.S. Army Capt. Ken Wilkerson said strategic thinking is important for the city’s long-term growth.
Name: Ken L. Wilkerson
Occupation: Retired Army captain
What neighborhood do you live in?: Purser Homes on the corner of Bunny Trail and Stan Schlueter Loop.
What was your upbringing and what brought you to the Killeen area? What is your education level?
I was born in Japan to an Army family, but my parents divorced when I was 5 after my father retired. I thus spent most of my developmental years growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, with my mother, where I graduated from Clarkston High School. I joined the Army at 17 and served for 27. I settled with my family in Killeen in 2008 while earning a Bachelor’s in Health Science from Campbell University, and later a Master’s in Management & Leadership from Webster University. Recently, I have completed an MBA from Texas A&M-Central Texas in May of this year.
What do you do for a living, and how did you get into the field you are in? If you are retired, what did you do?
My wife and I are both retired military officers with 24 and 27 years of military leadership experience, respectively. Since retiring, I have owned a business aimed at helping elementary and middle schools raise money through leadership and fitness development. I have also taught and coached at Copperas Cove High School. I currently serve as the president of the National Pan Hellenic Council and director of the local Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity’s Guide Right and Kappa League programs. I am also an NAACP member, and sit on the board of directors for Killeen Creators — a group focused on addressing the nutritional deficits of North Killeen through public gardening.
Have you run or served for a public office before? What office was it, and what was the outcome of the election? Why did you decide to run for a seat on the Killeen City Council?
I have not sought public office before. I decided to run now because it is critical that we elect officials that think and operate strategically to guide our city through this important phase of growth from a small military town into the preeminent city in Central Texas. As we evolve into a city that has to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse, educated, and energetic population, we need to ensure that we elect council members that possess the requisite skill set, education, and leadership experience to ensure we do so in a positive way. I am that leader.
If elected, what will be your priorities as a council member?
My major focus is the holistic economic development of Killeen. As we pass the 150,000 citizen threshold, we have to refocus our major industries from local hospitality and service sectors to being able to support major producers of products and services for the rest of our state and country. Killeen is uniquely qualified to provide a labor force that answers that call with our military background, CTC and Texas A&M-Central Texas Alumni, and our young and energetic workforce. This will improve income and quality-of-life for individuals, families, and our city at large. Killeen should become open for business on a regional, state, and national level for the future.
What do you want voters to know about you on a personal level?
I want voters to know that I am a pragmatic, skilled, and experienced leader with the best interest of Killeen’s future at heart. I don’t represent a small concerted group of business owners or social leaders, but the future of a diverse and energetic Killeen that has immense untapped potential to be the preeminent city in Central Texas. We are already the largest city in the region and still growing. Now, it’s time for Killeen to take its place as a leader in the prosperity of Central Texas.
What are your qualifications for this position?
Besides my educational background mentioned before, I have prospered and succeeded as a businessman, military leader, and community advocate for our youth for decades. I have been able to bring people together from diverse trains of thought to become an effective group. I am goal-oriented and have no arterial motives outside of making the lives of my fellow Killeen residents’ lives better.