Editor’s note: This week, we conclude our series of interviews with the candidates for Copperas Cove City Council. Nine of the ten candidates were kind enough to sit down for extended interviews with Copperas Cove Herald editor David Perdue over the last few weeks to talk about why they decided to run. For our online edition, each candidate's interview is listed separately.
Place 5 City Council candidate Dianne Campbell grew up in Copperas Cove and then moved away to join her late husband, General Charles C. “Hondo” Campbell, at various posts around the world.
But she always wanted to come back.
“I could have lived anywhere,” Campbell said during an interview in late August at Lil’ Tex Restaurant. “I came back to Copperas Cove because this is my home.”
Campbell went to school in Copperas Cove and went on to work in the communications industry for 15 years. She promotes her experience with business-related organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Corporation and the Industrial Foundation.
“I did all of those things in the community where I raised my children, and the thing that motivated me to do it then and that motivates me now...really, two things: I love this city, I love my family, I want them to choose Copperas Cove to live because I want to be by them.” She laughed. “I’m selfish.
“They want to come home. Why? I think it is because we have family values. We have lots of opportunities for people to do things.”
“So if I want my children and my grandchildren, and I want soldiers and retired military to stay in this community and make this a great place, then we have to create jobs.”
Campbell said growing up and raising a family here gives her a sense of identity that she couldn’t find anywhere else. In fact, that’s part of the reason that she’s listed on the ballot as Dianne Yoho Campbell.
“I’m Dianne Campbell. Yoho is my maiden name. When I came back to Texas I put it on my driver’s license. I did that on the ballot for name recognition.
“When I came back, as an independent woman on my own, a widow, (I decided) I wanted to take back my maiden name, and so that’s what I did.
Campbell believes being gone from Copperas Cove for 19 years gives her a unique perspective.
“I’m excited about...the progress. I think because you live in it and you see it every day and it happened gradually, you don’t have a full appreciation for what has changed and the differences in the city. It’s amazing.
“I love the bypass. I love seeing the beauty of the valley. I’m proud of that. I think it shows part of the beauty of Copperas Cove that you miss if you just go down Highway 190.
“We are so strategically located...we’re at the edge of the Texas Hill Country. I invite people all the time to come to Copperas Cove and see the bluebonnets. You can go to Dallas for a day and come back. You can go to San Antonio for a day and come back. We are really centrally located. We really could be a great place for tourism...we’ve got the hotels, we’ve got the restaurants and the facilities.”
Campbell is unapologetically pro-business, supporting projects like the multi-modal truck-rail project and land swaps the city is currently working on with Fort Hood. She feels that expanding Copperas Cove’s tax base will help reduce the city’s reliance on property tax collections, which in turn could lower the overall property tax rate.
She’s also in favor of infrastructure projects like expanding the 190 Bypass to four lanes, as well as turning FM 2657 into a four lane road to the point it intersects with U.S. 183.
But Campbell is also excited by the people of Copperas Cove and their capacity for helping their community.
“Behind the scenes, there’s a lot of people doing wonderful things...you’re not going to necessarily see them at the council meeting or at a Chamber function. It takes a lot of people to do what we do in this community...to support families, to support those in need, to promote business, to promote the relationship with Fort Hood.
“There’s a lot of great things going on, they’re just not visible to everybody.”
Campbell feels that now is the time to invest in projects that will result in benefits years down the road.
“You’ve got to have a strategic vision. It doesn’t have to happen in our lifetime, but we’ve got to plant the seeds so that our children and our grandchildren will benefit.”