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 interview will run separately.
Terri Deans has lived in Copperas Cove for more than a decade. Yet, in some ways, she still feels like people see her as an outsider.
Deans has lived in Copperas Cove since 2003, moving here from North Carolina, where she worked for the Army Corps of Engineers.
“It was very difficult raising teenage girls in a resort community,” Deans said. “There’s a lack of family activities for young people in a resort area. We really needed to get our girls out of there. So when I was offered a job at Fort Hood, I not only saw it as a good career move, but a better move for our family, to get them off that beach.”
She and her husband have been married for 34 years, and they’ve raised five kids together. They also have nine grandkids.
“Copperas Cove is a small city, and that appealed to us a great deal and it still appeals to me now,” Deans said. “I don’t think bigger is better, I think that you get a much better quality of life in a smaller city.. That’s one of the things that has kept us anchored to Copperas Cove.”
Deans is a familiar face at council meetings, speaking often during the public forum on issues such as the city’s contract with Fathom, as well as emergency preparedness. But the decision to run for council came about when the special election for Place 7 was announced in August.
“There are times when events lead up to that moment when you say ‘you know, this is the right thing for me to do,’” Deans said in an interview. “I need to step up and see if I can make this work.”
She felt that, after attending three years of council meetings, she could bring some new blood to the proceedings.
“We as a city tend to reelect the same people, the same types of people over and over and over again. In my opinion, some of the changes we can affect in this city are being stymied by...the same people being put into office. I can’t help but think if we had better representation across all socio-economic backgrounds, and not just people who are longtime Cove-ites...that maybe we can get some changes in the city to make it more appealing for families.
“If we can’t make it more appealing for families, then we can’t make it more appealing for businesses to come set up shop with us because we can’t show them that we have something to offer to them and their family.”
Some of the changes Deans would like to see include a better senior center, more work on the city park system, more activities for middle school-age children and a better public transportation system that services the entire city.
“It breaks my heart to hear people say ‘well, we go into Killeen for this, that and the other thing.’ That’s not what we need. We need for people to say we love what we have right here.”
Deans has been publicly advocating better emergency preparedness for years. She spoken on the issue many times during the public forum at City Council meetings. After living through several weather related emergencies in North Carolina, she knows how being prepared can be the difference between life and death.
“Knowing what to do, how to do it, where to go and what to take with you is the big difference between bouncing back and being resilient and being helpless and being part of the recovery problem.”
Deans has also been outspoken on her dissatisfaction with the city’s agreement with Fathom. She wants the city to renegotiate its contract with the company, but realizes there is a need to move forward and address other issues.
“Fathom is still a battle worth fighting,” Deans said, “in the respect that we need to continue to hold their feet to the fire…(but) in order to move forward, we need to accept the fact that we do have a plan in place and, slowly but surely, it is taking off in making sure that Fathom does what it’s supposed to do.
“We can’t keep looking back. Looking back is only going to create more problems in the future.”
Deans wants to see more cooperation, more communication and more consideration for everyone in Copperas Cove.
“If you’re a citizen of Copperas Cove, what you have to say and what you feel about our city matters, and you should be taken into consideration and taken seriously. We have such a potential to be the most amazing little city...so let’s do it.
“Let’s quit dreaming and quit talking about it and let’s just do it.”