Early voting started Tuesday, May 29 and will continue on weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through Tuesday, June 5, at the Red Oak Municipal Center, 200 Lakeview Parkway in Red Oak for the run-off election for City Council Place 2, including incumbent Ben Goodwyn and Dawn Little as candidates.

Early voting will be held from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, June 4 and Tuesday, June 5 at the Red Oak Municipal Center.

Election day voting will be held from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, June 9 at the Red Oak Municipal Center.

Applications for ballot by mail should be mailed to Judy Grant, early voting clerk, P.O. Box 393, Red Oak, TX 75154. Applications should be received no later than the close of business Friday, June 1.

The Ellis County Chronicle posed questions to Place 2 city council candidates Dawn Little and incumbent Ben Goodwyn. Following are their responses.

Ben Goodwyn

Chronicle: What do you want to accomplish as a member of the Red Oak City Council? What issues do you want to address?

Goodwyn: I want Red Oak to once again be the most desirable place in Ellis County for people and businesses to move. It seems that in the last few years, Red Oak has fallen behind our neighbors to the north, DeSoto and Lancaster, and to the south Waxahachie in terms of economic growth. Last month, Waxahachie netted a JCPenney and an Olive Garden, which will no doubt receive many Red Oak residents’ sales tax money. These monies will help Waxa-hachie grow, not Red Oak. Its time we started getting these types of businesses instead of just talking about or listening to rumors.

I would also look to the renovation of the older sections of Red Oak; particularly, along Main and the State Highway 342 corridor. This area has long been neglected. The widening of Red Oak Road, Main Street, the addition of drainage along with the recently completed “Downtown Vision Plan” should help to increase property values and to rejuvenate a long over-looked area. The city now needs to include this area into their Vision 2020 Plan and designate municipal building locations near the future center of the city, rather than next door to Oak Leaf and Ovilla. The city center should be near the center of the city, not on the extreme western borders. With almost 100,000 vehicles on I-35 daily, future development of the I-35 corridor is not a question. The area which needs the council’s special attention is the city center along the rail line in the center of Red Oak.

Chronicle: How can the city improve the quality of life for the various age groups in Red Oak, such as senior citizens, young families and children?

Goodwyn: I am proud to have been able to vote for a tax freeze for seniors in the city of Red Oak, I believe that this is a quality of life issue because that money saved will buy everyday items. Further, I would like to see the city fund activities for our senior citizens. It would seem that we could finance quarterly trips to museums or other areas of interests for our elder citizens. The cost would be very minimal and the delight of our seniors would be over whelming.

The younger families want a city that can provide them with shopping and dinning options and we all need more parks and better sports facilities. I would like to see us continue with the inter-connected trail system and in a short while begin concentrating on a much need sports complex/community center.

Chronicle: What type of businesses do you want to see in Red Oak?

Goodwyn: Grocery stores, shopping malls, theaters, office complexes and high tech businesses that provide quality jobs for our citizens and help the rest of the local community thrive.

Chronicle: Should the city of Red Oak assume an increased role in regional issues, working closely with other municipalities to improve northern Ellis and southern Dallas Counties as a whole? What positive and negative effects would such an action have on Red Oak?

Goodwyn: As the chairmen of the Red Oak Area Chamber of Commerce, an officer in the Lions Club, as well as a city councilman, I have continually stressed the importance of working together to move our community forward. The recent ROISD bond election is another excellent example of community involvement. One of the main reason families move to a city is their schools. Red Oak has one of, if not the best, in the county. Passing the bond was of prime importance for the future of the northern Ellis County area, Red Oak and its citizens.

Further, the northern Ellis County area is primed for major growth in the near future. Red Oak should spearhead a Northern Ellis County coalition including cities such as Ovilla, Oak Leaf, Glenn Heights, Pecan Hill, Ferris, Palmer and Rockett. Collectively, we could positively effect our futures much better than each individually. Politically we would be much stronger in the county and in this region.

Dawn Little

Chronicle: What do you want to accomplish as a member of the Red Oak City Council? What issues do you want to address?

Little: As a member of the city council I would want to be a part of a “united” team who achieves common goals within our community which would benefit our citizens and maintain the quality of life we have in Red Oak.

City council should be a place where citizens and business owners come to discuss issues in a fair and open manner. In the council chambers, each person should be dealt with equally and treated with respect: citizens, fellow council members and city staff, alike. I would expect the city council to govern our city ethically and morally together.

I would like to address issues related to the eminent growth of our city, beautification efforts and quality of life for our citizens. I believe we must carefully manage the growth of our future with proficient building standards and quality development projects. Beautification will be important as we continue to identify our community as the “most desirable city south of the Dallas-Fort Worth region” as mentioned in Red Oak’s Vision 2020.

Chronicle: What do you think is the most overlooked problem in the City of Red Oak?

Little: In most communities it is common to see older, more developed neighborhoods lose the attention and care of the city. But, the Red Oak community should take more pride in assisting those neighborhoods and businesses, in caring for and maintaining their property values. Common areas, entry walls, streets and signage are examples of things which frequently go unnoticed. Also, neighbors helping neighbors in times of need are something which is many times overlooked. I believe we can do a better job working in those areas.

Chronicle: How can the city improve the quality of life for the various age groups in Red Oak, such as senior citizens, young families and children?

The options for improving the quality of life for these various age groups are virtually unlimited. However, I believe it will be important for us to prioritize these projects based on the significance of each project to our citizens. Based on community input, we can continue to implement park and recreation improvements, such as extending our trail and sidewalk system throughout the city and developing a recreation center for all ages (as already planned for the future). Other items for consideration should be a senior citizens center and the expansion of our Red Oak Public Library.

Chronicle: What type of businesses do you want to see in Red Oak?

Little: As our city grows, I would want to see more medical services such as outpatient services, urgent and emergency care facilities come. Since medical offices, banking, technology, insurance and investments, real estate, hotels, and light industry are all key components of a thriving employment base, I feel these are all important for Red Oak’s future. We should promote a high quality local workforce, which will then attract the desirable retail and restaurant establishments for which we’ve all been waiting. It will be important for us to consider each new business coming to Red Oak and how it will fit within our community.

Chronicle: Should the city of Red Oak assume an increased role in regional issues, working closely with other municipalities to improve northern Ellis and southern Dallas Counties as a whole? What positive and negative effects would such an action have on Red Oak?

Little: I definitely believe the city of Red Oak should increase its role in regional issues. Issues such as education, immigration, congestion, transportation and air quality, water quality, police and fire protection training and sustainable development projects are all areas in which we can work together. Teaming with other municipalities to improve our county, as well as southern Dallas County, can only produce positive effects for all of us.