MIDLOTHIAN — Small business owner and Midlothian resident T.J. Henley is running for Midlothian City Council Place 5, being vacated by Hank Miller in May.

Henley is running unopposed as Wayne Nance, his opponent, withdrew on Thursday, March 8. Since Place 6 is contested, an election for the council seat will be held May 12.

Henley is currently serving his second year on the Park Board, is the owner of Prime Lending in Red Oak, is a U.S. Marine Reserves veteran and has lived in Midlothian for 10 years.

He was first interested in Midlothian city government, because of his education from Texas A&M in economics and finances. He participated in Leadership Midlothian as a Midlothian Chamber of Commerce member and learned the ins and outs of the city’s economy and businesses.

“In 2009, I went through the chamber of commerce’s Leadership Midlothian and saw how the city works and learned about aspects I was not aware of. That and my background in economics and finances really piqued my interest in serving in the city government,” he said.

Henley also said he wants to be a part of the decisions process to make Midlothian a great community for decades to come.

“I’m passionate about Midlothian and the community, because I want this community to be where my children want to raise my grandchildren. Any way that I can be a part of that, I want to get involved,” he said. “I want to be a part of and help the council make the best decisions for the 18,000 people in this city. I believe the city has a lot of questions coming up about the future to answer, and I want to help.”

Henley believes one of those future questions fast approaching is how to handle Midlothian’s growth.

“The city has a lot of potential to grow as the economy recovers, and I believe we should have a fair and balanced approach,” he said. “We need to be fair to all potential business owners to see if they fit in our community and can bring in jobs. We shouldn’t take in every business, but have a fair and balanced approach and platform for all future businesses. Growing for the sakes of growth is not good.”

Henley said he is for bringing in a variety of businesses to further diversify Midlothian’s economy, ensuring greater safety against economic hardships, increasing the tax base and relieving the pressure of property taxes on homeowners in Midlothian. He said growth will keep the city viable and the approach the city takes can maintain the small town values that are so important to the community.

“I believe a lot of people have good growth concerns, and we don’t want to undo what has been done. We want to keep with the dream of making Midlothian a place where our grandchildren can live and enjoy the same small town values that are so important to our community,” Henley said.

He also praised the city’s police and fire departments for the great job that they are doing for the city.

“My dad is a retired police officer, so I’m aware of the importance of having quality fire and police departments to keep our citizens safe and for the betterment of the city. We need to keep them strong and we have done a great job of doing that so far,” Henley said.

He also thanked the Historical Advisory Board and Midlothian Area Historical Society for their efforts to see that the history of Midlothian remains a part of the growing community’s future culture.

“One of the things I like about Midlothian is that there is an avenue for whatever your passion. Our historical preservation group sees that our past remains part of our future. Our past now is the future and today is our future past. The master gardeners have done a lot of great things for our parks and recently volunteered at Mockingbird Park. We also have a great art community, and everywhere you look people in Midlothian have avenues to express their passions. The city has already recognized the importance of that and set up a platform for these groups.”

Henley was a freshman at Texas A&M University when his parents moved to Midlothian in 1990. He later moved to Midlothian and has lived in the community for 10 years, raising a family with his wife, Wendy. They have a 13-year-old son Caleb, and 10-year-old daughter, Zoe, who are both involved in gymnastics. T.J. volunteers at weekly men’s ministry, Texas Band of Brothers, of which he is a former board member and guest speaker. He and his wife are marriage mentors at Trinity Church in Cedar Hill. T.J. has owned and operated Prime Lending for 10 years, which recently relocated from Midlothian to Red Oak as a preferred partner for John Houston Homes.

Contact Aaron at 469-517-1456 or a.schwaderer@wninews.com.