City Council Place 5 candidate questionnaire: Travis M. Smith
Waxahachie City Council candidate Travis M. Smith answers questions for the May 1 election
Name: Travis M. Smith
Current profession: Business Consultant
Elected office sought: Waxahachie City Council, Place 5
Previous political experience: regional campaign director for 2012 POTUS campaign; 2014 campaign director for a mayoral campaign; grassroots director for 2020 state representative campaign
Family: Bit of a loaded fill-in-the-blank. Local grandparents include Chuck and Maxine Anderson and Ron and Lois Griffith. Patty and Dale Smith (parents). Chris and Susan Rominger, Craig and Rhonda Anderson, Scott Anderson, Debbie and Rick Hollabaugh, Andy Griffith, Danny and Sheryl Griffith, John Griffith (aunts and uncles). Siblings are Deann and Eric Wells, Jeffery and Stephanie Smith, and Brian Smith.
Why are you seeking this office?
Waxahachie has always been home and I don’t intend for that to change. What is changing, however, is home. We are experiencing unprecedented growth and an increased need for transparency, energy and restored trust in our City Hall. The work of the Council to address responsible growth over the past two decades-plus has been fantastic and is absolutely commendable.
My goal is to continue those efforts but with a renewed energy and focus on preemptive infrastructure expansions/repairs, reinvestment into Historic Downtown and the Waxahachie Trail cultural district, and a focus on responsible growth that anticipates new homeowners while also keeping Waxahachie’s small-town charm.
What distinguishes you from other candidates for this office?
The two other candidates for Place 5 are vastly different. Mr. Beatty is one of the most respected men in our City’s history, and there is no questioning that fact. He is one of the leaders who has gotten us to this “pivot” point. My hope is to continue and build upon his fantastic efforts, especially when it comes to Waxahachie East and greenspaces. Personally, I feel that I’ll bring a renewed energy and fresh mindset to the council, much as Mr. Beatty did in 1995.
As for Mr. Robinson, his actions speak for themselves. We cannot allow divisiveness, especially from our younger leaders, onto any council, board or commission. There is simply no room for it.
What do you consider the key issues of this election?
We must ensure that the city continues to grow responsibly over the ensuing 3-5 years. The population boom isn’t going to come to a halt or even a trickle anytime soon. The Council and City must ensure that we address our roadway arteries where possible, approve opportunities for truly affordable housing that will attract younger, successful and educated citizens, and address infrastructure needs — which includes working with Waxahachie ISD on its expansion or first response investments, just as much as it does improving water or electrical movement.
What are the greatest challenges facing the city and how do you plan to address those challenges, if elected?
The City and Council need to be proactive — not reactive — when it comes to critical infrastructures, especially when it comes to water sanitation and electrical substations. We cannot continue to rely on winning eBay bids to replace critical components on our water treatment plant or allow for our citizens to continue relying on a single plant that has been patchworked at best. There are currently 6,500 new home plots/apartment dwellings approved, which will raise our population by 20,000-22,000 residents over the next 3-5 years on a conservative estimation.
We also must refocus our efforts on not only revitalizing historic downtown but investing into its future and the potential to boast our own version of “The Katy Trail.” Between the old hospital site that has been, for all intents and purposes, gifted to the City and the area underneath the new viaduct project that will soon become available, the Council will have a unique opportunity to reshape our historic downtown area into a true cultural district that will only prove to further aid our downtown merchants, who are the lifeblood of maintaining our hometown feel and pride.
What do you most want to make sure voters know about you?
My love for Waxahachie, its residents and those who hope to one day call it home, is very real and rivaled by few. I was not only raised inside three family-owned small businesses, but I’ve had the pleasure and honor to learn those same traits of hard work, pride and community service from various family friends and their places of business. The downtown Waxahachie area will always have a special place in my heart, as that is where my family had their small businesses operating simultaneously during the late-1990s and early 2000s.
However, I am also a realist and recognize the growth that has avalanched onto our city. I pride myself on being a listener and the first to ask questions, while also always remaining humble enough to know that I am not the smartest person in the room. Through my family and hometown connections, I’m fully confident that I can lean on those who came before me and make the best, most educated decisions for the future of Waxahachie.