I have just examined the platform on which Ginger Nelson is running for Amarillo mayor.
Three words come to mind: W. O. W!
My sense is that Nelson either possesses the greatest memory known to humankind or she is going to keep this position paper with her 24/7 if she get elected on May 6.
The Amarillo lawyer has presented an impressive array of issues, policies and strategies to implement them.
She is focusing, quite naturally, on economic development. No surprise, given that she once served on the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation board and is invested heavily in some commercial property downtown.
She breaks down her platform into six essential planks: job creation and economic development; neighborhood safety; street and highway improvement; communication and participation; customer service; and fiscal responsibility.
At the surface level, it’s impossible to disagree with any of the policies she has targeted for enhancement and/or improvement. I mean, who doesn’t want more jobs, better streets, better communication, better customer service, safe neighborhoods and sound fiscal management?
To be honest, Nelson’s platform is the most detailed and expansive I’ve seen from any Amarillo mayoral candidate in the 22 years I’ve lived here. Most of that time — when I was working for a living — my job as a journalist was to keep tabs on what candidates for public office were pledging to do.
I noticed a holdover from one of Mayor Paul Harpole’s priorities: graffiti abatement. Harpole took aim at the defacing of private property by assorted juvenile delinquents or gang members. He claims progress in that effort and I’m glad to see Nelson pledging to continue that effort.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Nelson’s platform is that she’s pledging to do all this while earning virtually nothing to serve as mayor. The job pays a whopping $10 per public meeting; oh, yes, there are some assorted expense reimbursements along the way. But this is basically a volunteer job, a labor of love.
She’s talking about better outreach to the community, cutting red tape, business recruitment, working with local colleges and our university on various partnerships, making utility billing more efficient and — I presume — more accurate, working to improve emergency response times … and on it goes.
She has two opponents in this race for mayor. I’ve already declared my preference for who I think should succeed Harpole, who’s not running for re-election. It happens to be Nelson.
I will await the platforms to be crafted by candidates Renea Dauntes and Jim Lowder II. Dauntes told the Amarillo Globe-News she wants to “improve civic pride”; Lowder plans to deal with conflicts of interest. I am confident their full platform statements won’t be as detailed as the one Nelson has presented. But, hey, if they prove me wrong, I’ll welcome their contributions to the public discussion.
If you don’t want to take my word for it, that Nelson has gone into great detail, check it out here.
If Nelson becomes our next mayor — and I hope she does — I strongly suggest she keep the platform document handy.