On Jan. 3, the three candidates competing to land the Place 5 spot on the City Council this month met at a forum hosted by the Islamic Center of Frisco to talk about the future.
Sai Krishna, Laura Rummel and Tracie Shipman each had three minutes to introduce themselves to voters before answering questions that focused on Frisco’s development, diversity and inclusion and public transportation as well as candidates’ opinions on the “biggest threat” to the city.
The hour-and-a-half-long event served as a way to introduce residents to the three candidates amid a warp-speed election cycle that began in November and will conclude on election day, Jan. 29.
The election, slated to cost the city about $220,000, was triggered when current Place 5 Councilmember Dan Stricklin announced he would be running for a county commissioners court seat, thereby resigning his spot on the City Council. Stricklin was elected to the spot in December 2020.
On Monday, candidates were asked what they want to accomplish if elected.
Candidate Sai Krishna mentioned addressing traffic as Frisco faces continued growth.
“The critical issue is traffic,” he said, “because people from Celina, people from Anna, everybody is using our lanes.”
Laura Rummel, who ran for the seat in a runoff against Stricklin in 2020, cited smart growth as a priority. She also mentioned the city’s goal to build an innovation entrepreneurship center.
“That is an area where I have some unique expertise, having come from a financial technology startup, working in the startup space, having experience with venture capitalists, having experience with a brand new organization, what it’s going to take to get them started up, that is something that I think I am uniquely qualified to support the (Economic Development Corporation) and their ability to make that successful,” she said.
Shipman highlighted innovation amid the rise of remote work as a point of focus as well as city transparency.
“As more of us are staying home and working from home, how do we support families that are doing that as far as providing some shared services, how do we enable people with better bandwidth, because if we are keeping our children at home more often and we’re having to share the bandwidth that’s out there, what are some ways that we can incent to get creative?” she said.
Candidates were also asked about what areas of development they felt had been overlooked.
Shipman described downtown Frisco as a place where the city had lost opportunity.
“As soon as you hit that corner on First and Main, it’s like you’ve hit some kind of a time warp, and I think that’s unfortunate, and I want to make sure that that, for me, is one of my top development priorities,” Shipman said.
Rummel mentioned both the downtown and Wade Park, a “hole in the ground” that had once been slated to be a $2 billion pinnacle development in Frisco before a bankruptcy case halted visions for the project.
“I think we had some missed steps where we as a city could have probably done some more preventative measures to ensure that, maybe, more bonds were placed, more supportive insurance were placed so we didn’t get into the situation that we’re getting in,” Rummel said.
Krishna said he wanted to see an emphasis on the city’s history, particularly in the downtown.
“That makes a huge impact and impression in the city, in the neighborhood,” he said.
The full forum is available on the Islamic Center of Frisco Facebook page.
Residents will get another chance to hear from candidates on Tuesday during a forum hosted by the Frisco Chamber of Commerce. The forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at 8440 Grace Street in Frisco Square.