Making a difference: Former reporter, dispatcher joins city council

Mesquite’s new City Council members took the oath of office last week, and two fresh faces join the re-elected members and new mayor. One of the new faces on council is former Mesquite News reporter and city of Mesquite dispatcher Kenny Green.

How long were you with the Mesquite News?

I worked for what is now Star Local Media from February 2007 until January 2017. I spent the first year as a photojournalist for the Plano Star Courier and Allen American primarily, but also shot photos for other papers within the company including The Mesquite News. I moved the Mesquite office of the company in 2008 and would quickly become responsible for all news content, including photos and pagination, of The Mesquite News and Rowlett Lakeshore Times.

What drew you to the field of journalism?

I was never drawn into the field of journalism and had never thought of being a journalist of any type. I was pursued by the editor and staff of the Plano Star Courier and Allen American for my photography skills. My business partner and myself had been doing freelance work for another newspaper, which was printed by the Star Community Newspapers so when their photographer turned in his resignation, they reached out to me to discuss coming to work for them. At the time, I was managing a camera store in Plano and doing photography on the side. The writing was added later on in my career when I wanted to be closer to home and a spot opened up in the Mesquite office. The new position required some writing as well as pagination of the Mesquite News and Rowlett Lakeshore Times newspapers. One of the editors at the paper and the publisher soon learned I had what was apparently a natural gift for writing and I ended up doing the entire news side of both papers by myself for many years.

What did you enjoy most about being a reporter?

Being a conduit of information to the people of the cities I wrote for and interacting with many interesting groups and people. I think this is what kept me around so long – knowing I was making a difference in people’s lives by keeping them informed.

Why did you decide to leave the field?

I was at a crossroads in my life. I had gotten engaged and had a wife to think about supporting financially, so when I came across a posting for a job as a dispatcher and saw the pay, I had to take a chance and apply. It was really a great opportunity to help even more people alongside people I knew and respected.

How long were you a dispatcher and what made you want to enter this line of work?

I started working for the Mesquite Police Department in January 2017 and left in October 2017. It was an opportunity to support my family and to help people on the front lines.

What was the most rewarding aspect of being a dispatcher?

Knowing I saved lives, without a question.

Why did you decide to leave dispatching?

I honestly never wanted to leave. I really liked helping people and worked with some amazing people, but when my wife got really ill in June 2017, I was forced to look for something with a more accommodating schedule, plus the stress of watching my wife go through what has been a long recovery process was having an adverse effect on my ability to absorb needed information at work.

Why did you decide to get involved in local government?

I was worried about the direction of the city if the wrong people got elected. With the single member districts, it opened the door to someone under-qualified or not in it for the right reasons to serve and I did not want to see our city adversely affected if that were to happen. Plus, I have a lot of institutional knowledge of the city that I shouldn’t let go to waste.

What has years of working with the public taught you?

It has taught me you will never make everyone happy. You have to make sound, logical decisions and never lose sight of who you are and your own sense of rationalizing information.

What are you looking forward to now that you’re on city council?

I am looking forward to getting up to speed on any projects the previous council was working on behind the scenes and helping get the city pointed in the right direction. I want to make sure we are keeping people informed and attempt to get even more people involved in our city.

What’s one thing not many people know about you?

I always thought I was going to be a lawyer, then I worked for one for a while and quickly realized it wasn’t for me.

Thanksgiving is around the corner, what are you thankful for?

I am thankful for the health of myself and my family, as well as the opportunity to help a city I have grown to love over the years.

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