**** ADVERTORIAL – Pd. Pol. Ad. By Johnson-Reading-McClendon Campaigns ****
Here in the election season, if you’ve driven Burleson streets lately, you’ve probably noticed campaign signs. And you probably also noticed that some names appear to be grouped together: Victoria Johnson, Katherine Reading, and Dan McClendon. So how does this happen?
“Organically”, says Mayor Pro Tem Dan McClendon, who is running for re-election to the Place 5 post he has held since 2007. “Nobody planned this. People in the community have done their research and found the candidates they want to represent them. They asked for signs to show their support, and the result is what you see around town.”
Three candidates, McClendon, Victoria Johnson, challenging the incumbent in Place 1, and Katherine Reading, running for re-election for a second term at Place 3, have been the chosen candidates for many well-informed Burlesonites.
So what is it that people find that resonates with them among three very different candidates; one long-serving veteran of the Council, one high-profile first-term reformer, and one bright new challenger seeking office for the first time?
“I think it’s clear that people simply see and recognize integrity and character”, says McClendon. “I’ve been on council long enough for people to know me as a steady hand with a solid background in infrastructure, development and finance. Katherine in her single term has taken council service to a level not seen before in Burleson. She works full time to keep her constituents well informed on the issues, and has been a clear and constant voice for policy reform while maintaining accessibility to anyone who contacts her with questions or need for assistance.
“Victoria may be new to elective office but has demonstrated her skills to many people through very public positions as a field representative for a Congressman, employment in the City’s development division and the school district as well as Texas Health Systems. Her boundless energy and drive are only matched by her upbeat outlook and approachability. She is the best combination of a broad experience base in the community with a fresh point of view for the council.”
Meet the candidates
VICTORIA JOHNSON, running for Place 1, is a passionate community advocate who has served in numerous capacities both professionally and through her volunteer work. She grew up in Burleson and returned with her husband to put down roots seven years ago, and now the couple has two school-age children. From the professional and volunteer roles Victoria has filled, she understands the interworking of the City with matters of education, health care, economic development and addressing the needs of our underserved populations.
Following college, Victoria served Burleson and Johnson County as a Congressional aide. As a Field Representative, she worked directly with the citizens; meeting with constituents, serving as a liaison to the federal government and partnering with local officials to address community needs. She was a part of several major projects that were beneficial to the citizens of Burleson, including the expansion of East Renfro and the purchase of a new Mobile Health Bus for Huguley Hospital, addressing health needs of our underserved community.
While employed with the City of Burleson, Victoria worked in economic development. She worked with local business leaders to develop relationships with the City, partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to support independent businesses, and researched opportunities to help recruit new businesses and manufacturing to Burleson.
Victoria joined Texas Health Huguley after her time at the City, where she expanded the community outreach efforts of the hospital, partnering with local efforts such as Be Healthy Burleson to promote healthy living, education of health risks, public health fairs and community movement events such as Walking for Wellness and the Be Healthy 5K.
As Director of Communications for the Burleson ISD, Victoria was responsible for promoting and enhancing communication with parents, students, staff and the community at-large.
After many years as a Meals on Wheels volunteer, Victoria served as Director of Community Engagement before making the decision to stay home to focus on family. Victoria’s role was to promote volunteer and giving opportunities to ensure that the personal and valuable lifeline of the Meals on Wheels organization continues to thrive.
“I’m interested in serving our community as a council member to provide a voice for all”, Victoria says. “Burleson is a great place to live, work, learn and play. As our community continues to grow at an exponential pace, I want to be a part of shaping that growth in a way that we can be proud of for decades to come.”
KATHERINE READING, running for a second term at Place 3, describes herself as a military wife and mother of two school-aged children. “I have been a strong advocate for public safety improvements” she says, “such as increasing police and firefighter pay and adding positions. I’ve pushed to expand the budget Burleson has for Safe Routes to Schools, providing more sidewalks to and from schools and parks. I’ve dedicated a large portion of my service to ensuring residents are given accurate information relating to municipal matters. I post continually on social media to keep my constituents informed.” Those of us who follow these glean a lot of information from these concise, detailed summaries and reports of issues going on around us.
Prior to being elected to City Council in 2018, Katherine was an outspoken advocate for the community, and then was chosen by the Council to serve on Burleson’s Planning and Zoning Commission. So what made her decide to tackle the very sizeable job of holding a City Council seat?
“Former council member DanO Strong approached me to run for his seat in 2018, as he was planning to step down from service”, she explains. “DanO endorsed me through my first term and continues to endorse me for re-election to the next term.”
In his own words of endorsement, DanO says: “Part of leadership is building up those around you. It’s ensuring that when the time comes to end your service, there is someone capable and qualified to take your place that you could endorse. Katherine was my choice and I have been exceptionally proud of everything she has accomplished this first term. And I look forward to what she will do in the future”, he concludes.
During her first term Katherine was appointed to the National League of Cities’ Federal Advocacy Committee for Finance Administration and Intergovernmental Relations, and the Military Communities Council board. Through these boards she has participated in advocating for small businesses grants and protections that would give more flexibility for cities to use to maintain services and get the community through situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
DAN McCLENDON, running for reelection to Place 5, is a Burleson business owner who has held his Council post since 2007 and has been Mayor Pro Tem since 2015. “In my tenure on Council, I have brought to Burleson public service my decades of experience in municipal construction contracting and land development in many cities around our area”, he says. “The viewpoints I have gained from years of working with staff and Councils throughout the area are invaluable to me in realizing how cities must deal effectively with issues of transportation, public works, zoning, community relations, and an array of other issues large and small. We can, as a city, learn from the mistakes and the accomplishments of communities in our area of all sizes, and I am proud to be the observer and analyst who brings to council service a perspective that few can offer.
“I have watched Burleson almost triple in population in the time I have lived here”, he says. “My service on the 4A Economic Development Corporation board, of which I am currently President, has seen the development of Highpoint Business Park on I-35W that has brought 700 new jobs and $150 million in capital investment to our City, and has since been augmented by adjacent private development that will keep this expansion going.
“The Council’s Infrastructure and Development Committee, which I chair, constantly works with staff to seek solutions for road and utility improvements and their funding. Recently we completed, through months of input and evaluation by staff, committee members, and community business leaders, a new Traffic Impact Fee that will simplify the process of assuring ourselves that as new development places increasing demands on the City’s transportation system, new development will contribute to the expansion that it makes necessary, so that new growth in the City pays for the new demands on the existing system that it brings”, he continues.
“My service as chair of the Finance Committee keeps me ever alert as to the changing needs that Burleson must face while remaining one of the most financially transparent and conservative cities in our area. And working with our planning staff in developing corridor plans for Wilshire Blvd, I-35W, and the Chisholm Trail Parkway offers the promise of a smooth transition to an orderly and well-planned future that will redevelop those portions of our City while preparing for the coming Transportation Oriented Development when it eventually brings light rail service to Burleson as well.”
In 2015 McClendon began a two-year term with the North Central Texas Council of Governments as an Executive Board member. This body addresses transportation and many other needs from a regional standpoint and is tasked with making certain that plans are studied and laid out for the transportation needs of the sixteen-county metropolitan area for decades into the future. And he expects soon to be serving on the Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition, representing Burleson and working to solve transportation issues in the greater area surrounding the city.
“I’m totally dedicated to this community and its future”, he concludes. “I chose to live here 44 years ago, and I’m still glad I did. And I’m proud to serve our City with the highest and best hopes for everyone who has joined me in making this our home. I am all for Burleson, for ALL Burleson!”
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Election Day for Council races is May 1st, when polls will be open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Early voting dates and times are:
April 19 thru 23: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
April 24: 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM
April 26-27: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
All voting is conducted at Burleson City Hall, 141 W Renfro.
“The best thing we can see happening for us is that everyone does their research and learns about all the candidates before going to the polls and making their choices”, McClendon said.
And when you’ve decided who your choices are, let us know, they all say. They have plenty more signs!
All three Candidates are endorsed by the Burleson Professional Firefighters’ Association.
**** ADVERTORIAL – Pd. Pol. Ad. By Johnson-Reading-McClendon Campaigns ****