Alex Terrell Russell

Alex Terrell Russell

By Floyd Miller

 

 

 

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a public servant? I serve because I have strong passion for what I do and the community that I live in. If I had to single out one thing that I have done as a “public servant”, it would be managing the campaign of the now Mayor of Abilene. I was the only paid campaign staffer on his campaign and we set a record for the number of voters that have ever participated in an Abilene City election with the June 2017 run-off. Now, we set a record with 12,000 votes,{{more}} in a town of 120,000. We still have a lot of work to do.What do you feel like is the greatest challenge facing the city of Abilene, and what would you do to solve it? I feel like the greatest challenge facing the City of Abilene is the ability to retain young workers and for all workers to obtain a high paying job. To retain a workforce, you must have jobs that are appealing to the workforce and you have to create an environment that makes people want to stay. If you are able to create an environment that promotes a vibrant feel, then it will be much easier to retain people in Abilene and to bring in the high paying jobs that our economy / city needs.Sometimes the citizens have a cynical attitude when it comes to elected officials. The attitude is a we versus them attitude. What are you doing or what will you do to foster an environment where every citizen feels important? I have held multiple meet and greets and open invitation question and answer events thus far during my campaign. These events are meant to foster a relationship with not only my voter base but those that may have a more desirable view of another candidate. I have encouraged the community to come out and ask questions and get to know me, no matter if they are voting for me or are still undecided. I have always and will always be up for a friendly debate.How do you believe the citizens of Abilene can help make this a better community? I have already touched on this quite a bit because it is so important to me. There were only 12,000 people that voted in the most recent election… 12,000 out of a city of over 120,000. The citizens of Abilene can help make this a better community by getting out and getting involved. One way to do that is to vote in local elections. The citizens of Abilene can vote to make Abilene an even better community. We affect change in the voting booth. However, as community leaders and representatives, we must do a better job of educating our citizens and opening opportunities for voter engagement.What makes you uniquely qualified to serve on the City Council?I’m energetic and driven. I have the time and resources to pour everything I have into serving Abilene on City Council. I have the passion and experience to make a difference in our city. The average age of the current City Council is 68 and my two opponents fit right into that average. Abilene needs a new way of looking at things; a new idea every once and awhile. I started my own business November 8, 2016 and was President of the Abilene Young Professionals from 2016 – 2017. I know what it is like starting up your own business and having to work through those processes. We need young entrepreneurs and businesses eager to move to Abilene, I’ve been through that and understand what they are going through.*According to a poll conducted by The Associated Press – NORC Center for Public Affairs research, they found that more than 8 in 10 Americans favor a federal law preventing mentally ill people from purchasing guns, along with a federal law expanding background check requirements to include gun shows and private sales. How would you feel, if that was implemented in Abilene and Taylor County?We already conduct background checks, why not make them a little more comprehensive? It is easy for most politicians to sit on a high horse and shake their finger at communities succumbing to gun violence. But, I would like to know how many of those politicians have visited Alameda Community Center? How many city council members have visited with former Abilene gang members and conversed with them about why and how they fell into gun violence? It’s not enough to spout out sound bites on guns that play well in our Red county, we must look at the roots of the cause of violence, and then address those issues with compassion and common sense.It appears that we will probably have a large number of young voters engaged in the political process, because of the 17 individuals killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland FL. Do you agree or disagree with their activism and why? Do you have a message for them?Make your voices heard, register to vote, GET OUT, GET LOUD AND VOTE. We don’t affect change in one election. But together, we will build the Abilene we all want and need, and that begins in the voting booth. We must elect representatives that will make educated decisions for the common good, not personal interest. Do you believe that a person’s character is important in holding elected office? If you do please list one character trait one should have and state why you believe it’s important?Character is arguably the most important quality in our elected representatives. Especially in 2018, if we cannot trust our local representatives… the closest, most personal form of representation we have in our government, there is no hope for our community to move forward together. Our Founding Fathers never meant for us to know our President’s name, they intended for our local representatives to be our heros. We must elect servants that will champion our community. All of our community.We have seen campaigns where individuals have been extremely mean to each other. Could you pay your opponent one compliment?I commend and honor anyone willing to put their name on a ballot. It takes a strong will to open yourself up to the kind of scrutiny it takes to serve your community in this capacity. Though Mr. Kreitler, Mr. Rentz and I disagree on policy and the ways in which we engage our community, I respect each of them for their willingness to serve.If you could have dinner with anyone from the past or currently living, who would it be and why?Franklin Delano Roosevelt. If I could only pick one I would spend the first half of dinner asking him about Eleanor and Theodore Roosevelt. Then, I would pick his brain about being one of the greatest leaders of our democracy.Tell us a little about your family, hobbies, etc.I married the love of my life, and fellow Abilenian, Justin Russell, in 2015. I feel lucky every morning I get to wake up beside him. We share a strong passion for working to build businesses and lasting community projects that our children will be proud of. We each have our own projects that are important to us, mine are the arts and art education and developing young people in Abilene. We work together everyday through our company, JAR Land & Investments, to invest in our city so that our future generations regard Abilene as the most desirable place to live, work and play. Thank you for taking the time to engage with our city. It’s crucial we all do so, together. On May 5th, please vote Alex for Place 2.