Today, we interview Lewisville City Council candidate Margie Rochelle, who is running for the Lewisville City Council seat vacated by Dean Ueckert, who is running for Mayor.
Marjorie Elizabeth Rochelle, 50, is a 12 year resident who lives in Northwest Lewisville. Rochelle worked for the Lewisville Police Department for 21 years as a dispatcher, and a property and evidence technician. She is currently employed with Texas Knee & Sports Medicine in Carrollton as a medical billing specialist.
Rochelle’s campaign website is http://www.electmargierochelleforlewisvillecitycouncil.com
Rochelle lists the following as her experience in both professional and community service:
• Member of the Texas Hydrofest event 1994.
• Member of the City of Lewisville’s employee compensation design team 1996 – program still in effect today
• Instructor Lewisville Citizens Police Academy
• Member of installation team for new CAD system – coordinated Communications section w/installation of CAD 1991
• Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education certified instructor
• Instructor – police mini academy (new officers) 2000-2007
• Chairperson Employee Conflict Management Committee
• Authored and implemented Standard Operating Procedures and General Orders for Communications
• Authored and implemented dispatcher training program – trained over 50 dispatchers
• Coordinated Emergency Operations Center
• Former member of TAPEIT (Texas Association of Property & Evidence Technicians)
• Former member of IAPE (International Association of Property & Evidence Technicians)
• Former member of National Association of Emergency Medical Dispatchers
• Provided expert witness testimony in Federal/State/County courts
• Certified Universal Latent Work Station by DPS (fingerprints)
• Served on hiring boards for Dispatchers and Property & Evidence Technicians
As a retired City of Lewisville employee AND a citizen of Lewisville I believe I bring to the table a fresh perspective of ideas and concerns. I care about our city and all the citizens who live and work here. There are a lot of positives in Lewisville and some areas to work on. Our city enjoys a wonderful parks system and with the building of the Railroad Street Athletic Complex, the installation of light railway and the expansion of I35 we have a wonderful opportunity to improve our quality of life which in turn will attract businesses and new residents. Many of our surrounding cities do not have this opportunity and I am confident Lewisville will make the right decisions for our future. This is an exciting time for Lewisville and I am thrilled to be a part of it. I would be honored to serve you.
WhosPlayin: Ms. Rochelle, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Tell us why you’re running for council.
Margie Rochelle: Thank you Steve for this opportunity to speak with you. I am running for council to represent all the citizens of Lewisville. I’ve been retired from the city for almost 2 years now and I feel a strong desire to participate in local government again. Based on my experiences working for the city I believe I can be a strong voice of our city employees and our citizens. I’m also running for council for my daughter, who will be 12 very soon. I want to be an example to her, to demonstrate community service in a positive way, to give back to our community and I feel that right now is a great time to do so with the many challenges our city is facing.
WhosPlayin: You spent many years as a police dispatcher, then as an evidence technician. How do you keep a positive outlook on our city even though you’ve dealt with many of our citizens on their worst days, and seen more than anyone the darker side of our community?
Margie Rochelle: Faith. The belief that justice will prevail, in accepting that it may not be immediate, but, that it will come. The understanding that the really, really bad things people do make all the little good things that much more valuable like a sweet note your daughter writes to you or the first time your grandchildren smile at you or when you see strangers helping others and citizens volunteering. I also was involved in very positive things too, like delivering babies over the phone, or helping to solve a case, recover a stolen vehicle, testifying in court on drug evidence, things like that. Just knowing that you have a small part in catching the “bad guy” and helping to make your community safe made me feel proud! At the end of the day you still have to believe that good conquers evil and when you arrive home you hug your children a little tighter and tell your family you to love them for the fifteenth million time that day! The police officers and fire fighters are the real heroes. They are the first responders, having to deal with the really bad, face to face, and putting themselves in danger every day. I just provided the support to keep them as safe as possible.
WhosPlayin: Aside from your website, what else will you be doing to get your message out to the voters?
Margie Rochelle: I’ve been meeting with many groups and committees, talking with the media and doing interviews. Also placing campaign signs, doing mailings, etc. I will be going door to door very soon to meet individually with citizens listening to their concerns and ideas. I feel it is very important to be personable and approachable with our citizens.
WhosPlayin: What do you consider to be the most serious issues facing the City of Lewisville, and what is your approach in dealing with them?
Margie Rochelle: Our most serious issues facing the City of Lewisville with equal importance are:
Revitalization of our aging neighborhoods. We’ve got a very good start in addressing this problem. The City and Council recognize this issue and are active in the efforts of revitalizing our neighborhoods. Of course we can and should do more. The creation of a Neighborhood Preservation Committee where responsible parties can effectively address and manage revitalization with effective tools such as new ordinances is vital to this cause. Working together with citizens, business owners and Council by communicating and coordinating efforts is key to the success of our efforts.
Transportation. I’ve lived in the Metroplex for approximately. 40 years. When my family first moved here from San Antonio we lived in one of the first residential neighborhoods in Bedford. I’ve seen many, many cities experience rapid growth and the decline of some cities who have failed to address the needs of the community. I’ve also witnessed Lewisville grow from approximately 18,000 residents to our current estimated population of 91,000 plus. We’re long overdue in addressing the issue of transportation. I am very pleased to see the support of DCTA, the development of light railway and the expansion of I35. This will not be a painless process however. Public safety and the protection of our environment are of utmost importance. We will need to work together locally, with our sister cities and state and federal agencies to ensure the needs of all concerned are met.
These are only two of our serious issues facing Lewisville. Water will soon be an issue for Lewisville and all north Texas communities. Immigration is an ongoing hot topic. All of these issues should be dealt with in a professional and responsible manner and I look forward to further discussion of them. The economy will dictate how Council will conduct business as we will surely see tougher times. Fortunately the city is in pretty good financial shape.
WhosPlayin: Do you feel that the average Lewisville citizen is aware of these issues? What do you think matters most to them?
Margie Rochelle: I’m not sure what the average citizen is Steve, so, I don’t feel I can comment on what they are aware of. I understand your question though. When I worked as a Property & Evidence Technician, before elections were electronic, I was tasked with the safekeeping of the election keys to maintain the integrity of an election and the safekeeping of ballot keys. The first election that I participated in was an eye opener for me. I was really surprised to see the low number of turnout in a city the size that we were at the time. At first I thought people just didn’t care enough about their city to get out and vote. But, I soon realized that was not necessarily a true assessment. I believe that citizens feel, and rightly so, that they have selected a community in which they can live safely, their children can receive an excellent education and also enjoy recreational activities. Citizens entrust that our community leaders are doing their jobs, that they are provided with the tools to do their jobs, are held accountable, and act responsibly.. I think this is what matters most to them.
WhosPlayin: Land acquisition for the expansion of I-35 E through Lewisville is expected to begin in 2010. It is expected that we will lose some businesses as well as some residences along the right-of-way. How does Lewisville city government plan for this and make the best of the situation?
Margie Rochelle: This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get it right. Communication, cooperation and care will be required from the City. It is my understanding that plans are already under way to assist in this transition.
WhosPlayin: Aside from getting a bigger interstate highway for our citizens to get to work each day, what do you see as the major opportunities with the project?
Margie Rochelle: I think that just by the much needed expansion we will see improvement in the safety of motorists. That to me is the most major opportunity and goal of the expansion. It will also provide us with the opportunity to define the City of Lewisville by approach and design; the responsible approach we take in the development and removal of businesses and homes in the corridor path and the design of the finished product. Hopefully this project will set us apart from other metroplex cities in that we won’t be considered another drive thru city, but, be viewed as unique and innovative.
WhosPlayin: Over the last year, many citizens of Lewisville have been approached by gas operators to lease their minerals. While some citizens are anxious for the royalty income, others are wary of the effects of this development on our quality of life and property values. How does City Hall help to strike a balance between these goals?
Margie Rochelle: As you know this is an ongoing process. I believe we should use our natural resources and seek alternative resources in the process too. Our community must act responsibly in the development of such resources. You have been very effective in your approach to inform City Hall of the communities concerns and about protecting our quality of life. I think we should continue to seek out other communities for input from their experiences, stay informed and require compliance of ordinances to protect our environment and quality of life.
WhosPlayin: Speaking of the protecting the environment, I think that term means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. When you think about the role of a city like Lewisville in protecting the environment, what sorts of actions and initiatives come to mind?
Margie Rochelle: I am personally very concerned about the environment for all of mankind and believe that that concern starts at home. I think that the City has been proactive in this area with new programs being developed and the ongoing development of established programs. I would like to see additional programs developed with input from the citizens. I think a lot of citizens have some very good ideas and I think we should take an active approach to listen, investigate and implement these programs if feasible. There is so much new technology available concerning the protection of our environment for cities to participate in and I think we have a responsibility to our community to seek out new resources and also to be an example to other communities.
WhosPlayin: What would you do to ensure that the council gets more citizen input and participation?
Margie Rochelle: This process has begun to take shape recently and I believe it is vital to Lewisville’s future to communicate effectively with ALL of our citizens. I think the City is moving in the right direction and is acting responsibly in establishing policies to make this happen.
WhosPlayin: As the city grows older, some neighborhoods that were once vital seem to be in decline. How do we reverse this trend?
Margie Rochelle: First of all, we recognize that this is a natural trend. We, as citizens, tend to abandon the old and build the new. But, we then realize the abandonment of the old can mean death to a community. We’re doing the right thing by acknowledging and acting responsibly in revitalizing our community and by involving our community in the process. Our tools are our ordinances and requiring compliance with our ordinances.
WhosPlayin: What is your view of the proper role of city government, and is the Lewisville City Council getting it right? In other words, where would you do more, and what do you think the city council should avoid?
Margie Rochelle: The role of city government is to serve its citizens. As far as whether the Lewisville City Council is getting it right? I think everyone has a different opinion based on their needs and experiences. I do believe that the Lewisville City Council wants to do the right thing and are acting in good faith. The city council should avoid involvement in matters where it has no jurisdiction. I believe in moving forward, acting responsibly, exhibiting integrity and being held accountable.
WhosPlayin: At a recent Council meeting, citizens voiced opposition to the re-opening of Milliken Middle School as the new Delay Middle School. As we know, Lewisville ISD makes those decisions, but these citizens seemed to be concerned about equity among schools, implying that Lewisville’s less affluent neighborhoods were being shorted. Do you think it was a fair criticism, and to what extent if any, do you think the City Council can or should affect education?
Margie Rochelle: The council has no decision involvement with the school district, however, the council can have a say in how the school district conducts their business in our city. As a parent I feel very passionately about this issue as it affects our community directly. I have met with the LISD grass roots committee and I share their concerns over the appearance of LISD’s inequity of Lewisville’s schools. I am eager to see the responses from the school board, as promised, after spring break. I think it’s important to not draw conclusions until all the facts are in. I think the council should stay informed of what’s happening in our schools because, again, we are affected directly in the community particularly public safety and property values.
WhosPlayin: Ms Rochelle, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us, and thank you for your service to the city and the community.
Margie Rochelle: Thanks again Steve for this opportunity.
WhosPlayin has extended interview invitations to the other candidates, John Gorena and T.J. Gilmore as well as the candidates for Mayor and Council seat 2. We are unsure whether we will endorse any candidates for this municipal election, but we just may have a straw poll as the election grows closer.
Regardless, I would highly encourage our readers to check their voter registrations, and get out and make an informed vote on May 9th. Show your city’s leaders that you care by turning out in good numbers! Polling locations will be posted here.