In the News: Frisco City Council runoff candidates field questions on development, COVID-19 response

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This article appeared in the November 22, 2020 issue of Frisco Enterprise. Watch the Frisco Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum.

By Audrey Heavney

After months of campaigning for the same race, two Frisco City Council candidates met Monday evening to make a case to voters for their place on the dais.

The Frisco Chamber of Commerce hosted a candidate forum for City Council Place 5 candidates Dan Stricklin and Laura Rummel, the last two standing in what had been a seven-person competition for the seat during the November 2020 election. Rummel and Stricklin fielded questions about Frisco’s development, local authority and COVID-19 response during the almost hour-long event. The forum served as a chance for Frisco voters to hear from the two candidates before they head into a runoff vote slated for Dec. 8.

COVID-19 came up early during the forum as candidates were asked how they felt the city should address the pandemic in the wake of rising case counts.

Rummel said city action had not been needed for a pandemic response because Frisco had followed state and county guidelines. She said the city only had to get involved when its two counties did not align.

"And I would assume that the same would follow," she said. "Both the mayor and the current City Council are going to do their best to keep the economy growing while also keeping everybody safe, and that is something that I would also be very encouraging of.”

In response to the same question, Stricklin said he tracks data regarding available hospital beds and ventilators in Collin and Denton counties.

“I’m really paying attention to ‘What’s our capacity,’ ‘Do our counties have the ability to care for the people in case this happens,’ and the good news is Collin and Denton counties have plenty of hospital beds and plenty of ventilators.”

The candidates also addressed multifamily development in Frisco.

Stricklin said landowners who have land that is zoned for multifamily development have every right to build apartments.

“Certainly, with newer apartment developments, we want to keep them along the spine of the toll road up on 380 and south on 121 so we can create that reverse commute,” he said. “What I won’t approve on Frisco City Council is any zoning that wasn’t multifamily prior to flip over to multifamily.”

Rummel said there had been areas that had recently flipped from commercial use to mixed-use. She also said mixed-use development involved 70% commercial development and 30% multifamily development.

“To me, that makes sense in the live, work and play areas,” she said. “Those are supportive of our businesses in there.”

Rummel also said there was a demand for apartments in Frisco.

“We do need more, and as long as the property rights are outstanding and there’s people that have those rights and there’s demand for them, they will continue to be built,” she said.

The two candidates also answered questions about their campaign finance reports and what those reports would tell people who looked through them.

Rummel said many listed contributors were family, friends and co-workers. She said she did not actively fund raise during the first part of the campaign and that she funded her campaign by herself. Rummel also said she had to be careful about how funds were spent.

"I think they’d see that I have a good strategy, good business sense, making sure we made every dollar count,” she said.

Stricklin said the Frisco Firefighters Association had been a major campaign donor. He also thanked his supporters.

“Many of them were here in Frisco that gave to my campaign,” he said. “I’m so humbled. I would have never thought that I would have received that much support.”

Stricklin also answered a question about an $8,000 contribution to his campaign from someone in Louisiana. He said the donor was the sister of a Frisco-based supporter who wanted to help his campaign.

“She has quite a bit of resources,” he said, “so it was a blessing, and just want to say thanks to her for that.”

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