COMMENTARY: Stanley’s courageous mayoral candidacy
With five declared candidates, the Sugar Land mayoral election on May 7 is getting crowded.
Potential candidates still have until next Friday to declare, and if the trend continues, there may have to be two sets of debates, similar to the Republican Presidential hopefuls.
The candidates – current council members Harish Jajoo and Joe Zimmerman, businessmen Myatt Hancock and Sarwar Khan and logistics professional Kyle Stanley – will win or lose on the merit of their ideas and policies.
But I have to give credit to Stanley, a 29-year-old Sugar Land resident, for his courage in entering the mayoral election.
According to Stanley’s blog (stanleysperspectives.wordpress.com), he was diagnosed before Kindergarten with Asperger’s Syndrome, which he described as “a high functioning form of autism where the mind is beautiful but my social skills were so inept” that doctors didn’t believe he would be able to hold a minimum-wage job.
Throughout his life, Stanley has proven those doctors wrong.
He went through speech therapy, but initially avoided extracurricular activities out of fear.
That all changed in middle school.
Before graduating from Dulles High, he served as the head manager for the boys basketball and cross country teams and participated in everything from Junior Achievement to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Stanley graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston-Victoria with a bachelor’s degree in Management and currently works in the field of Logistics Analysis.
He’s had an active voice in local politics and served as a state delegate to the Texas State Republican Convention.
All of his accomplishments derive from his life motto “there is no limit to what you can do, as long as you know what you are doing.”
Stanley’s candidacy shows other individuals who have Asperger’s Syndrome that anything is possible, and his courage to run for mayor will inspire thousands to pursue their dreams.
In addition to that, Stanley brings an interesting perspective to the campaign.
“I’m the only candidate younger than 60,” Stanley said.
Stanley has lamented the fact that many of his friends and former classmates have left Sugar Land for other cities that are more appealing to the 20s/30s crowd.
There’s currently a discussion over the future of the city, which involves whether the city should put a cap of 200 apartments per mile under all conditions. The city’s Planning & Zoning Commission is still studying it, before making a recommendation to City Council.
Stanley says “200 is too strict” and may push away developers, whose plans of quality, responsible development may include high-end apartments.
The self-described conservative is staking out the middle ground between establishment candidates like Jajoo and Zimmerman, and Hancock, who is part of a “Sugar Land Votes” anti-establishment slate of candidates.
“I’m not a slate candidate, so I can campaign to the march of my own drum,” Stanley said.
Save the location of your polling place inside the GPS of your phone, because you’re going to be making a few trips there this winter and spring.
Early voting for the March 1 primary goes from Feb. 16-26.
City and Fort Bend ISD and Stafford MSD elections will be held on May 7.
On May 24, the runoff elections for the March 1 primary will be held. And on June 11, the runoffs for city elections will be held. School districts won’t have any runoff elections, as its elections are decided by the most votes in the initial election.
Speaking of potential runoffs, Missouri City At-Large Position 2 is almost certain to have one now.
First-term incumbent council member Chris Preston is being challenged by former District B council member Cynthia L. Gary. Now, Missouri City attorney Susan Soto, a political newcomer, has entered the election.
The winner must receive more than 50 percent of the vote on May 7, or the top two candidates will meet in a June 11 runoff.
Candidates have until next Friday to declare for office.
Last year, Soto, a 48-year-old former educator, was part of a group of local attorneys who filed a non-monetary, class action civil lawsuit against Fort Bend County and Fort Bend ISD officials, regarding the district’s Truancy policies and what they believed to be the illegal operation of the Fort Bend Truancy Court. The case is still pending.
With nine days left for potential opponents to declare, both Missouri City Mayor Allen Owen and Fort Bend ISD Position 3 Trustee Jim Rice are unopposed.
While being unopposed may signal constituents’ satisfaction with the incumbents, it serves candidates well to run a campaign, defend their ideas and policies and not rest on their laurels.
Of course, sometimes opponents may be hesitant to run against candidates such as Rice and Owen, who each won by 40 percent in their last election.
While few have expressed interest in challenging Rice, there’s some chatter that second-term District A Council Member Yolanda Ford or former four-term Missouri City District C Council Member Robin Elackatt may challenge Owen. Neither Ford nor Elackatt has confirmed or denied their potential candidacy at this time. Both have denied interest in the past.