Gerard Hudspeth, Denton District 1 city councilperson, discussed his policies at his mayoral campaign kickoff party at The Dive, attending by around 100 people.
“What our campaign is about is vision, passion, where we’re going as a city, growth and how we do want to manage that,” Hudspeth said. “How do we want to get in front of that and shave ordinances to support that growth. It comes down to infrastructure with the bond money and fixing the streets. That takes efficiency and getting city council back to talking about city issues, not county issues, not UNT issues, but City of Denton issues . . . is really what I’m going to focus on.”
Hudspeth, currently serving his second term as a city council member, filed to run for mayor on Jan. 15.
“Progress on construction is a little slow, but we’ve taken some steps to speed it up,” Hudspeth. “We’ve transitioned to a bidding process, so we have a better estimation of costs, cost project. We also hire outside contractors to inspect work, so once it’s done, it’s done well.”
Denton mayor Chris Watts previously discussed the progress of the 2012 GO and 2014 construction bonds during his final State of the City address in late January.
“So, the city’s building a park, let’s put a sidewalk that spans across empty lots,” Hudspeth said. “So, a developer says, ‘Hey there’s already a sidewalk here. I’d like to build here.’ Maybe it spurs growth faster and so it saves money because you’re doing it in bulk.”
Hudspeth discussed additions to training and equipment for Denton police.
“I went through the citizen’s academy, then I went through the FBI Citizen’s Academy,” Hudspeth said. “[Denton police have] had bodycams for a while, we’ve had tasers for a while, but now we’re getting to more training. So, we’ve authorized the gun range for indoors, so it’ll be used more, which is critical when you look at that incident in the church,” referring to a fatal shooting incident at a church in White Settlement, Texas.
Hudspeth also addressed potential mental health training for officers after the fatal shooting of UNT student Darius Tarver.
“Matter of fact, Ginger’s putting together a group that trains the police on making [police] aware on how to pick up on Alzheimer’s or other mental capacities,” Hudspeth said. “So the officers are trained to recognize that there’s not resistance, but a mental issue or miscommunication in place. . . Chief Dixon has been great about training as well, so I would support him in training those officers in having them ask probing orders so to see if it’s a miscommunication issue.”
Hudspeth summarized his goals through his “four kinds of focus points.”
“My four kind of focus points are: safety, security, growth and vision,” Hudspeth said. “So, what do we want our city to look like? How do we want to shape it? What kind of business do we want?”
Hudspeth later went around to talk to constituents and volunteers, with his youngest daughter asleep on his shoulder.
Denton resident Shaun Mayfield, a 39-year-old agriscaping specialist, was in favor of Hudspeth’s policies towards roadwork and parks.
“Road improvement is important,” Mayfield said. “You know, you’re here in Denton, you know how bad the roads can be.”
Charlie Parker, a 57-year-old property manager, was more focused on potential improvements to infrastructure.
“I think he won’t waste the taxpayer’s money,” Parker said. “I have seen Gerard in action in the city council and he’s very thoughtful, he’s properly prepared and I feel very confident he has the city of Denton at heart.”
Voting will begin May 2, where not only will the position of mayor be up, but the positions of Districts 1, 2, 5 and 6 as well. Keely Briggs, District 2 city councilwoman, is also running for mayor and held her own kickoff party on Jan 26.
“On a personal level, he’s a good guy, got a really good heart,” Mayfield said. “[I] really appreciate having come to known him.”
Featured Image: Gerard Hudspeth speaks to the crowd at his mayoral campaign kickoff on Jan. 30, 2020. Image by Meredith Holser