Abilene mayor's race: Williams wants to invite residents to table when decisions are made
ABILENE, Texas - When he's not at City Hall, his job at Abilene Christian University or working on community projects, Anthony Williams is spending quality time with those he cares about in the neighborhood where he grew up.
Returning to the Pasadena Heights neighborhood helps him stay focused and grounded. It's where Williams grew up and where his family worked hard to purchase their first home.
"This was a vibrant community that once wasn't and now like a lot of neighborhoods is in transition," Williams said.
Williams is squaring off against 180 House leader Richard Kennedy and former councilman Robert Briley in the May 6 election.
The Place 3 councilman says returning helps him never forget where he came from.
If elected, Williams would become Abilene's first African-American mayor, one who he says has demonstrated to be inclusive - "the mayor that will be the people's choice" and represents all of Abilene's communities.
"Abilene it is a great community, but there's a lot of work that we have to do. And I love looking at something the way it is but having a vision of what it could be," Williams said. "For too long in Abilene there have been small tables. I want to have conversations where we can extend the table and allow more people to sit."
After serving the City of Abilene for the past 15 years as a councilman, Williams believes he's learned how important it is to let people weigh-in on issues versus making decisions in "isolation."
He was recently praised by parents for being instrumental in keeping the city's after-school program going and including them in the conversation.
Williams said one of his top priorities will be bringing "good-paying jobs" for highly skilled workers to Abilene. He believes that will improve the city's economy once residents begin contributing more of their taxable income and help families progress.
"The last 18 months we've had $86 million invested from the private sector in Abilene - 75 percent of that money is taxable, which means the city has an additional $500,000 to invest in street's infrastructure," Williams said. "I want a legacy of being part of real people who have grown the Abilene economy so more of our families can have a mom and dad with good-paying jobs."
While his opponent Robert Briley has outfunded him, Williams says "you can't buy an election in Abilene" and he wants to focus on what the community is telling him what they want and then "deliver that."
This Thursday, KTXS in partnership with the Abilene Reporter-News will air an hour-long, commercial free debate from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will stream live here on our website and will we'll be live on our Facebook pages taking questions from people.
RICHARD KENNEDY PROFILE -} http://www.ktxs.com/454072686
UP NEXT: ROBERT BRILEY