Julie Holmer, candidate for Plano City Council Place 7, vows to put ‘fellow small business owners’ 1st


Question: Can you give us a little bit of background on yourself and why did you decide to run for city council?

Answer: My name is Julie Holmer and I’ve lived in Plano since 1981. I am a product of public Plano schools, graduating from Plano Senior High. I graduated from Stephen F. Austin University and quickly hurried back to Plano to start my career and now I’m raising my family here. I’m a community advocate, volunteer and enthusiast. I love Plano and I could not be more excited to serve.

I have loved doing business in Plano. I’m a small business owner and have run multiple businesses here in Plano including Mind’s Eye Solutions, Angela’s at the Crosswalk, and Mojo DFW Photo Booth. I know what it is like to open your own business and I promise I will keep my fellow small business owners at the front of mind and in my heart while serving on city council.

I’m an active member of the Plano Chamber of Commerce and for eight years I served on the board of the Historic Downtown Plano Association. I don’t take Plano for granted. I give back whenever possible. I just completed my term on the city of Plano’s 2020 Complete Count Census Committee. I am a Vice President of the Carpenter Middle School PTA and served on the Christie PTA when my sons were younger. I have served on the boards of the Assistance Center of Collin County, the Plano Parks Foundation, and I started the Hunter’s Glen Neighborhood Crime Watch.

Q.: Why should people vote for you?

A.: I’m a graduate of Leadership Plano, Plano Citizens Police Academy, and Plano Citizens Fire Academy. I was appointed by city council and served on the city’s Complete Count Census Committee. I have been a board member of the Carpenter Middle School and Christie Elementary School PTAs. And I have served on the boards of Hope’s Door New Beginnings Advisory Board, Theatre Britain, Historic Downtown Plano Association, Plano Parks Foundation, and I founded the East Hunters Glen #1 Neighborhood Crime Watch.

Q.: What are your strengths compared to your competitors?

A.: I have longer and deeper ties to our community, and I’m well respected by people of all political persuasions. You’ll find prominent Plano leaders and influencers across the political spectrum on my endorsement page.

Q.:  What do you think of the proposal to defund the police and would you support it?

A.: I’ve been lucky to have a close working relationship with them as a small business owner and a graduate of the Citizen’s Police Academy. Recent events have alerted me to how much room there is for improvement and additional training in other city’s police departments. I believe that Plano’s very intense vetting process and higher educational and/or experience prerequisites than most cities are contributing factors to why we have such an exceptional police force. I do not support taking funds away from our police department. However, I do believe there are too many situations where we expect our police force to also be social workers, therapists, psychiatrists, etc. We need to make sure we are funding to staff our departments with people who can assist with needs outside of dealing with crime. We need more mental health experts. And we always need to be offering extensive training to officers so they will know when they should respond, and when they should call in their mental health colleagues. We often expect too much from our officers.

Q.: What do you think about the Black Lives Matter movement?

A.: No police officer in any police department should be killing any American. That black Americans are killed by LEOs at twice the rate of their share of the population is tragic.

Q.: Would you support more transparency by city government? Why or why not?

A: The workings of the Plano City Government are extremely transparent and follow the standards laid out by the state legislature in the Open Meeting Act.

Q.: The city is constantly trying to provide more affordable housing, but it faces an uphill battle. How will you address the housing situation? Will you look at it from a property tax issue, a development issue or a resource issue?  Will you vote for higher taxes so the city can build more affordable housing?

A.: There is no silver bullet solution for our housing problems. As Collin County becomes more built out land becomes scarcer and thus more expensive. As more businesses move into the city their need for workers at all income levels increases. The Plano Housing Authority owns 20 or more rental homes in North TX that are subsidized at market rate rents with section 8 vouchers and they get 100% ad valorem tax deduction. Community housing developer nonprofit corporations that build low-income housing get just a 50% tax exemption. Leveling that playing field is an issue for the legislature.

Q.: How will you address homelessness? Do you think the city should be providing more services to the homeless?

A: During the recent snowstorm, I organized a clothing, supplies, and hot meals drive for the homeless and displaced citizens who had taken refuge at the two warming centers in Plano.

Q.: Do you think crime is a problem in your city? If so, what changes would you fight to implement?

A.: No. We have an excellent Police Department and I aim to keep it that way.

Q.: City workers get a number of employment benefits not offered to every citizen. Do you think this is fair? How do we make this more equitable so that all citizens can benefit from what their tax dollars are essentially paying for?

A.: Hiring and retaining good employees requires paying competitive salaries and offering competitive benefits.

Q.: With all these corporate relocations to the Metroplex, why do you think so few people have relocated downtown?  How do we encourage people to move downtown?

A.: As a kid I used to work at Collin Creek Mall, and for 7 years I owned a restaurant in downtown. It is my fervent hope that the renovation of the Collin Creek Mall site and the addition of the Silver Line will lead to a revitalization of Plano’s downtown. It’s too late to fix it now, but I wish that when U.S. 75 was recently widened that it would have gone under, not over 15th Street to prevent the freeway from being a barrier separating the east and west portions of downtown.

Q.: How will you help the local school districts improve those schools that have struggled?

A.: As a PTA mom I feel that no child should be left behind, but I’m running for Plano City Council, not Plano ISD Trustee, so I won’t speak for positions outside the purview of the one I’m running for.

Q.: In order to solve a problem, it needs to be measured. So how do you measure systemic racism?  How much is there?  And what do you think the city’s role should be in solving it?

A.: Racism has no place in our city.

Q.: What regulations do you think the city should cut?  Which regulations do you think the city should add?

A.: If elected I would be in favor of allowing backyard chickens if they follow certain guidelines related to how many, the size of the yard, proximity to neighbors, no roosters, and HOAs would be able to make their own rules as to whether or not they would allow them. Before taking this position, I reached out to other cities to find out if they had any issues with their existing residents having chickens. I spoke to George Fuller, mayor of McKinney, who told me that he’s yet to receive one single complaint about backyard chickens in his current four-year term.

Q.: How are you going to help the poorest among us?

A.: Encouraging a strong economy that puts people to work and properly funding mental health services are the two best ways to help our poorest citizens.

Q.: What would be your first 3 priorities if elected to city council?

A.: Keep Plano: STRONG – that means

1. Keeping Plano Safe:  always make funding our first responders a TOP priority.

2. Maintaining Plano’s Aging Infrastructure: continue to invest in our streets, our parks and facilities.

3. Keep Plano’s Culture Strong: investing in our arts, education, and being an accepting and inclusive city for all. Plano should be EVERYONE’s neighborhood!

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