Three candidates are vying for two two-year terms on the Village of Salado Board of Aldermen: Frank Coachman and write-in candidates Dr. Amber Preston-Dankert and Linda Reynolds.Below are the introductions the candidates gave of themselves at the Candidate Forum on April 18. Next week, we will have questions and answers with the candidates.
Frank Coachman, a Salado resident since 2001, assumed the duties of Deputy Director for the Texas Music Educators Association in July 1999. TMEA is a professional organization comprised of over 12,000 K-16 elementary, band, orchestra, choir and collegiate music educators. Coachman’s duties include managing the scheduling, logistics and presentation components for more than 700 events during the annual three-day TMEA convention. The show draws 27,000 attendees, participants, exhibitors and family members to San Antonio. He also guides and oversees the TMEA audition process for more than 60,000 high school students across the state who compete for membership in TMEA Region, Area and All-State bands, choirs and orchestras. For the previous 22 years, Coachman served the music education profession in the Killeen I.S.D. For 18 years he served as Director of Bands for C.E. Ellison High School.
He presently is the Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors for the Salado Education Foundation and is currently serving as Vice-President. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Temple Symphony Orchestra and the Center for Educator Development in Fine Arts Summit Cadre since 2001. He is a Past President of TMEA and also served as State Band Vice-President from ‘90-92. Coachman is an honorary lifetime member of the Texas Music Adjudicators Association. He attended Texas Tech University and graduated from McMurry University with a B.F.A., Music Education degree.
Coachman seeks to continue serving as a Salado Village Alderman to assist in meeting the needs of fellow citizen/neighbors and business owner/operators. Frank’s best skill is that he makes things happen. He is organized, cost conscious, and committed. He believes in continuing to revise the Village’s short and long term visions, along with revising the master plan to establish healthy growth, seizing opportunities to enhance the village while striving to preserve and maintain the rich historical culture and quality of life in the village. Frank is currently serving as Chair of the Village Economic Development Committee.
Frank and his wife, Kaye, enjoy living in Salado. They have two married daughters and two grandchildren. Kaye and Frank, along with partners Julie and Rusty Schramm, are proprietors and operators of 21 Main, a business on Salado’s Main Street.
I am a retired teacher who moved to Salado to help care for my 92 year old mother. After teaching in Indiana, Canada, New York and Maine, I was also ready for a warm sunny climate.
In my late 30’s, I was widowed, but managed to pay off two mortgages and help my daughter through college on a teacher’s pay. Today I am debt free, which means I may be one of the most fiscally conservative individuals in America!
Along with an undergraduate degree from Indiana University, I have a masters degree from Syracuse University where I tutored football players who had weak reading skills.
I am a National Writing Project Fellow and an avid reader.
When I moved to Salado four and a half years ago, the Village had one million dollars in the bank.
Today we are in debt and spending over $600 a day on interest sent to a Dallas bank. The administration has to beg for money to do the work our village taxes should support.
My most heartfelt belief is that openness and honesty is the best policy.
As an Alderman:
1. I will respect all points of view, and respond with Thanks for Particpating to anyone who has the courage to stand before the board raising concerns.
2. Since I am retired, I will always be available to help solve problems, however large or small.
3. I will NOT vote to raise Village taxes for the third straight year in a row.
Dr. Amber Preston-Dankert
I am a third-generation Saladoan and sixth-generation resident of Bell County. I graduated from Salado High School, received my Bachelors and Masters degrees in Journalism and Agriculture from Texas A&M University, and hold dual Doctorate degrees from both Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University in Agriculture and Natural Resource Science.
I am married to my husband, Will, and I have two children: Max is 12 and Mia is three.
I currently work for the Department of Defense at Fort Hood as the Supervisor of Wildlife Management and I have been there for 11 years. Will retired from the Army after serving four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he now owns his own small business in Salado.
Here are a few things about where I stand on the major issues affecting Salado right now:
1)A sewer is important to both Main Street and the west side of I-35. I’m glad that a couple weeks ago we secured the land and the permit Sanctuary had offered us 2 years ago. But, I think we took entirely too long and that we have hurt people in the process. We need to consider options that keep our costs low, and that will allow connection and operating costs to be affordable to businesses and landowners who may be struggling. Every decision we make effects the bottom line of business owners and residents alike.
2)I am glad Sanctuary will be coming to Salado. But, I don’t believe that we should have offered such steep incentives to get them here. Salado is a JEWEL, and they should have wanted to come here. I believe in incentives to entice new businesses to come to Salado, but there is a difference in offering incentives and giving away more than we can afford. We cannot give away so much that we can no longer afford to also care for the small businesses currently struggling in Salado. We should be offering incentives to KEEP good businesses here, and we should be putting our money into areas that affect our current businesses and residents, such as roads and other infrastructure. Bringing in hundreds or thousands of new people through developments like Sanctuary will cause a huge toll on our infrastructure, but without income from taxes, we will have no more funds to pay for those infrastructure improvements.
3)We should keep pushing to hold TxDOT and their contractors responsible for the failures we see along our stretch of I-35. It is time to finish the highway NOW, and travelers should be allowed safe passage through Salado so that visitors will not be afraid to travel here.
I want to tell you what I’ve learned while being on the Board of Alderman the past two years. You know that feeling you get when you’ve pulled an all-nighter with a sick kid, and you still have to get up and be a functioning adult at work the next day? That is how every Friday feels after a board meeting on Thursday. I’ve learned that you can’t make everyone happy, and that’s ok as long as you know you did your best and kept the best interest of the village in your heart. I’ve learned that you can’t win every battle, but you can defend yourself and your position, and walk away with your dignity. We must continue to arm ourselves with tools such as knowledge, wisdom, inner strength, foresight and persistence to keep coming up with new and innovative ways to draw people here. We all love this town. I bet each of you has your own special story about Salado that you share with people who are from out-of-town. I’m not done here. I am not done fighting for you, and for this town, just yet.