Amarillo council member Cole Stanley announces run for mayor
Ending all speculation about his future position on the Amarillo City Council, Cole Stanley officially announced his candidacy for mayor of Amarillo during an event held Tuesday at the historic Big Texan restaurant in East Amarillo.
In front of a crowded dining room area of the restaurant, Stanley said that he had thought about this decision for weeks, and with his inability to convince local businessman Alex Fairly to run for mayor, he now feels that mayor is the right position to run for.
Amidst a public outcry from many in the city for Fairly to run for mayor, Fairly recently made his decision public that he would not run for office. In that same announcement, Fairly endorsed Stanley as his preferred candidate for the position. With this announcement, all four council member spots will be filled by a first-time member. There are now a total of six candidates running for office, including Stanley’s former councilmate Freda Powell.
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Stanley testified in the lawsuit Fairly brought last year against the city in regard to its plans for the Amarillo Civic Center. The judge struck down a proposed ordinance from the city of Amarillo to secure funding for the civic center through the issuance of tax notes.
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Stanley was elected in 2021 to the council and now after two years of serving is making his move to run for mayor. Standing as the opposition to two of the most divisive issues over the past two years, Stanley painted himself as being the one council member that was not a rubber stamp for Mayor Ginger Nelson during his time in office. Among the issues that Stanley has been the lone dissenting vote on have been the financing of a new city hall, a sister city agreement with Dnipro, Ukraine, and the city’s defeated measure to renovate the civic center.
Stanley stated that his priority if elected would be public safety including improvements to streets and infrastructure. He also said that he felt that the council as it currently stands was forgetting its place as the voice of the people of the city.
During his speech, Stanley emphasized he was willing to stand up to the mayor on issues that he felt were not good for the city.
“My number one goal in moving forward is I really want to restore the voice of our taxpayer and the voice of our citizens," Stanley said. “I came out of nowhere not too long ago, and I just said ‘No, Mayor, I don’t think I’ll be your rubber stamp today.'”
Stanley continued with his opposition to Nelson and her letter encouraging red flag laws for those who may have their Second Amendment rights impacted due to questionable behavior. He said what makes him stand apart from others in the field is his style of leadership that he is not afraid to ask questions about issues that the city is addressing.
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When asked about what measures he would take as mayor to address safety issues in the city, Stanley said that his plan as mayor would be to get more good people to serve in law enforcement in the city.
“We need to continue to build those academies to turn out good cadets and then retain those good cadets here,” Stanley said. "We need to pay them a good living wage and make sure that across the board, we are competitive with other cities to keep them here. We need to get more good people on the streets and we just do not have enough of them at this time."
When addressing the infrastructure needs of the city, which has many buildings sitting empty and eroding, Stanley spoke about measured growth.
"You have to grow, and you cannot grow in a deformed way, meaning you have to measure your growth for your new units," Stanley said. "We want to continue to grow the city footprint and annex new residences into the city. Those are taxpaying units, paying property taxes and using city utilities. We grow our tax base by growing our community the right way, through infrastructure and streets. We cannot keep telling these developers they have to pay for everything if we are not willing to help them.”
Asked if having four new council members might be a detriment, Stanley said that he looked forward to working with some needed new blood for the city.
“There is a thing in a vehicle called a brake. If we learn to use that brake for a minute, we would all be well served to slow down and make decisions based on good fiscal responsibilities,” Stanley said. "We are going to slow down and listen to our citizens more. We have to move forward with vision and purpose.”
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Amarillo council member Cole Stanley announces run for mayor