Q&A Interviews with District 3 Paris City Council incumbent John Wright and challenger Marvin Wroten
John Wright: I was born in Deport, the sixth of seven children to Tom and Mary Elizabeth Blissett Wright. I attended elementary schools in Deport until my family moved to Paris, where I graduated from Paris High School. I married the late Bettye Click Wright on July 20, 1951. We have three sons – Johnny, Kem and Ricky – all of whom reside in Paris; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. In 1953, I was employed as a route salesman for Ideal Baking Company, working my way to the position of sales manager by the mid-60s. In 1967, I was employed as a salesman for Del Chemical Co., and in 1970 was one of five original investors who teamed up to form Share Corp., a manufacturer and distributor of municipal and industrial chemicals. Since that time, Share Corp. has grown to operate in the 48 contiguous states and Canada. I remain associated with Share Corp. as sales manager, partner and senior vice president. I have been involved in community service for much of my adult life. Past positions of service include president of the Paris Independent School District board of trustees, member of the Lamar County Appraisal Board, and member of the board of the Paris Economic Development Corp. I was inducted in 2011 into the Boys and Girls Club of Paris Wall of Honor. Currently, I am the city councilman for District 3 and am an active member of the First Baptist Church in Paris and serve on the church’s finance committee.
Marvin Wroten: I was born and raised in Tyler. I graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1973. At the time, I was working for Brookshire Grocery Company and realized the opportunity to advance my career there. My wife, Elaine, and I married in June of 1979. In October, 1980, we moved to Paris. I was store director for Brookshire’s. In 1985, we were transferred to Tyler, and then to El Dorado, Ark. In the summer of 1990, we had the opportunity to move back to Paris to manage the Super 1 Food Store. We were glad to make the move in order to have the chance to raise our two daughters, Amanda and Bonnie, in a good school system and good community environment. From 1999 through 2011, I worked in Bonham for Brookshire’s. I recently made the decision to retire after almost 40 years of service and now work for the Lamar County Human Resources Council and for Paris ISD. Both of our daughters are registered nurses and work in the Fort Worth area. We have one granddaughter, Noelle. My wife is a CPA and works for McClanahan & Holmes CPA firm in Paris. We attend the First Baptist Church in Paris.
QUESTION 1: What is your vision for Paris for the short term and for the long term?
John Wright: Short term, install the new city manager and have him place department heads, supervisors and workers into a coalition or team knowing what their responsibilities are. Long term, 1) Solve infiltration of rain water into sewer collection system that causes needless treating of millions of gallons of rain water. 2) Develop a new sewer plant. 3) Begin a perpetual system of upgrade to our streets.
Marvin Wroten: My vision for Paris in the short term is to see the city council and the community come together as a team. I would like to see us working together to encourage growth and beautification in our city. This would include welcoming the new city manager regardless of our opinion of the hiring process. I feel we need to allow the city manager to lead with new ideas under the direction of the city council. My long-term vision is to continue with the updating of the infrastructure of the city making improvements that would encourage not only new business but neighborhoods to be revitalized. Also, I would like to see the council encourage business and residential growth in District 3. This would include the areas of West Paris; Loop 286 near Highway 19/24; Highway 82 West; and Highway 271 South.
QUESTION 2: Point out three top deficiencies or priorities that you feel require correction in the city and local government.
John Wright: 1) Coming to grips with sewer collection lines and the sewer plant. 2) Coming to grips with the condition of our city streets. 3) Creation of jobs – GOOD jobs.
Marvin Wroten: 1) Stability within the city council, mayor’s office and, most important, the city manager’s office. The city manager’s position needs to be filled for the long term by a qualified leader with a vision for the growth of Paris. 2) Becoming more business friendly; reviewing the permitting process. Do we overdo permits and are city employees given the proper training in the area of enforcement? 3) Working together with the PEDC and city government to explore and bring in new business and jobs to the city.
QUESTION 3: Give some innovative/creative ideas for infrastructure improvement/replacement.
John Wright: Develop continuous upgrading of the sewer collecrtion system, the sewer plant, and city streets. With major bonds retiring soon, this will allow us to pass a bond for these badly needed projects without a tax increase.
Marvin Wroten: We badly need to update our water lines in the city. Every time we have a break in the old lines, it not only costs us for the line repair but also for street and yard repairs as well. This leaves our city streets looking bad and sometimes leaves homeowner’s property in a mess. It seems we are throwing good money away. I know we cannot repair the entire problem at once, but I believe we can lessen our long-term costs by making new lines a top priority. Also, we have a growing downtown area. As we develop this area, we need to consider moving the infrastructure below ground not only for beautification but for safety.
QUESTION 4: Identify four challenges of your district and your plans to meet those challenges.
John Wright: District 3 has a need for street repair, demolition of substandard structures, more retail outlets, and improved sewer collection lines. I plan to lobby through the council to include the aforementioned in both short and long term planning.
Marvin Wroten: 1) Opening the lines of communication and follow up communication is a big challenge. I will be available to listen and do my best to resolve issues by expressing questions asked to city employees and relaying final results to the concerned person. 2) Addressing neighborhood maintenance issues such as overgrown lots and abandoned and unsafe buildings and homes. This is a must if we expect people to take pride of ownership in our city. 3) Community involvement is a must. This includes coming to city meetings and expressing concerns in an appropriate way. Both negative and positive concerns. Encouragement and acknowledgement when something good is accomplished. Also, and very important, a spirit of “volunteerism.” Being willing to donate time to projects you believe to be beneficial to your city. 4) The creation of retail business in District 3 by encouraging local entrepreneurs to consider the great opportunities available.
QUESTION 5: What changes do you suggest for economic growth of the city?
John Wright: I would seek industrial-type plants that our water, workforce, climate, etc., match well with. I would look for utility companies or other to partner with that would benefit also, forming a team approach. Then I would give them (according to the number of employees) use of property in the Industrial Park if they maintain an adequate number of employees. The jobs created should be GOOD jobs.
Marvin Wroten: We must work as a team to locate, encourage and build new relationships with outside business and industry. We must provide an updated and scenic entry into our city from the Metroplex. We have made some initial efforts at the entry on Highway 19/24, but there needs to be some finishing touches like landscaping. The McKinney and Plano areas are growing fast, and the entry into the city from these areas on Highway 82 West finds a closed-up, overgrown rest stop. Refurbishing this rest stop would provide an excellent opportunity for a pleasing entry into our city. Two restaurants (Westside Café and Subway) and a fuel center already in place provide a good start for future retail and residential growth.
QUESTION 6: What suggestions do you have to improve the net revenue picture for the city?
John Wright: 1) Acquisition of industry and jobs. More homes means an increase in sales tax revenue. 2) Seek large retail stores, which would bring jobs, an increase in property tax revenue, and an increase in sales tax revenue. 3) Promote shopping from the area — more sales tax revenue.
Marvin Wroten: We must increase retail and industry to grow our tax base. This will provide population growth and spending, which in turn adds to our city revenue. This leads to more opportunities to maintain and update the infrastructure and facilities in Paris.
QUESTION 7: If elected, how will you encourage participation of your district in city matters?
John Wright: Encourage attendance at council meetings; have more residents of District 3 on city committees; promote more volunteer workers; help keep residents better informed.
Marvin Wroten: VOTE! At all levels we must all have our voices heard. It seems at times to be futile, but I believe if at least the majority of voters would let their feelings be known at all local, county, state and national levels there would be no choice but to follow the will of the American people. I would also encourage communication when issues and policies within the district and city are being considered.
John Wright: I offer my experience of 21 years on the PISD school board, Lamar County Appraisal District, PEDC and the City Council, combined with 40 years as senior vice president of a prosperous national company. I have been faithful and informed with perfect attendance while on the City Council. Additionally, I am confident that the record will show my having voted based solely upon my conscience, with no outside influences.
Marvin Wroten: I have lived in Paris for more than 25 years and have raised my family here. In doing this, I have always been concerned with the education system. Also, I care about the quality of life here. Safety of our children and youth, who are our future, is vital. But I also feel a great and heartfelt love and concern for the growing senior population. We need to make sure a high quality of life is provided for these who have provided for the rest of us at times in the past. I have worked with budgets and guidelines all of my adult life. I know the value of being wise in how dollars are spent. I believe we must set aside personal agendas for the good of the city as whole. We must support the majority. Let the voters of Paris decide at the polls on issues that will affect their lives.
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