The Race for District One: Emily White and the "Ultimate Volunteer Opportunity"
A 19-year Denton resident who has lived as a student, service worker, volunteer, and currently as a paid instructor, has found the next outlet to serve her community.
In May, Emily White will be running for the District 1 City Council seat.
White graduated from Texas Women’s University in 1998 and left to Virginia Tech for Graduate school. She later returned to TWU for her doctorate in 2010 and has been a Denton resident since.
White said for many years she has been volunteering in Denton and found that being a city leader would make this the “ultimate volunteer opportunity."
White said she had been politically active for years, but it was the summer of 2013 when she went to Austin to protest the house bill for abortion access that initiated her earliest steps to get involved in Denton’s local government.
White, who is a professor at North Central Texas College, teaches rhetoric and writing and wants to apply what she advocates in the classroom to City Council.
“I talk a lot to my students about using a common ground method and everyone at the table having a voice and representing as many ideologies as possible,” White said.
She hopes this approach will allow for effective communication between the government and the people of Denton.
White has seen her town go through many changes and with change, came some of the most pressing issues.
“It’s been nice to see local sustainable businesses by entrepreneurs also get an opportunity to thrive,” White said. “But if it’s a pain for you to get there you might go somewhere else."
White wants to make sure we are effectively communicating with our businesses about upcoming construction and not giving just a 30-day notice that their street will be closed.
“We cannot have our local businesses, who have been in business for a long time, who have given a lot to our community, closing,” White said.
A growing pain accompanying the growth of Denton has been the rise of homelessness. White wants to propose a city bond that would apply a 2 cent or 5 cent tax increase to allow for affordable housing.
“I think we should also address our MHMR [Mental Health and Mental Retardation], efforts, and our human resource efforts to see what we can do to prevent homelessness in our city in general,” White said.
When it comes to the tax freeze, the idea does not sit well with White.
“I don’t think it is good for the audience it is intended to help,” White said.
Specifically in District 1, White wants to address renter’s rights and voter turnout. White wants to ensure renters are getting the response they deserve. She also wants to advocate for Denton’s voices to be heard in elections, specifically the local elections.
“If I want to register voters and they vote for someone else, that’s fine,” White said. “Vote for someone else, but vote!”
In her knowledge of all things Denton, White makes it clear she wants to maintain Denton’s credibility as a friendly town.
“I think we as a city can make sure all of our citizens know they are being protected,” White said.
To ensure this, she would like to see enough people in Denton’s police and fire departments who can speak Spanish, use sign language and Braille.
“Inability to speak English should not mean life or death,” White said.
She would also like to see about having a community liaison or outreach program for LGBTQ+ citizens.
White ties this back to effective communication and hopes to add this inclusivity to the culture of Denton’s City Council.
White also said she wants to provide transparency in city council through meeting summaries and explanations for closed meetings.
White said she doesn’t think she will be perfect but hopes to serve her community and get the people in touch with who they need to be.
“I’m concerned about what I don’t know,” White said. “But, I’m confident in my connections that I’ve made in the last 19 years being here.”
With a campaign name such as “Emily for Everyone,” White said she is ready to have the conversations necessary to maintain and better this town.
“I want the city of Denton to know I am able and prepared to do that.”
Photo by Emily Cline
Header Image by Brittany Keeton