Candidates Gather for Municipal Election Forum

Candidates for the Denton Municipal Election gathered at Dan’s Silverleaf for a forum on April 16. The event, hosted by We Denton Do It and Politically Denton, allowed candidates to have an informal discussion with the public about their ideas and plans if and when they were elected.

Neil L. Durrance is running against current Mayor Chris Watts who is the current incumbent.

Two Place 6 candidates, Paul Meltzer and Frank Dudowicz, participated in the forum; along with all four Place 5 candidates, Aaron “Fuzzy” Newquist, Jodi Vicars-Nance, Deb Armintor, and Bernard J. Vokoun.

The mayoral candidates were asked their opinions on if Denton should pursue the opportunity of having Amazon headquarters in the city.

Durrance answered first and said it depends on what is “planned for the city.” He continued to say that Denton needs to really figure out what businesses should be part of the city before brining in in new businesses.

Watts answered saying what corporations are bringing to the community of Denton is an important question to ask when considering creating plans for the specific businesses or corporations.

All four Place 5 candidates were asked what was the number one issue they’ve been hearing from voters and how they’re going to address it once they’re in office.

All four of the candidates said that the roads were a problem they’ve heard a lot about and the homeless population in Denton.

Armintor’s answer included the red light cameras at intersections and Denton Municipal Electric (DME) issues and saying she is running to stick her neck out and take risks so that the citizens of Denton don’t have to.

“Our issue with roads not only has to do with getting them done, but it also has to do a lot with being accountable,” Newquist said.

Vokoun talked about the homeless issue in Denton in addition to talking about the infrastructure.

Dudowicz and Meltzer both agreed bike lanes need to be improved.

Dudowicz said city council needs to listen to what citizens say about what needs to improved, instead of making decisions without input.

Meltzer said he wants to do more than have a stripe in the road to separate the bike lane from a vehicle lane.

Both Mayoral candidates were asked about affordable housing. Watts said affordable housing and homelessness were separate issues while Durrance said they went hand-in-hand.

Place 5 candidates were also asked about affordable housing, two ideas to help with affordable housing that many candidates agreed with was to raise wages and bring more jobs to Denton.

“All ideas need to be on the table,” Newquist said.

A question was asked between Durrance and Watts about the criticism from Durrance about the current City Council. Durrance went slightly in-depth on his accusations about City Council being corrupt and Watts denied them all.

All candidates in Place 5 and Place 6 were asked what their one big idea would be.

Meltzer wants to improve the air quality, Dudowicz wants to create more entertainment venues and bring in more music. One of Newquist’s ideas was to help the Denton non-profit organizations. Vokoun said he would work on infrastructure.

Vicars-Nance said that her big idea was to find a better way to get from “here to there,” or transportation.

Armintor’s big idea is to slow down Denton’s growth so that the infrastructure is able to keep up with it.

The general election is May 5, 2018. Find your polling location here.

You can watch a video of the event below:

Header image photographed by Zendra Morales
Header image layout designed by Mateo Granados