This election cycle, Derrith Bondurant and incumbent Broderick McGee are squaring off to represent District 2, which includes areas west of Old Jacksonville Highway and south of Chandler Highway, for a two-year term on Tyler City Council.
Bondurant has held many titles, including vice president of institutional advancement and assistant dean for development at UT Health Northeast School of Public Health (now known as UT Health) and executive director for organizations like East Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse, while McGee currently serves as the vice president for development of the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County, and has previously served as a commissioner on the City of Tyler Planning and Zoning Commission, president of the East Texas HR Association and a board member for the Boys & Girls Club of East Texas, among others.
Both candidates are running on forward-thinking platforms that emphasize the need for collaboration among community stakeholders as the city continues its growth and development.
McGee said he is “focused on our future” during this year’s campaign.
“We must leave something for the next generation, which is why economic development consistently comes up when talking to the constituents in District 2,” McGee said.
He aims to bring more housing, retail and restaurants to area residents.
“Tyler’s population continues to grow and we must bring new development to our area that will sustain the influx of new people that are relocating here, as well as those moving throughout the city,” he said. “Additional rooftops will spur the retail and commercial development will provide more options to choose from when citizens are searching for goods and services.”
His race, he said, emphasizes his positive vision for the future of Tyler and “the hard work we have done in my first term to help strengthen District 2.”
“It is not about my opponent,” McGee said. “That is negative in regards to campaigning, and does not present a positive future for our city nor the council.”
His primary goal is to spur development, and to collaborate, through a group effort, with city, business and community leaders and the Tyler Economic Development Council “to help plan for Tyler’s future.”
“Hopefully (we can) get out in front of our growing city so that we can be better prepared to make the necessary presentations to attract the kinds of businesses that will have a lasting impact for our city,” McGee said.
Bondurant said she is especially concerned with the city’s rapid growth.
“We have, in the immediate future, the merger of UT Health and UT Health Northeast and adding a medical school, possibly the most transformative gains in our history,” Bondurant said. “It’s not that we will grow. It’s how we will grow. From the budget to major projects and infrastructure improvements to land use to finances and strategic planning, all must be coordinated and re-examined.”
She spoke, at length, of the need to build working partnerships with invested groups and citizen representation moving forward.
“Of course, communication is key to allow citizens to be involved in the process while allowing city leadership to do their jobs,” Bondurant said. “ … I will immediately move to implement a combination task force of community and economic development in partnership with the Metro Chamber, the Hispanic Business Alliance, the Greater TX Capital Corp, the Small Business Development Center, the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Tyler Economic Development Corporation. All leadership groups should not only work together, they must hear each other, adjust, and plan together.”
Her “variety career and life experiences” allow Bondurant to bring a vast network of resources and connections to the table, she said.
“While it’s true that I have lived and worked outside of Tyler, I have spent the last 13 years concentrated in helping to build schools, scholarships, faculty, arts programs, healthcare and research for East Texas.”
She also said that because she is retired, she is “100% available to be serving this underserved District 2,” and that she will be proactive in her representation, holding regular citizen meetings to “hear and be heard.”
“I’ve done my homework — there is so much unrealized potential here to enhance quality of life,” Bondurant said. “When you look (at District 2) top to bottom, at the top, we have disparity. Some streets have no sidewalks. At the south side, we have beautiful, nice homes, new schools, shopping … lofts and lovely apartments.”
If elected, she hopes to initiate a development coalition that will bring ideas and balance to Tyler.
“We have work to do,” she said. “We must focus our priorities on balance. Imagine the difference if northwest and downtown Tyler were like south Tyler!”