For the first time in six years, the city of Tyler will have a new mayor as Martin Heines concludes his third and final term.
Don Warren, owner of small oil and gas asset management firm Lomoco, Inc. and District 4 city councilman since 2014, and Joel Rando, owner of iPhone Repair Genius, are facing off to become the city’s next mayor.
If elected, Warren wants to use his public service experience to improve infrastructure, prepare for further development and revitalize downtown. Rando is advocating for an end to tax increases, fixing traffic issues and improving local infrastructure.
Rando is running for mayor for the fourth time since 2014. His campaign centers around lowering tax rates in the city of Tyler.
“I’m running to stop the increasing of our taxes every year,” he said. “There is plenty of money ... it just needs to be prioritized correctly to put essential services first. I will urge limits on spending and tax increases. Period.”
He also noted concern with the council’s vote in 2018 to hire a lobbying firm Focused Advocacy, a group used to advocate for the city of Tyler’s interests in the state legislature, for $200,000. He called this group, “leftist lobbyists.”
“So our tax dollars are being paid to lobbyists who oppose many conservative reforms that would benefit taxpayers,” Rando said. “I will end this practice if elected.”
Rando said he is a small business owner who loves the Lord with all of his heart, mind, soul and body.
He added that safety and law and order are key, and said he supports police.
“I believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights with everything that I am. I will defend the flag and never defund our awesome police department,” Rando said. “I will fix the traffic issues, no more increases in taxes, fix roads and underground waste water and decaying pipe issues faster than the projected 10-year plan.”
Warren said his platform is based on four major points: sustaining positive economic development, assisting balanced growth, accommodating public health and safety needs and strengthening infrastructure (water, wastewater, streets and drainage) as well as improved traffic technology and more stringent code enforcement.
He called the city of Tyler a basic service organization providing public safety, including police and fire protection, along with infrastructure, quality water and trash services.
“I am very proud of Tyler’s police and fire departments and the quality of service they provide,” Warren said. “When a community survey was conducted a few years ago, Tyler citizens who completed the survey rated our public safety highly satisfactory.”
Warren said his opponent does not have the experience of developing and implementing policies and procedures at city hall.
“He does not have the relationships with community leaders throughout all of Tyler that are necessary to help make things happen,” Warren said. “I have served on city council for six years and prior to that served on the planning and zoning commission.”
Warren said he’s been a part of balancing the city budget six times, and has gained experience on many boards of nonprofits. He added he is a public servant working for the citizens, not a politician.
Warren received endorsements from the Greater Tyler Area Realtors, Tyler Professional Firefighters Association and the Tyler Patrolman’s Association Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 182.
Warren is supportive of public private partnerships to create projects for the city, noting the renovation of Bergfeld Park.
“Public-private partnerships are an innovative method to help fund projects and development initiatives to enhance our growing community and its needs,” Warren said.
In 2013, he was asked to spearhead the park’s renovation. He developed a master plan for a new playground, amphitheater, splashpad and tennis courts.
People raised over $1 million privately and the city matched the funding through the Half Cent Sales Tax Corporation, a program using a half cent of sales tax to fund improvements for economic development.
“I am also excited about encouraging balanced growth throughout our entire community, helping create more rooftops in north Tyler, downtown revitalization and working through the new traffic plan that has just been implemented to help with our congested traffic,” Warren said.