Kruse, Williams in race for At-Large position on Cameron City Council
May 4 is election day for Cameron City Council. Voting will be at Cameron ISD, 303 East 12th Street in Cameron from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The City Council has one contested race for the At-Large position. Incumbent Melissa Williams will take on Ruth Humble Kruse for that position.
Three other spots has no challengers. Virgie Hardeman will reclaim her spot as Ward 5 Councilwoman. Kyle Deal will reclaim his spot as Ward 3 Councilman. Maurice Goza will replace Daniel Willie as Ward 1 Councilman.
The Herald asked the candidates a few short questions to help voters decide who they thing can best serve Cameron ISD over the next few years.
The question and answer follows:
Why are you running for city council?
Kruse: In year 2016 I left Cameron for one year. When I returned my vision had taken on a new light. As a result, I saw things with a different perspective. Since my return nearly two yeas ago I’ve spent most of my time driving all streets of Cameron - north, south, east and west. I have witnessed some wonderful things, but have witnessed many more that simply made me wonder – why?
Williams: Simply - there are more projects I would like to see completed. After serving the last four years, I recognize the City needs to stay focused on addressing the top priorities to serve its citizens. Finding solutions to today’s issues can be tough and complex. I worked to stop putting expensive band-aids on the City’s failing drinking water and waste water (sewer) systems and towards a way to finance essential and mandated improvements to those systems. We were able to finance over $20M for these projects, a major accomplishment for the City and a benefit to the citizens, but more work needs to be done. In addition, our streets need resurfacing and new drainage systems. Old ordinances, like the Zoning Ordinance, need updating in order to alleviate potential problems and costs, improve property values, attract new businesses and home owners, and assist in code enforcement. Greater citizen participation is needed for future planning like the newly organized 12th Street Park Committee.
What do you feel is the most important issue the district faces right now?
Kruse: It’s my belief that the City of Cameron is stuck on dead center. For you young readers, that means that your vehicle has hit dirt in the center and when you try to accelerate your wheels simply spin. Until you touch some solid ground you cannot move forward or backward.
Williams: Simply – paying for the costs of City services for its citizens. Services provided by the City are costly and the ability to raise revenue is limited. Being able to meet the needs and goals of the citizens of Cameron becomes more difficult each year as our infrastructure and equipment ages or collapses, employment costs increase and debt is repaid while the tax rate and utility bills need to remain supportable. The City does not lack the desire to do the most it can for the citizens. It needs leadership that will keep proposing solutions to keep revenues up and available for services.
What is your background and how will that help you to make decisions for the city?
Kruse: The first half of my working life was spent in the dental field. In mid-life I did an about face and entered church work. For 23 years I was employed by two United Methodist churches in different capacities. These years were spent in the Houston area.
Williams: I have owned property in the city since 1994. I understand what it means to be a property owner, taxpayer and the effects of local government action or inaction. I earned a B.S. degree from Texas A&M University. I worked as a Paralegal in areas of litigation, employment, contract and corporate law after receiving a Certificate from the graduate studies program at Southwest Texas State University. I was one of the initial recipients of the certification issued by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
I spent over 15 years in the legal department of Wilsonart International, Inc. and received the President’s Award for outstanding contributions to the company. My background helps when leadership, hard work and experience is needed. Locally, I have served as the President of the Cameron History Club and the United Methodist Women.
Tell us a little more about you ...
Kruse: I am mother to two sons, who I raised a lot of years as a single parent. My older son, Don, is a still practicing attorney in Austin. My younger son Rex is retired from Conoco-Phillips, as Director of Disaster Relief Worldwide. He currently works with his wife in a retail jewelry business in Tomball. There are five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
My chief interests are family, church, music, books and cooking. My entire life I’ve thought of Cameron as my hometown. A lot of my life has been spent here either as a resident or a visitor. In my 89 years I’ve witnessed a lot of changes, both good and bad. It’s my sincere belief that I can help bring about some positive change to Cameron.
Williams: I grew up in Cameron after my mother returned to Cameron following my father’s death. After working in large cities, I accepted the offer to work for Wilsonart and moved back home by choice because it would benefit my son to be close to my parents, Don and LaVern Humble, and my grandparents Allen and Verna Dodson. It was a good decision.
My son, a C.H. Yoe High School alumnus, is a patent attorney in Washington D.C. My husband, Tommy Williams, and I are retired and we both love to ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. We enjoy being members of the local First United Methodist Church, traveling, spending time with our grandchildren, fixing up our 1930 home in Cameron and being with friends.