Changing of the Guard

Every May, Frisco citizens have the responsibility to vote for their city council and school board representatives. This year, citizens will also vote for a new mayor. How well do you know the candidates you will vote for in the upcoming local election? 

Mayoral Election 

After serving three terms, Mayor Maher Maso cannot seek re-election. Candidates Jeff Cheney, small business owner of The Cheney Group at Keller Williams Realty and frisco-online.com, and Bob Allen, the director of business applications and business process improvement strategies for the Frisco ISD, have both previously held political offices in Frisco. Both candidates see Frisco as a great place to live and have an array of specific improvements they seek to implement.

Bob Allen – boballenforfrisco.com

Bob Allen has served for 13 years on City Council. He also spent nine years on the Frisco Economic Development Board, as well as numerous other community roles and boards. Mr. Allen’s campaign addresses the growing population of Frisco, protecting current residents and future generations. “We need to focus on a broad range of topics, responsible tax management, addressing congestion and the growing issue of density, all while providing quality services,” says Mr. Allen. Areas of focus Mr. Allen would implement include the mayor’s office working closely with its staff, regional partners, global partners and partners still to come. “Our private and public partnerships will set the stage to advance our employment opportunities, grow our tax base and fulfill our goal of becoming a world-class community,” he shares. “We must address growing density concerns and congestion to protect Frisco homeowners and families. Keeping Frisco the best place to live, work, play and grow.”

Jeff Cheney – choosecheney.com

Jeff Cheney has served the City Council for nine years, four of which he served as mayor pro tem. For eight years, he has been the Budget and Audit Committee chair. Mr. Cheney is involved in the Frisco Chamber of Commerce and served on the Frisco Education Foundation board. His campaign calls for stronger ties between education and city development. “I am heavily involved in the development of the city. I want to see the build-out of the $5 Billion Mile from the Dallas North Tollway to U.S. Highway 380,” he shares. “This development will attract Fortune 500 companies, which provides jobs and lowers our tax base. Citizens have expressed concerns about density and resulting impacts to traffic, available park space and overall quality of life. If Frisco develops too densely, it will have significant ramifications on the quality of life in Frisco. I am committed to managing development so Frisco is not overrun with parking lots and unbearable traffic.”

Frisco City Council Election

City Council members are elected at large by Frisco citizens. This year, Place 5 and 6 are up for election. The only candidate seeking re-election is Tim Nelson, Place 5. 

Tim H. Nelson – votefortim.org, Place 5

Tim Nelson is a realtor with the Cheney Group/Keller Williams Realty and is a Brigade Operations Officer/S3 in the U.S. Army Reserve. His campaign focuses on quality of life and current issues such as traffic, development and increasing land costs. He is the current deputy mayor pro tem and serves on the City Council Legislative and Budget and Audit Committees. Mr. Nelson was first elected to the Frisco City Council in 2011 and was re-elected in 2014. From the FISD and Veterans of Foreign Wars to Boy Scouts and the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Nelson has played a key leadership role in many local organizations and groups.

Chris King – chriskingforfrisco.com, Place 5

Chris King is a business solutions specialist for Microsoft Corporation and is the founding and senior pastor of Christ’s Living Kingdom Church. His campaign addresses the need for balanced growth of Frisco regarding infrastructure for growth, public safety, citizen involvement and transparency and a family culture. “Such rapid growth puts a strain on our first responders and, thus, jeopardizes the safety of our citizens,” he shares. “I believe Frisco is primed to be an international standard for building communities.” Mr. King also wants to serve citizens by ensuring Frisco maintains a family culture that is at the root of its growth.

Bobby Roberti – robertifrisco.com, Place 6

Bobby Roberti is chairman of the Frisco Planning and Zoning Commission and is a financial advisor at Wells Fargo Advisors in Frisco. He has served on the Charter Review Commission, the Neighborhood Design Strategy Advisory Committee and the Capital Improvement Advisory Committee. His campaign priority is to combat the influx of high-density proposals for development. “High density leads to higher traffic, a larger impact on infrastructure and taxes our police and fire departments,” he says.

Rui Zhang – ruizhang4frisco.org, Place 6

Rui Zhang is the vice president of customer reporting and analytics for a health management company headquartered in Irving. She has taken Frisco City Hall 101, is a member of Frisco Arts and the Heritage Association and has volunteered for FISD activities. Ms. Zhang believes the biggest challenges Frisco faces are related to the rapid population growth, creating traffic or infrastructure challenges. She thinks we need to focus on engaging talents, anticipating challenges and monitoring results. “I came to the U.S. 20 years ago to pursue my American Dream. I believe this is based on education and hard work,” she shares. 

Brian Livingston –
brianforfrisco.com, Place 6

Brian Livingston is the CEO and owner of the Celebrity Café & Bakery brand and the Frisco and Plano Texadelphia locations. Mr. Livingston has been on the Frisco Convention and Visitors Bureau board and on the Board of Adjustments and Construction Board of Appeals. He is campaigning to make sure growth does not outpace the city’s ability to maintain quality infrastructure. “I want to keep Frisco great and I believe my broad experience makes me the most qualified candidate to handle the complex issues the city will be facing as we grow,” he shares. 

Jason Abati –
jasonforfrisco.com, Place 6

Jason Abati is the general manager of HouseMax, the owner of The Abati Group, LLC, and is a part-owner of Flagship Services Corporation. The most important issue his campaign addresses is managing the rapid growth of the city while maintaining quality schools, roadways, businesses and a family-friendly community. He has been involved in the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, the BBB of Frisco, FISD PTAs, Grace Avenue United Methodist Church, the Frisco Soccer Association, the Frisco Baseball and Softball Association, the Frisco Football League and the Frisco YMCA.

K.D. Warach –
warach4frisco.com, Place 6

K.D. Warach, the only declared Democrat in the race, is the vice president at Atkins North America. The most important issue his campaign addresses is transportation and infrastructure. He believes his 20 years working as a civil engineer managing heavy civil infrastructure projects both in the public and private sector gives him the experience needed for this position. He says, “I would like to contribute my share by giving it back to the community.”

FISD School Board Election

The FISD Board of Trustees is the policy-making body for the district. Board members are elected at large to three-year terms. Places 4 and 5 will be on the ballot this year.

Jeff Snowden –
snowden4frisco.com, Place 4

Jeff Snowden is the owner of Capex Consulting Group. His campaign proposes that FISD use surplus tax revenue and taxpayer cash on deposit instead of increasing tax rates. He also proposes to lead the implementation of $20 million in annual cost savings and revenue enhancements identified by the FISD’s board-appointed Citizen’s Committee and use the savings to fund small class sizes and competitive teacher pay. Mr. Snowden was a 2016 Appointee to the FISD Priority Based Budget Committee, was on the Frisco Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors from 2009-2015 and was the Frisco appointee to the Denton County Transportation Authority Board of Directors from 2005-2012.

Anne McCausland –
annefisd.com, Place 4

Anne McCausland, a business owner and operations manager for DJA Properties, LLC, is focused on community and student engagement. She has been an FISD School Board Trustee since 2011, is a Texas PTA Lifetime Member and Extended Service honoree and has served on the boards for both the FISD Council of PTAs and the Frisco Education Foundation. “As an ultra-fast growing district, we are facing a few challenges, and I believe my six years of service on the board provide me the experience and unique understanding of these issues needed to help guide us moving forward,” she shares.

Asanga Jayatilaka – asangafisd.com , Place 4

Asanga Jayatilaka, a civil engineer and product of Frisco public education, wants to give back to the faculty and staff that enabled him to succeed. He hopes to ensure current and future students have the tools they need to thrive. Outside of financial imperatives, he wants to equip students to tackle challenges they face and take advantage of the opportunities that will arise in both the college and professional worlds. He says, “I believe the most important issue the FISD currently faces is maintaining and improving our students’ quality of education while we navigate through these tough financial times.”

Grace Wang – grace4friscoisd.org, Place 5

Grace Wang, a TEOCO business analyst, says she wants to move to more disciplined spending within the board and become more transparent with its financial data. Her campaign focuses on hiring, developing, supporting and retaining the best teachers. She has served on the PTA and as a Band Booster. “The beauty of a democratic system is that your participation, opinion and voice do make a difference,” she shares.

Debbie Gillespie – debbiegillespie.com, Place 5

Debbie Gillespie is currently serving her sixth year as an FISD Board Trustee. She also serves on the Texas Association of School Boards, representing Region 10. She believes important issues facing the FISD are continued growth and serving the incoming diverse population while facing ongoing funding challenges. She has been a part of the PTA, PTO, the Frisco Council of PTAs, the Frisco Education Foundation, the 2003 and 2006 FISD Citizen Bond Committee and many volunteer organizations. She says, “We have an exceptional school district and I know strong boards can make a huge impact on student achievement and student outcomes through careful planning, involvement and overall support for our educators and community.”

Bryan Powell – bryanpowell4fisd.com, Place 5

Bryan Powell is the lead executive and vice president of Westwood’s Land Division. He is running to serve students, teachers and taxpayers equally. His campaign addresses the financial crisis and budget shortfalls without harming students and teachers and increasing taxes. He has served on the Sparks Elementary PTA board for two years and led the Watch DOGS program. He currently serves on the Campus Improvement Committee.

To learn more about the candidates running for mayor or for a place on the City Council, visit friscotexas.gov/elections. For more information regarding the FISD School Board election, go to friscoisd.org/about/board-of-trustees/board-elections.

Michael Rogers is a student at Texas Christian University. Christine Perrenot is the editor of Frisco STYLE Magazine.