Below are my responses to questions asked by Community Impact Newspaper.
1. Why did you decide to run for office?
When I moved to Frisco 20 years ago, my wife and I had recently married. We wanted a great place to live and start our family. Like many newlyweds, we started with no money and big goals. Frisco has been good to us and allowed us to achieve the American dream. I’ve been able to balance my professional career with raising my children and participating in the community. Family is the most important thing in my life. Everything I do is to create opportunities for my children to be successful. It’s important to me that Frisco continues to be an attractive option for new families.
As a community, we face many challenges that must be addressed properly to maintain the quality of life for which Frisco is known. Consistent leadership and a commitment to conservative fiscal values have been the keys to our success. Frisco has become an incredibly diverse community. However, our leadership doesn’t currently reflect that diversity. Regardless of where we come from, we all want low taxes, better traffic, more local jobs, better education opportunities, and a sense of security. I decided to run for office because Frisco residents deserve a candidate that will listen to their needs and address their concerns regardless of age, income, race, religion, or political affiliation.
2. What experience do you think prepares you for serving on the City Council?
I have more than 25 years of professional experience in technology management and implementation. Many of the issues we face will require technology to develop solutions. My experience in SMART technology implementation in the public sector gives me an advantage in evaluating and recommending appropriate solutions to Frisco’s unique needs.
I believe that local jobs are extremely important for Frisco. I’ve worked with multiple companies to establish a presence in Frisco and create employment opportunities for Frisco residents. I continue to work with the Frisco EDC to identify, attract, and grow new employers.
I have worked closely with many civic organizations to provide volunteer and financial support in Frisco and the surrounding area. I currently serve as a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain. I was appointed by Frisco City Council to the 2018 Citizen Bond Committee, where I studied the financial needs for the City of Frisco over the next five years and worked with other committee members and city staff to develop a bond package to fund essential city services. I also served on the Yes for Frisco political action committee that supported the successful passage of the 2019 bond package in the city election. I served as the vice-chair for Frisco Forward in support of the Frisco ISD bond election in 2018. Also, I was a founding member and vice-chair of the Frisco Indian Affairs Committee.
I have raised two children that have exclusively attended Frisco ISD schools from elementary to high school. I am committed to ensuring that the City of Frisco continues to work with FISD to develop the partnerships that have created exceptional opportunities for our young residents.
Although I have lived half of my life in Frisco, I am an immigrant like many Frisco residents. I possess a unique understanding of the role that diversity of thought plays in creating a balanced city. I am deeply rooted in Frisco and intensely committed to our success as a city and community.
3. What do you think is the biggest issue facing Frisco today, and how do you plan to address it?
I’ve talked with many residents over the years and I’ve learned that priorities are based on individual circumstances. It’s important for voters to know that elected officials are representing their concerns equally. However, there are a few issues that top the list and traffic is number one. While traffic seems to be the greatest source of frustration for residents, I believe it is a symptom of the real issue. Frisco is lacking local job opportunities. There is an imbalance between property values and income opportunities. Many residents must find employment in neighboring cities to generate the income necessary to purchase a home and pay property taxes in Frisco. This is true for our neighbors to the north as well. Thousands of commuters travel through Frisco every day to work in cities to the south without paying taxes in Frisco to support construction and maintenance of our roads.
We must address this imbalance and seek to become an attractive high-end employment center for major corporations; small, growing businesses; and startup companies. This one objective alone will have the greatest impact on the top issues facing Frisco. More local jobs reduces traffic, lowers the tax burden on homeowners, generates more sales tax, increases income opportunities, and increases the time we can spend with family and friends.
4. As Frisco continues to grow, what do you see as the city’s top transportation- and infrastructure-related concerns? How do you plan to address them?
Like any city, Frisco faces a number of challenges and opportunities as we grow. Traffic is always a major concern of residents. Frisco has learned from our neighboring cities and we’ve been very proactive about designing a traffic management system to address our rapid growth. Our major roadways are already built to maximum capacity, with many intersections containing almost 20 lanes for traffic. But, we can’t solve the problem with construction alone.
In addition to traditional traffic management practices, we should explore alternative transportation options and smart city solutions. There is an abundance of research and numerous solutions are being developed by private industry. The real issue is understanding the technologies and selecting the best path for Frisco. Frisco has the best traffic engineers in the country. We need to ensure that our elected representatives understand that and give them the resources they need to develop and implement solutions. We should also continue to preserve corridors for future transportation technology and growth opportunities.
Much of Frisco’s infrastructure has been constructed in the past 30 years. We haven’t faced maintenance issues that plague some neighboring cities. As our city ages, we will have more maintenance costs. It is important to ensure a consistent revenue stream that doesn’t rely on homeowners paying more in property taxes. Part of the solution is to increase the number of businesses operating in Frisco. This will create a more balanced sharing of the tax burden between business and residential development. Just as we’ve done with our numerous sports venues, we should continue to pursue opportunities that capture sales tax revenue from visitors.
5. What do you see as the city’s top issues related to housing and real estate development, including but not limited to residential and commercial development, multifamily housing and the overall cost of living in Frisco? How do you plan to address them?
Real estate development is a complex issue in Frisco. At the core is the need to balance landowner rights with community goals of getting the best use of available land. We all want quality, safe, family friendly developments with long-lasting value and we rely on these developments to create a variety of housing, office, shopping, and recreation options. With an average new home value of more than $400,000, it’s difficult for a new family to find an affordable living option. This is a primary driver for the development of multi-family projects. There is no single solution that addresses the needs of landowners, developers, and residents. Every development project works closely with the City’s development department to meet Frisco’s strict building codes, zoning requirements, and design standards. Each project must be evaluated against the comprehensive master plan, community input, current needs, and future expectations.
6. What else do you want voters to know about you?
I live the Frisco dream and other things to know about me are below:
- Former Soccer Coach for my daughter’s team U-5/U-6
- Adult Basketball team member at Fieldhouse USA
- Martial Arts Student (jujitsu, kick boxing)
- Regular 5K runner to support Frisco Community Organizations
- Volunteer for multiple Non-Profits in the DFW area
- Frisco Football League Chain Gang and Scorer
- Frisco City Hall 101 Graduate
- Core founder of multiple community events that enable communication between community members and city officials: Cricket with Cheney, Chai with Cheney, Coffee with Cops, Anti-bullying events ,etc.
- Consistent donor and fundraiser for numerous non-profit organizations in the DFW area
- 2020 YEA Young Entrepreneur’s Academy (YEA) Mentor
- Always happy to leverage my strong relationships with City staff and elected officials to help my fellow Frisconians on issues such as connecting Frisco ISD parents and students with the appropriate administrators to solve complex situations, assisting with HOA issues throughout the City, or acting as a liaison between concerned residents, public safety, and traffic engineering to address dangerous intersections
- Corporate technology executive with vast experience assisting corporate organizations in the commercial sector, as well as state and local governments
Pol. adv. paid for by Ram Majji for Frisco Campaign.
Rick Fletcher, Treasurer