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In this series, Texas Tech Public Media sits down with candidates across the board to discuss issues facing their constituents.

Conversations with Candidates: Pat Kelly for Lubbock City Council District 1

Pat Kelly
Pat Kelly

For the first time in several years, there will be new representatives on the Lubbock City Council after the May municipal election. That includes District 1, which covers much of northeast and some of central Lubbock. One of the candidates for the position is Pat Kelly.

Sarah Self-Walbrick: To start, introduce yourself to us and share some of your background.

Pat Kelly: My name is Pat Kelly. I have a desire to run for city council District 1 because I believe there needs to be a change made. Give you a little background: I was a police detective for 30 years, I retired with 30 years. I'm a veteran of the U.S. Army. I'm also deeply involved in affordable homes in north and east Lubbock, especially. I believe there's a need for it. I am a very conservative person. And I believe we just need to do a little more for the city council. It could use conservative views.

I've contacted several other candidates who have conservative views also. And I believe we share the same views, or basically the same views. So I just have a passion for getting things done. I'm not a sit-by and watch things happen. I'm a go-getter. I like to get out and do things. I think that's what it's going to take to move the city love it forward, especially with the almost $1.8 billion debt we have.

Sarah Self-Walbrick: Why are you running for city council?

Pat Kelly: To make a difference, to be honest with you. I've lived in District 1 for many, many years, several decades. And I see what's going on. I don't think we've been represented well in the past, through several city council representatives. So I decided to throw my name in the hat. And I believe I can do something good. Not just for District 1, but throughout the city of Lubbock. We have tremendous needs throughout the city for infrastructure needs. I'm talking about roads and things that they were just totally blindsided by this last vote. So I think we need to take that home.

Sarah Self-Walbrick: I'm curious to know, how often have you attended city council meetings in the past?

Pat Kelly: Very often. A lot of times I will stay home and watch them or watch them late at night. I'm a very busy person. I'm very active in the community. So I try to make them and I have presented several issues to the city council and been in front of the city council. But I'm aware of the day-to-day workings and what the city's doing.

Sarah Self-Walbrick: What's something that you know you will need to learn more about if you're elected?

Pat Kelly: I'd need to really dig into our budget. I've got a grasp of it. But as you know, a lot of it is confidential and is done in executive session. So one of my priorities will be to really dig in and look where we got some fat that we can trim. And they kind of keep that in the back room. I think I like to be more transparent with that. So probably one of my first issues to look at when I'm elected.

Sarah Self-Walbrick: Tell us about some city-wide issues that you think need to be addressed.

Pat Kelly: First and foremost is the crime. As you know, I'm a 30-year police veteran, I retired there. I look around the city, all parts of the city, we're having tremendous crime. I mean, no matter where you're at. They say 'It's just north Lubbock, east Lubbock.' That's not true. It's throughout the city. The other day, we had several, several cars in southwest Lubbock burglarized. We had shootings at 50th and West Loop. That's not east Lubbock or north Lubbock. So we have a tremendous amount of crime we really need to address within the whole city of Lubbock.

Sarah Self-Walbrick: What specifically in District 1 do you think needs to be addressed?

Pat Kelly: I really need to tackle our infrastructure problems, substandard housing. District 1 is the oldest part of the city. We have some major issues, infrastructure. District 1 is the most diverse community in Lubbock. We go everywhere from the Lubbock Country Club, Hillcrest Country Club, we go to Guadalupe, we go to Jackson, we go to Arnett Benson and Heart of Lubbock. It's the most diverse part of the city. So it really is going to take some real deep dive to find out how we can accommodate all the people because everybody's wants and needs are different in District 1.

Sarah Self-Walbrick: District 1 is a majority-minority district. About 65% of the district community is Hispanic or Black. What would it mean to you to represent this specific population?

Pat Kelly: I was officially notified yesterday that the Republican National Hispanic Assembly has officially endorsed me. So that tells you I do have quite a bit of contact with the Hispanic community. I'm married to a Hispanic. So I really think race should not be an issue in this and I think my opponent is trying to lean that away. But, as you know, with the endorsement of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, I think we can overcome that. I'm for all the people no matter what color you are. My constituent is my constituent, I don't look at their race at all.

Sarah Self-Walbrick: And lastly, why should voters cast their ballot for you?

Pat Kelly: First of all, they can trust me, I will give them an honest answer. If I don't know the answer, I will find the answer. They can call me 24/7. Now, if I don't answer my telephone, I promise you they will get a return call.

And I realize what the city of Lubbock needs, all the infrastructure. And not just District 1. I realize what south Lubbock needs, southwest Lubbock needs. We really need to address some of the streets in southwest Lubbock, especially with this boondoggle of a street bond that they had. That was a time we could have done something throughout Lubbock. And I think with the city council's mishandling of the downtown Broadway, it really set us back a little bit. But we need to look at 114th Street, 98th Street, 66th Street, and that's just in southwest Lubbock. But we really need to address the dirt roads in north and east Lubbock, also. So we also need to get our fair share of money spent in that area and not have it all pushed to southwest Lubbock for infrastructure.

Early voting for the municipal election begins April 25 and goes through May 3. Election day is May 7.

Sarah Self-Walbrick is the news director at Texas Tech Public Media, where she leads the news team and focuses on underreported stories in Lubbock. Sarah is a Lubbock native and a three-time graduate of Texas Tech University. She started her career at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.