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Argyle’s only contested race to settle Place 2

Profile image for By John D. Harden / Staff Writer
By John D. Harden / Staff Writer

ARGYLE — The race for the Argyle Town Council Place 2 seat pits incumbent David Wintermute against Kay Jenkins Teer, who served on the council in the 1990s.

The Place 2 race is the only contested one in Argyle, but it didn’t start that way.

When candidate applications were submitted in March, it appeared there was going to be a highly contested race for mayor, with at least five potential candidates, including Mayor Matt Smith.

However, all candidates except council member Peggy Krueger later pulled out of the race. She is unopposed.

Wintermute and Teer both said they want to get the town refocused on developing a plan for growth. They each said Argyle is in a position to attract commercial growth and that it needs to be properly managed.

Early voting runs through Tuesday. Election day is May 11.

David Wintermute

Wintermute, 43, a manager, is going for his second term on the council so he can continue to represent the people of Argyle, he said.

Wintermute said he has the knowledge and commitment needed to keep Argyle’s economic development moving forward while making sure the rural lifestyle residents appreciate is preserved.

He said his decision to run for re-election comes from his desire to keep government honest.

“If I leave the council and control of the town passes back to the people who got us into a deep financial hole, the transparency and financial controls that I have been working with other council members to put in place are not going to happen,” he said. “I am fighting to keep the town from returning to crony government.”

Wintermute said he sees two main issues in Argyle — growth and more growth.

“Unfortunately, for almost a decade we have not been proactive like our neighbors,” he said.

Wintermute said that many years before ground is broken on new road improvements, county officials start a planning process that includes the leadership of local jurisdictions with public works needs.

“The county commissioners build the list of projects and work with the state to program and fund them,” he said.

“Our Town Council was not as effective as the towns and villages around us, with the result that [FM407] and [U.S. Highway] 377 are being rebuilt into divided roadways everywhere but within the Argyle town limits over the next three years,” he said. “We can turn this situation around, but not by putting the people who got us into it back in charge.”

Wintermute has been a promoter of the town’s land-use plan, which calls for commercial development along its main corridors. He said sticking to the plan will result in the town retaining its character while welcoming change.

For two years, Wintermute said, he has been on a council known for its bickering and personal attacks during public meetings. He said it’s time to move past that negative image.

“It is extremely sad that the former town leadership and those who support them chose to engage in personal attacks,” he said. “It will not be easy, but a hard focus on doing the work that must be done to take the town forward will eventually bring us to a more positive political environment in Argyle.”

Wintermute said his top three goals are providing more transparency, planning for growth and engaging aggressively with county officials to partner on road projects.

“I am on the side of the taxpayers and parents who want to see Argyle grow into an admired small town that retains our unique identity and a quality of life that leads our region. If you vote for me, I will work toward that positive vision in partnership with all of the town’s citizens,” he said.

Kay Jenkins Teer

Teer, 59 and retired, said the town is on the cusp of growth and that making sure the town has all the right pieces in place will determine whether or not it benefits.

Teer originally filed for the mayor’s seat, but she later reconsidered.

“The mayor doesn’t get a vote,” she said. “I want to make sure the people get to have a voice.”

Teer served on the council for a brief stint in the ’90s when her mother, Yvonne Jenkins, was mayor. Teer grew up in Argyle and said her family is one of the oldest in town.

Teer stepped down from the council after her term ended and took a job that required a lot of traveling.

“You can’t be a good representative if you’re never here, so I decided it was best to move on,” she said.

Since March 2012, Argyle has dealt with losing its town manager, personnel complaints and two women filing U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints against the mayor in connection with accusations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

Teer said Town Hall isn’t a stranger to controversy.

“Years and years ago, we also had a bad rep. It was hard to get things done,” she said. “I think the same thing is happening, and the progress of the last two years has been either stagnant or unable to reach its full potential.”

Teer said town staff members are affected by what happens on the council. She said the bickering between council members may result in staff members feeling unappreciated. She also said it has an effect on residents.

“I think when they see council fighting, they lose trust in their government,” she said.

As a retired project manager for Hewlett-Packard Co., Teer said she has the experience to manage projects and develop working relationships with colleagues.

She also said her experience will help build a relationship with the community and regain lost trust in government.

“We need more transparency,” she said. “There have been too many times where I’ve been in council and they approved something without letting the public in on their decision. Citizens shouldn’t have to ask what was approved. The council should be willing to give it.”

Teer said it takes the council and residents working together to make sure Argyle is put in a position to succeed.

“I’m going to be here 24/7. I will have an open-door policy, and anytime someone wants to talk to me, they can,” she said. “I’m retired, so I have more than enough time to devote to the city.”

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.