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Eight Candidates Race To Get On Midland's City Council, But Only Two Can Win

The District 3 and 4 seats on Midland's city council are wide open this election season after both of the incumbent councilmembers announced they would not seek another term. This has sparked two competitive races to see who will win a place on the city's executive council.

In the next year, Midland could see more than half of its council seats filled with newcomers to local politics. This has many seeing these two races, along with the current mayoral race, as a crossroads for the Tall City.

Eight names will appear on this falls ballot for Midland City Council, but one candidate, Bradley James, hasn’t substantially campaigned. So, He will appear on the ballot with the seven other candidates who have been campaigning aggressively, but Marfa Public Radio didn't find enough information about his campaign to include him in this election rundown.

Midland's District 3 sees the most competitive race of this fall's elections

The election for Midland's District 3 seat has five candidates including the absent Bradley James. The rest of the candidates are EJ Baldridge, Kathryn Chandler, Jack Ladd Jr., and Robin Poole. This district's seat represents the center of Midland on the city council.

EJ Baldridge Aims To Tighten Midland's Budget

At the top of the ballot will be EJ Baldridge, he grew up in Midland and is still in his 20s. He is a land manager at a local oil and gas company and he graduated from Duke University with a degree in economics. Baldridge also has experience serving on local boards, like Keep Midland Beautiful.

On the campaign trail, Baldridge has said he wants to take a hard look at the city’s budget and “trim the fat." That way, according to him, more funds can be dedicated to improving local roads and infrastructure. Baldridge really wants to find viable ways to repair Midland’s infrastructure so the city can become a more pristine place to live. 

Kathryn Chandler Believes Experience Is Needed On the Council

Local Lawyer, Kathryn Chandler is currently employed at Concho Resources, but for years she worked for the City of Midland in its legal department prosecuting city code violations. Chandler thinks she’s the right choice for District 3's seat because she has experience with the city government and knows how to craft effective policy. She believes having council members that know how the City of Midland operates and how to run it effectively will be key for the community's future success.

Jack Ladd Jr. Pushes For Creative Solutions For Midland's Housing Shortage

Jack Ladd Jr. is also an attorney who is originally from Midland. His platform examines a number of subjects, but a primary focus of his campaign is how Midland is growing and how to expand affordable housing options.

Find more land to develop for housing will be key to lowering Midland's cost of living as the city continues to grow in Ladd's opinion. Midland is landlocked by private land and oil production. So, Ladd says identifying more viable plots for development is vital. He’s suggested the city zone smaller plots of land so builders will construct smaller houses, which could drop housing prices. Ladd also believes more multi-level apartment buildings should be built, which would allow more people to live on less land.

Robin Poole Drills Down On Public Safety

Robin Poole is a mother of three, has a background in banking, and has worked in the energy sector. One of her big priorities, if elected to Midland's city council, is public safety. Poole wants to fill all of the vacant positions in Midland’s Fire Department and Police Department. To do this she said the city needs to help create more affordable housing for first responders.

One of the ways this can be done according to Poole is by using state funds for creating affordable housing and reestablishing the Midland Housing Finance Corp. In her plan, Pool outlines that the Housing Finance Corp. would not rely on taxpayer dollars — instead it would use money from local businesses and philanthropic organizations. By taking both of these steps and creating more housing first responders can afford, more firefighters and police officers will be drawn to Midland.

Poole has been endorsed by the Professional Firefighters Association of Midland.

Midland's District 4 election is a three-way standoff

District 4 covers the western part of Midland and goes all the way out to the community's airport.  There are three candidates appearing on the ballot for this race: Lori Blong, Kimberly Crisp, and J. Dani Corrales.

Lori Blong looks to streamline the city government

Lori Blong is a former teacher, mother of three, and co-founded an oil services company with her husband which she helps run. She's also — according to campaign financial disclosures — received the most campaign contributions of anyone in either city council race. It is unclear how her fundraising success correlates with popularity among voters, but it is an advantage she has over her competitors in this election.

Recently, Blong laid out some ideas on how to increase affordable housing in the Tall City. One of her priorities is getting the city government fully staffed so home builders and developers can get projects and construction permits approved faster. Blong has also proposed establishing a land bank and land trust to gather vacant lots in Midland to turn them into viable plots for homes to be built on.

Kimberly Crisp Puts Dismantling the Midland Development Corporation At The Top Of Her To-Do List

Kimberly Crisp is a local counselor and is also a mother. She was motivated to run for the city council this year after noticing in past elections that there were a lot of candidates running unopposed. Crisp is really pushing for a more transparent government and is really questioning some of the institutions around town. Especially — the Midland Development Corporation, or MDC.

Crisp believes the MDC is a waste of money and that the organization uses taxpayer’s dollars without any real oversight. She believes the millions of dollars that goes to the MDC every year could be better spent on issues facing Midland like it's roads and infrastructure. Crisp believes if the council dismantles the MDC it could fix a lot of the problems facing the city without raising property taxes.

J.Dani Corrales Wants More People To Contribute To Midland's Well-Being

J. Danie Corralesis a former prosecutor, veteran, and now he’s a local business owner. His platform focuses on creating more housing, updating infrastructure, and prioritizing public safety. This is pretty similar to a lot of the other city council candidates since these are some of the biggest issues facing Midland.

Corrales wants the city to support more modular homes being built in its limits because it is a speedy way to respond to the community's affordable housing problem. Corrales points out that Midland will continue to grow as many studies have predicted — so more houses are needed and infrastructure across the city like water lines and roads need to be upgraded. To fund these projects, Corrales is proposing an additional city sales tax, so everyone, like truck drivers, oil workers, etc..., passing through Midland will contribute to bettering the community rather than local homeowners shouldering the majority of the tax burden.

Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.