WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — This city council race is a little different than most, the City of Wichita Falls At-Large councilor race isn’t tied to a specific district like the others.
And for the last four years, Incumbent Bobby Whiteley has held the title.
“Once you get one council and get some continuity, you know, you have a goal to finish your task and that’s what I want to do,” Whiteley said.
But with this election, newcomer John Ahearn, a U.S. Army, and National Guard veteran will look to make some waves.
Ahearn pointed to his experience climbing the ladder after serving from projects engineer, to plant engineer, to corporate engineer.
“All that required a budget, coming up with a budget, and living in that budget, and to date, knock on wood, I’ve never been over budget or late on project,” Ahearn said.
While Whiteley, master electrician and former city firefighter, hopes to continue his work.
Along with serving on the council, Whiletely serves on the Library Board, 4A and 4B board, Planning and Zoning Committee, and the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
“You know, we have term limits, 6 years is our term limit, so city councilors are constantly coming and going, so city staff is constantly having to educate, everybody has a reason to run, but once you get on council there’s so much more to learn,” Whiteley said.
If elected, Ahearn will shift his focus to parts of town he considers overlooked, like Eastside and by Old High, and said city staff could be more accessible and in touch with citizens.
“I just don’t think the emphasis has been there, so at the end of the day, I work for the people’ Ahearn said. “We have to start having town halls and talking to these people in the different Ares so we can try and fix the key issues for every district, not just district two, not just district one, we have to look at all of the districts and what will make it better for all district,” Ahearn said.
For both candidates, they just want to make a difference in this city.
“This city gave so much to me and my family,” Whiteley said. “I was born here, lifelong resident, I don’t plan on going anywhere and I plan on being a part of this community for a long time and I want to finish my job.”
“That’s my whole point, it’s just like anyone out there tonight or today, you can’t gripe unless you’re ready to fight to do something better and that’s why I’m running,” Ahearn said.
An incumbent hoping to finish what he started and a newcomer eager to begin.