Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Time to read
5 minutes
Read so far

May 2022 Election: Stephanie McBurney Lippke

Elgin Mayor

Article Image Alt Text

What made you want to run for this position?

As a long time Elgin resident, I see the City of Elgin lacking in strategic planning for any of this new growth. Elgin needs to balance residential growth with new businesses. For example, retail, restaurant and entertainment to support this exponential growth. Elgin needs to be working with TxDOT, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), and Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) to maximize economic development and transportation funding through state, federal and grant funding. We see growth in our sister cities of Bastrop, Taylor and Manor due to their partnerships with these organizations. Currently, Elgin relies heavily on certificate of obligation bonds repaid with our tax dollars. With the approval of over 14,000 new homes in Elgin, our population is going to explode to over 50,000 by 2026. The infrastructure in “old” Elgin is being allowed to fall behind while all the focus is on newly-annexed areas infrastructure needs. We need managed growth and more involved government oversight over the City of Elgin. Elgin needs balance.


What kind of experience - educational, professional or personal - do you bring to this position?

I bring a lifetime of experience to the position of Mayor. It is the diversity of 38 years of education, employment and travel that has uniquely prepared me for this position. My first job at 14 was at Thundercloud Subs. My mom made me pay the entire electric bill, with my first paycheck, to show me just how far my minimum wage job would get me. I worked all though high school and college breaks at our family bakery and restaurant, Kneadin’ Dough, here in Elgin. I waited tables and was a radio disc jockey to help put myself through college. 

I graduated from Stephen F. Austin University with a double major in Communications and Sociology and with sub-specialties in public relations, marketing and a minor in Spanish.
My first job out of college was with a Texas Business Insurers lobby group as a legislative researcher and public relations consultant. I’ve worked in both the government and private sector in Corporate Communications. I moved into contract publishing, editing and writing for textbooks and testing materials for the state of Texas while my kids were young, so I could stay home with them. I worked in Elgin ISD for 10+ years as a long-term sub in bi-lingual classes and as tutor for kids with learning disabilities helping prepare them for state assessment testing. My first love is cooking, and I had my own private chef and catering business since 2015 but had to shut things down due to Covid. I’m grateful it allowed me to live my dream of travel and making people happy with amazing food.

I was instrumental in the complete over-haul of the financial practices and transparency in Elgin ISD’s fundraising and activity funds. I’ve been involved in overseeing fundraising and helping fundraise for the kids of our community for many years. Through my leadership and involvement, I’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last 20 years through various civic and school-based organizations and I’ve done so with the complete mandate of transparency in all these efforts. 

I began researching the City of Elgin’s operating practices in February of 2020. I’ve immersed myself for two years in all the information available of every meeting, committee, board and ordinance posted. When I couldn’t find the answers on their website, I filed open records requests. I’ve educated myself on the workings of Elgin’s City government in comparison to like-sized cities getting ideas that could be beneficial to managing our growth. 

My hope is to leave this city a better place for my kids and grandkids. I pay it forward every day and when I’m elected Mayor, I plan to continue striving to make Elgin better for all citizens.


What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Elgin?

Strategic planning for the unprecedented growth Elgin is experiencing. Elgin is behind in its infrastructure to support these 14,000+ homes being rapidly built. The burden on Elgin roads is overwhelming. All the focus in the areas where the city is expanding has let the rest of “old” Elgin to fall into disrepair. The lack of a unifying, strategic plan for the next 5, 10 and 15 years is apparent and the reactionary response from current city government shows a real lack of foresight and planning. We have to do better.  

The challenge is to first revamp the City of Elgin’s Boards and Commissions which advise and help the City Council plan. We need to install a Strategic Planning Commission immediately to start working on a cohesive, proactive plan for the future of Elgin. These boards and commissions are integral to the future of Elgin and we need to appoint our brightest, most dedicated Elginites to help bring their experience and knowledge to the table to best benefit all of Elgin. 


How do you expect Elgin to adapt as Bastrop County’s population grows? Where do you see the city in five years?

Elgin has to adapt by engaging with organizations like TxDOT, CTCOG, CAMPO and CAPCOG to maximize the resources available for the benefit of our city. Central Texas is all in this together. We are experiencing this growth all across the area and need to work cohesively and with forethought to see what is working in the area but also see what is not working in the area. Elgin is not on an island. We are part of a larger community in central Texas which is experiencing the same challenges. Leaders seek resources and engage with other leaders to educate and expand resources for the benefit of their community.

Elgin in five years will still be feeling the expansion and growth pushing our way. Through strategic planning and focused growth, we can slowly manage the expansion for the benefit and betterment of our community. Without these safeguards and planning in place we will continue to grow without purpose or direction and will guarantee our status as just a bedroom community of Austin. No one wants this. We want to live in a city where we can work, live and play. The whole package.


Why should the voters choose you? What sets you apart from your opponent?

I am focused on Elgin’s future and its strategic growth. When Elginites are asked what they want to for Elgin, I predominantly hear, “Keep Elgin small. We don’t want to grow anymore!” This is no longer even a possibility due the 14,000-plus homes presented by Elgin’s City Manager and approved by the last two Mayors and City Councils. The option to keeping Elgin small is completely off the table. We can’t stop this 50,000-person population boom without developers filing suit and bankrupting the city of Elgin. Anyone that says they can keep Elgin small does not understand what is already approved and planned. I have a complete understanding of Elgin 2022 and what is happening here and now. I have educated myself on how we got into this growth pattern and it is going to take that same 5-7 years to even be able to catch up and balance our city’s growth. This is not something we can fix overnight, and we can’t return to the Elgin of 20 years ago and former council days. That ship sailed 10 years ago.

Elgin voters should know I will stand up for what is best for Elgin. I will not back down from a challenge, and I will work closely with the council to plan for the best Elgin for all citizens. The Elgin City Council needs to take the reins and lead this city as they were elected to do. We can continue to capture and retain the small town, cohesive spirit of Elgin as we grow. We can continue to work together for the betterment of all Elginites.


Any other information you would like to share with voters?

We are all Elginites. We have chosen to live here for many different reasons, but the defining factor is we want to live in a community we are proud to call home. Where our families have the ability to live, work and play in a supportive, forward thinking community. We all want a better Elgin, 100 percent.


Facebook: Stephanie Lippke for Mayor Elgin, Texas