May 2022 Election: Theresa McShan
What made you want to run for this position?
I am a lifelong resident of Elgin, who has a servant heart. Now retired from the State of Texas, after 35 years of service, I feel that it is time to give even more to my community. I have been a volunteer in Elgin my entire adult life, as well as serving on many boards and committees. I proudly sat on City Council from 2003 to 2011, where I learned the ins and outs of local government. I am currently the President of the Main Street Board and have been a member since 2014. I believe that with the growth that is coming to our community, it is vital to have a candidate who understands that government can get complicated. I want to use my servant heart to support our small businesses and community, and my strong leadership to navigate the inevitable changes.
What kind of experience - educational, professional or personal - do you bring to this position?
Experience is the key word here, and I feel confident in what I have to offer. I have a bachelor’s degree in management, with a concentration in human resources. I also earned a master’s degree in health education from Purdue Global University.
I am a natural facilitator and believe in goal and task orientation to keep flow and time management on course. I have regularly utilized these skills through council, Main Street Board, Hogeye and of course my past career.
As the Employee Program Coordinator for the State of Texas, I was highly involved with the creation and implementation of employee wellness and benefits. I also worked with internships, employee assistance and the employee charitable campaign. My personal favorite was being involved with the employee events for approximately 35,000 employees across the state of Texas. I have contract knowledge and have attended leadership classes with my position with the state as well. As a supervisor during my tenure, I learned the importance of being able to work with others as a team to reach a common goal.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Elgin?
I believe the biggest challenge facing Elgin is the infrastructure and planned growth. We are all aware that the growth is coming, and it is important that we are smart about it. We need to be able to look at the big picture to understand the needs of Elgin, while having the funds to accommodate those needs. It is crucial that we find the balance of supporting our local small businesses, the incoming larger businesses, and the residents of our community. I won’t claim to be an expert, instead I will reach across to those that are. I would like to sit with the department heads and staff of Elgin and see what is and isn’t working. I also believe it will be important to create relationships with surrounding leaders who have already experienced their community growth. I want to learn from the best and bring their knowledge to our town.
How do you expect Elgin to adapt as Bastrop County’s population grows? Where do you see the city in five years?
While I am aware that there are pros and cons to major growth in a minimal time, it is by far the most important subject to our entire community. We need to establish what the goal is for Elgin. What do we want to see our community look like in five, ten and fifteen years from now? I would hope to find the balance of keeping our small-town charm, while having more to offer its residents. I wouldn’t want to see our town become nothing more than a bedroom community. Therefore, the population growth should be balanced with a business and tourism aspect.
In five years, I hope to see the implementation of a city-wide strategic plan that addresses infrastructure, housing, businesses, and the goals for our community. We will have a new EISD superintendent, and our schools will look quite different. I believe it is important to create an excellent rapport with the administration as a strong school system is key to a strong community. I am thrilled to be working with the Sesquicentennial committee that is helping to support the new parks and recreation plans that the city already has in motion. While it is hard to predict which businesses will make Elgin their new home, I plan to work hand in hand with the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Cooperation to promote our city as the place to be. Truth be told, there will be so many changes to our town in the next five years that it is hard to imagine. I just hope the changes stay nothing more than physical, and that we fight to keep the passion and love that so many have for our town.
What is one issue you want to fix or improve if you take office?
I would love to improve the working knowledge of civic and municipal government that our council currently has. While I believe that each member of council is there out of the passion for our community, I understand that there can be a level of disconnect in the understanding of documents and how things work. Even with my previous experience with the council and my past contract and grant knowledge with the state, there is much to be learned. I would like to ensure that the entire council and myself has the training and understanding of what the expectations and job requirements are.
Why should the voters choose you? What sets you apart from your opponent?
I believe our voters should choose me because I am a servant leader with a humble heart. I have a clear understanding of the dynamics of our community and have a positive working relationship with the key players. I can’t express enough the value of being able to work with those around you. While I realize that our town has plenty of work ahead of us, I also appreciate and respect the work that has been done. I don’t want to come in and blow things up. Instead, I would like to build off the already great work in place and help tweak the appropriate concerns or challenges. Lastly, I think it is crucial for voters to acknowledge that as the mayor of this community, your true role is of leadership and guidance. I do not want to confuse voters with promises that are out of the control of the mayoral role.
Any other information you would like to share with voters?
We are living in a world of uncertainty, but we can also be a world of hope. I use the word “world” for a reason. It is not just our community that is seeing growth, price increases, and shortages on demand. While my focus will be on our great town of Elgin, I will be educated and familiar with what is going on in the bigger picture and how it will affect what we are trying to accomplish.
Faith, Family, Community. Certain leadership in uncertain times.