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AT&T strategic planner Mike Townsend running for Rockwall Council

ROCKWALL – AT&T strategic planning consultant Mike Townsend, who works with businesses “to determine what needs to be done now to prepare for the market place tomorrow,” is running for Rockwall City Council Place 3 in the  May 14 city and school board election.

His opponents are retired insurance agent Bennie Daniels and elementary school teacher Bill Watts.

Mayor candidate Glen Farris has held the position for the past four years.

Also the founder of “Kids Town” at Lake Pointe Church – where he’s better known as “Mr. Mike” – Townsend says he wants to use his strategic planning experience to “review Rockwall’s position on all issues” and “continue to spur on long-term growth and planning” in the future.

“I entered this race after watching the numerous changes and growth of Rockwall over the past decade and felt a call to step out and serve my friends and family to continue to spur on long- term growth and planning,” said the Texas Tech University graduate.

“In my career, it is my role to work with business units to determine what needs to be done now to prepare for the market place tomorrow. I work with millions of dollars on projects and have to learn how to team with multiple groups to gather direction and approvals along the way. I believe this same approach can be used on the Council. I want to take my experience of strategic planning to review Rockwall’s position on all issues and continue to push us to the future.”

He said because the City “is in a unique position geographically and structurally” to become “a growing premier community that will draw more citizens and businesses,” it needs to prepare now “to assure Rockwall maintains small-town uniqueness” but also is able to attract many more visitors, residents and businesses.

“Tough decisions will be required and plans put in place that may not be popular to all groups but if we do not address those issues now we will hurt our community in the future,” he said.

The Rockwall Rotary Club member suggests the best way to do that is to start developing partnerships with corporations to share the costs.

“I think that part of that process will involve creating partnerships with corporations to share some of the burdens of expansion,” he said. “In the economy that we have, long-term planning is essential and developing the resources for sustaining growth can be a costly endeavor, which we can defer by creating partnerships for our efforts and bring benefits to all parties.”

Members of the community must be involved, as well, he added.

“As part of that planning it is also essential to bring the community and those teams as close to ‘on board’ as possible. At AT&T, I must gather buy-in for those type decisions as well and I want to bring the same understanding to the various groups involved in the decisions of the Council.”

Townsend and his wife, Shelley, are the parents of two daughters who attend Rockwall area schools, plus a son, who passed away at age six in 2003 “after five and a half years of fighting numerous illnesses due to a lack of a proper immune system.”

A Baptist minister’s son, Townsend said their son’s death changed their family’s outlook on life.

“Blake’s death, as any death of a child would, changed us. He taught us to focus on the important things in life and not sweat the small stuff. He was a fighter as he struggled with all his illnesses and he taught us all to fight for the things that are important and not accept the easy solution if it is not what we truly think is the answer needed.”

Townsend said he and his family are now active supporters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas.

“My wife and I have been Co-Chairs for Wish Families at their annual Wish Night Gala for the past nine years. We have been involved with this program both as supporters and volunteers since our son received a Wish to Disney World in 2000.”

They are also founding board members of the Princess Alexa Foundation, organized after friends lost their daughter to cancer. The non-profit supplies costumes to kids who are dealing with long term sicknesses so that can dress up like super heroes or princesses as they undergo and treatments or lengthy stays in the hospital.

“The organization provides rolling closets to hospitals, such as Children’s Medical Center and other organizations like the Ronald McDonald house filled with costumes. The girl’s closet is named after their daughter and the boy’s closet was named after our son, Blake. The organization helps kids just be kids for a while, even though they have to put up with all the medical procedures that keep them tied down so often.”

He is a former board member of the Camp Sol Foundation, as well, which supports families through counseling services and introduction to similar families who have deceased children for any reason.

Involved in youth sports at Lake Pointe Church and Rockwall ISD, he is a supporter and member of the Rockwall Education Foundation.

A self-described conservative, Townsend says he is proud of Rockwall and wants to help promote it.

“As are most of the candidates, I am conservative,” he said. “I believe in personal responsibility. I believe we must contain tight reigns on the budgetary processes. But possibly different than many, I will not protect the budget by stopping any planning for the future.”

“We must plan. We must keep an eye on the strategic future planning effort. We have all heard the quote, ‘If we fail to plan, we plan to fail.’ I believe I am qualified to see the strategic future plans. I believe my approach to planning involves the residents and the business community which will be beneficial to all. I will seek to hear all sides, but I will be willing to make the tough decisions to properly plan Rockwall’s future for success.”

“I am proud to live in Rockwall. It is my home. It is a place I am honored to tell others about. I want to work to keep that feeling into the future and promote it to all residents.”

For more info, see his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ElectMike.

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