Election day could be 10 months away, but two Wichitans started their mayoral races early on Thursday.
Insurance agent Tim Short and entrepreneur Carole Murray announced at separate events that they will be applying for the job currently held by Stephen Santellana, who will step down in November due to time constraints.
Both candidates said making Wichita Falls a business-friendly city was high on their priority lists.
Murray said he will do so by reducing the government’s footprint and reversing city decisions that “usurp” established local businesses. He pointed to a community survey conducted by the Chamber of Commerce.
“Wichita Falls is perceived as an unfriendly business environment,” he said Thursday.
Short called perceptions a misconception that was repeated until people automatically accepted them. He said the current city government is “doing a great job.”
Murray said he’s doing a “good” job.
“I think they really believe they are doing a great job, but they don’t listen to small business owners and citizens,” he said.
“I want everyone to know that Wichita Falls is open for business,” Short said. “Cities like Abilene, Tyler and Amarillo already figured this out and it’s time we did the same.”
Short said he wants the same innovative business-applied approach that the city applied to developing a water-use project during a record drought. He said he wants a city government team that listens to and supports business interests “or get out of the way.”
Short’s other priorities include maintaining a balanced budget, economic growth, and reinvesting in current existing infrastructure “rather than jumping into something new.”
Murray’s priorities include helping at-risk youth, developing a safe city “boots on the ground” program, and monitoring the city’s fiscal responsibility.
Short made his announcement at a large gathering of supporters at the Forum while Murray made his on the steps of the Town Hall.
Murray is the co-founder of Frank & Joe’s Coffee House and manages other businesses, while Short owns a State Farm Insurance agency. Murray ran an unsuccessful run for City Council District 1 in 2021. Short is a newcomer to elective politics. Both were involved in community-related activities.
Local elections in Texas are nonpartisan, meaning that candidates are not run by any political party affiliation. In addition to the mayor’s position, City Council wards 3, 4, and 5 will be elected.
Election day is November 7th.