Denton City Hall

Denton City Hall

Voters in Denton’s District 2 will soon have a chance to pick among five candidates for their representative on the City Council.

Six candidates filed for the race to replace outgoing council member Keely Briggs, but one candidate, artist James Clayton Freeman, has dropped out of the race.

Briggs is currently running for mayor against fellow council member Gerard Hudspeth and delivery driver Michael Lee Mitchell.

District 2 covers part of downtown, as well as large sections of Denton’s northern and eastern footprint.

Candidate Ronnie Anderson had raised the most money by the time campaign finance reports were filed in mid-July. The next batch of finance reports are due Saturday, and only Daniel Clanton had filed his by Friday morning.

Anderson reported having raised $5,000, none of which he had spent by June 30. Connie Baker, a former county constable, reported raising $2,075 by the same deadline.

Anderson reported five $1,000 donations, only two of which came from people who listed addresses in Denton.

Clanton, a delivery driver, and Kady Finley, a paralegal, didn’t report any political contributions by that deadline. They reported $343.44 and $1,739 in expenditures, respectively.

Clanton’s expenses were made from a credit card, and Finley’s were marked as “expenditures made from personal funds.”

Photographer Jon Hohman had not reported any contributions or expenditures by June 30.

A standard background check completed by the Denton Record-Chronicle found that Hohman had voted only twice in Denton County, even though he has lived in District 2 for at least 10 years. He voted during the 2019 constitutional amendment election, as well as the March 2020 primaries.

When asked about this, Hohman said he recently became a political activist.

“Giving back to the community has become an option,” he said by phone Thursday. “Even being involved in the community has become more of a viable option.”

Baker ran for and was elected constable for Denton County Precinct 1 as a Democrat in 1993. He eventually lost his bid for reelection in 1996, at which point he began escorting county prisoners around to collect recycling in his dual role as a detention officer and recycling coordinator. According to voting records, he has regularly voted as a Republican since 1998.

When asked why he switched parties, Baker said he simply thought over where his priorities lay and decided to start voting Republican.

Finley did not respond to multiple interview requests.

The Denton Record-Chronicle called each candidate for a question-and-answer session. Their responses appear in alphabetical order and have been lightly edited for clarity.

Ronnie Anderson

Ronnie Anderson

Ronnie Anderson

Age: 53

Raised in: Denton

Education: University of North Texas, enrolled but did not graduate

Employment: Self-employed, 1999-2009, mortgage broker; Denton County Clerk’s Office, 2010-20, administration manager

If elected, what are some issues you’d like to take on as a council member?

I would like to take on infrastructure. We need to be more proactive when it comes to road development. We need to think about these developments that are going to be built and go ahead and have roads ready for that amount of traffic. We have too many roads currently under construction or under repair due to lack of foresight.

With up to four new council members after this election, what would you like the City Council to look like?

Council members that really care about the residents and the citizens of Denton and not their own agenda. I would not bring my own personal politics into the City Council; I would like to reach out to the residents of District 2 and hear their concerns and their needs and what they thought about a certain issue that would be before the City Council to help me make my decision because it’s not just about me, Ronnie the city councilman, it’s about the residents of that district.

What do you think responsible development looks like in your district?

Developers that follow the Denton development plan that’s approved by the city and the city’s Planning and Zoning Committee. Developments that are thought out, that address citizens’ needs and that have easy access to good roads, public facilities and will be easily accessible by the fire and police departments.

Connie Baker

Connie Baker

Connie Baker

Age: 75

Raised in: Denton

Education: Cooke County Junior College, police science

Employment: Denton County Precinct 1, 1990-92, deputy constable; Denton County Precinct 1, 1993-96, constable; Denton County Facilities Department, 1997-2010, recycling coordinator; Denton County Sheriff’s Office, 1997-2010, detention officer.

If elected, what are some issues you’d like to take on as a council member?

One is the economy here in Denton. I think our businesses are taking a hit because of COVID-19, so our businesses need to try to get back open. I know it’ll take a little time on that, but if we can get these businesses going back, and they can get a vaccine, maybe that’ll help our economy, help our business and let people keep their jobs.

With up to four new council members after this election, what should the City Council to look like?

I think that everybody that’s running would try to help their community and their city as much has they can, so I think everybody would do their best to do the job the best they can.

What do you think responsible development looks like in your district?

I know that they’re building a lot of homes, I’d say, and I think that will look good for people that are wanting to come to Denton to live. They’ll have an opportunity of finding them a home here.

Daniel Clanton

Daniel Clanton

Daniel Clanton

Age: 49

Raised in: Denton

Education: Texas Woman’s University, enrolled but did not graduate

Employment: NTT Data Services, 2008-present, delivery manager

If elected, what are some issues you’d like to take on as a council member?

My top three issues for Denton and top three issues of my platform are sidewalks, second one is homelessness and along with that is human trafficking.

With up to four new council members after this election, what would you like the City Council to look like?

I would like to see a council that is diverse in ideas and people because we don’t all need to be thinking the exact same way. We need everybody to show their side and to have their input into it.

What do you think responsible development looks like in your district?

Any development — whether it be commercial, residential — needs to take into effect the environment, sustainability of the company and our effect on our waterways, our green spaces and our tree canopy.

Jon Hohman

Jon Hohman

Jon Hohman

Age: 47

Raised in: Austin

Education: Berklee College of Music, enrolled but did not graduate

Employment: Stay-at-home dad, 2013-present; Jon Hohman Photography, photographer

If elected, what are some issues you’d like to take on as a council member?

I’m going to work toward keeping every dollar in Denton. I’m going to put marginalized people first. I’m going to help developers, city planners and residents appreciate how sustainable low-impact development and green infrastructure combined with “walkability” methodologies will save us all and make us all money while benefiting our collective health and the environment we depend on for that health.

With up to four new council members after this election, what would you like the City Council to look like?

I’m hoping it will look and feel like for the council, and the public at large, a service-oriented collaborative with open mindedness, innovation and heart for people on the ground struggling as obvious priorities.

What do you think responsible development looks like in your district?

Infill [development], accessory dwelling units (ADU), increased pedestrian-oriented mobility and as many features of the new urbanism the council can find its way to seeing the benefit of. These benefits include benefits, again, to help restore the interrupted connections between ourselves and our environment — a re-villaging of sorts as an antidote to the isolation that’s become even more pronounced lately. Unsustainable development to me is like astronauts taking axes to their life support systems.

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MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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