A New Leader
Jun 12, 2013 09:10AM ● Published by tina
Dedicated to Southlake, new city councilman Randy Williamson is also an avid Texas Rangers fan. Photo courtesy of BluDoor Studios.
By Linden Wilson, Assistant Editor
When his family moved to Southlake seven years ago, Randy Williamson knew it would become their permanent home. After career changes took his family from one city to the next, Randy says he and his wife of 18 years, Amy, now joke that they live in a bubble because they never have to leave Southlake — the city has everything they’d ever need, from endless varieties of places to hang out, see a movie, shop and eat.
The Florida State grad spent more than 20 years working his way up the corporate ladder in the pharmaceutical industry, which took him to Shreveport, Atlanta, Nashville and New York. He and his family finally found home Texas in 2006, when Randy took a position as a regional director for Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., managing a sales force of nine managers and 70 sales representatives across the south.
Southlake is where the pair’s four children (Abby, 14, Ben and Grace, 10, and Jake, 8) have grown up. All four are enrolled in Carroll ISD schools, and their extracurricular activities range from Grace’s competitive cheerleading and Ben’s lacrosse to Jake’s baseball and football and Abby’s passion for fashion modeling. Abby, who has appeared in spreads for D Magazine and FD Luxe, recently signed a contract with IMG Models, which had been in talks since January.
“They are planning to bring her to New York City this month when school is out,” Randy says. “We don’t know where it’s all going to go, but it looks very bright now.”
When he has a chance to kick back and relax, Randy loves to go hunting in Ozona in West Texas. He takes a big trip out there each December and sets his eye on the turkey, hog and deer that are out and about. The former member of the Southlake men’s softball league counts watching the Texas Rangers among his favorite activities. An extremely avid fan, he even went so far as to name the Williamson family dog, Ranger, for the team.
“I love, love, love to watch them play,” he says. “My wife and I go, and it’s also probably my favorite go-to daddy-kid activity; I go one-on-one with each of them to a game. It’s a good time.”
Randy is as committed to his family as he is dedicated to the city of Southlake. Prior to his decision to run for place 4 in the city council, he logged countless hours as a volunteer, serving on the Southlake Program for the Involvement of Neighborhoods, on the Parks and Recreation board and as a Planning and Zoning commissioner. He also volunteered as coach for the Southlake Baseball Association, Dragon Youth Football and Southlake Parks Flag Football, as a basketball referee for Upward Sports and on the committee of his church, First Baptist in Euless.
Many Southlake residents know that this year’s city council election season was a little unorthodox. For each of the three open seats (places 3, 4 and 5), all candidates ran unopposed, causing the cancellation of the election, which saved the city tens of thousands of dollars. Brandon Bledsoe, an incumbent, and Laura Hill, who returned to the council after a hiatus due to term limits, are both familiar with serving in elected office, but the experience is entirely new for Randy — although he has Mayor John Terrell’s unwavering support.
“As a friend, I have been impressed with Randy’s thoughtfulness and demeanor in public meetings, his willingness to listen, his dedication to his family and faith and his uncompromising integrity,” John says. “The citizens of Southlake will be very well served by having Randy on the city council, and I look forward to serving with him in the coming years.”
Southlake Style caught up with the affable family man to talk politics, protecting the tradition of excellence and planning for the future.
Southlake Style: Why did you choose to run for city council?
Randy Williamson: I’ve been very involved in the city for about five years. I feel like I’m going to bring a balanced approach to decision-making and open-mindedness, which is critically important. It also stemmed from my interest at a higher level of government. I didn’t feel right sitting on the sidelines, watching decisions made in Washington that I didn’t like. My thought was to get involved locally because it all starts at a grassroots level, and it does make a difference. We cannot underestimate the importance of electing leaders — in my case, a strong conservative leader — who share your beliefs. Whether it’s for city council, a state representative or a senator, it’s imperative that we take them all seriously.
SS: How do you feel about getting elected without having the opportunity to receive a vote?
RW: I’m not in control of who decides to run or if an incumbent is going to run. All I can control are my decisions, and I’m confident over the next three years that I’ll earn those votes. That’s the way I’m looking at it — there may have not been an election, but my goal is that folks look back three years from now and say wow, he was the right choice.
SS: How do you think your background and experience will help you in office?
RW: I’ve been able to gain valuable experiences in a number of capacities. Whether it’s planning and zoning for the city, preparing the 2030 plan or looking at our current parks situation, I’m experienced in determining how we can maintain quality but also build for the future. Certainly I don’t know everybody in Southlake, and they don’t know me, but I feel like the work that I’ve done has allowed people to say they appreciate my service and believe I’ll do a nice job on council. Prior to learning I didn’t have an opponent, I had a great deal of support generated, and a lot of people were behind me, which was humbling and confirmed that I made the right decision.
SS: When you met with people during the early days of your campaign, what did they say to you?
RW: The great thing about Southlake is that we don’t have major problems, so what I heard from a lot of citizens was that they wanted me to continue what we’ve created. They want to ensure that the quality of Southlake, the quality of our schools and the quality of our infrastructure — our sidewalks, streets and buildings — stay the way they are or are even enhanced. Everyone wants tangible quality. When people arrive in Southlake, they know it. The buildings are beautiful, the standards are high and the people are wonderful.
SS: Is that what you mean by “Protect the Tradition,” one of your platforms?
RW: Yes, particularly regarding fiscal responsibility. A lot of folks want to know where I stand on quality development, and an issue that’s important to them is density. One of the great things about Southlake is that both low-density and medium-density housing coexist nicely. We have to continue to develop our community with these high quality residential developments because that brings in tax dollars. It’s the reason Southlake’s been so successful over the past 10 years — we’ve been growing, and that brings more people, who bring money. Southlake also has a fantastic school system, and the safety of our community is another area I think we can continue to grow in — partnering with our CISD trustees and ensuring that we’re working together for the betterment of our kids.
SS: How do you balance your family life and work life?
RW: My wife is a fantastic partner to have throughout this whole process. You don’t do this on your own — you’ve got to have a great spouse who’s going to know that you’re going to be out. There are a lot of nights when I have to be at meetings or events, and to have that support is huge.
SS: What are some of the things you’d like to do first now that you’re in office?
RW: How I’ve always handled myself in the past is that I don’t come into new positions with an agenda of things that I want to do. I want to be open; I want to be a sponge; I want to learn what’s on the minds of our community and learn what are the hot topics facing us and our council right now.