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Southlake Style

Q&A With Mayor-elect Laura Hill

May 19, 2015 01:39PM ● By Kevin
Laura Hill faced off against City Council Member Place 2 Carolyn Morris this year and was elected to replace John Terrell after six years in office.

She was elected to City Council in 2004 and has served in a variety of capacities: Place 1 (2004-2011) and Place 5 (2013-present). She has also been Mayor Pro Tem (2010-2011 and 2014-present) and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem (2009-2010). She is the founder of Students and Parents Against Risks to our Kids (SPARK) and currently she sits on the Metroport Teen Court Advisory Board. In addition to her work as a city official, Laura is involved in variety of community service organizations. She is a graduate of both the Southlake Citizen's Academy and the Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT). Locally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce Executive Board, and she is a co-founder of the Students and Athletes Serving Others (SASO).

We sat down with the mayor-elect to hear her story, plans and goals in Southlake.

Southlake Style: 
Congratulations on the election! How does it feel?

Laura Hill: I am absolutely thrilled. It is a huge honor, and to be honest, I am still as excited today as I was last Saturday.

SS: Your experience truly shows from reading over your candidate page. How does all of this play in favor of serving the Southlake community?

Hill: Of course the obvious is that I am our first “Mom Mayor.” My first volunteer experience in Southlake was at my children’s school. I have always prioritized the children in our community and have looked for ways to help parents raise healthy children. Founding SPARK (Students and Parents Against Risks to Kids) in 2007 showed me how to bring the entire community together to talk about the struggles our children were facing. A mayor needs to be a problem solver and someone who knows how to pull folks together to get the job done. I feel confident that no matter the situation or issue, I have the ability to get the job done.

SS: Can you talk a bit more about SKIL: how did the idea come about and how will you execute it?

Hill: I see SKIL (Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership) as an opportunity to form an alliance for a better Southlake through mentoring young people who have an interest in solving problems that go beyond “school.” There is tremendous business and governmental leadership expertise in this community that could benefit our youth. I see SKIL as a problem-solving group. We will bring them a specific issue and task them with brainstorming ideas. We have a responsibility to train future leaders, foster an interest in good government and open ourselves up to a generation of new ideas.

SS: What are your major goals for the city this term?

Hill: My first goal is to initiate “thoughtful re-planning.” We are at the stage in our build out where we need to take better control of our remaining parcels. This process will start with a complete review of our development ordinances and move on to a targeting of undeveloped parcels. We will invite concerned citizens to get involved in the process early on and help us explore creative uses before land is purchased and plans are submitted.

I will also be asking the residents if they are willing to invest in more open space, land that we can hold undeveloped as a city asset.

Finally, I will introduce the “task force” concept which will allow us to gather citizen input to solve specific issues. I think that there are many citizens who would like to be more involved but don’t have the time to make a huge time commitment.

SS: What do you love most about the city?

Hill: The sense of community. The families that live here and the businesses that operate here all seem to share a commitment to making Southlake better. There is a hometown feel that harkens back to a simpler time.

SS: What do you enjoy in your spare time?

 Like most moms, I spend a lot of my spare time with my children, enjoying their activities.  My children are very spread out in age. Maggie, a former Aggie, is an attorney in Fort Worth. Preston is a senior at Loyola in New Orleans. Trent is a Carroll senior heading to the University of Utah to play golf. So as you can imagine my husband, Joe, and I are always trying to keep up with them. Those that follow me on Facebook know I try to get to NOLA whenever I can.
SS: Anything else you'd like to add?

Hill: In Southlake, no matter your age or occupation, you are a Dragon. I don’t know many other cities that can compete with that. As your mayor, I hope that we will work together not to just be the best, but to see the best in each other.