Laurin Hendrix | Age: 61 | Years in Gilbert: 32 | Occupation: Self Employed, Manager | Education: BS, University of California | Immediate family: Wife, 8 children, 2 grandchildren | Community/civic involvement: Arizona House of Representatives, Maricopa College Board of Trustees, various boards and committees.
1. What skills set you apart from the other candidates?
Fiscal experience and lengthy residence in Gilbert. A council member’s biggest responsibility is to participate in the creation and approval of the town’s billion-dollar budget. I have participated in the creation of several multi-billion-dollar budgets while serving in the State Legislature, and as president and trustee on the Maricopa County Community College Board of Trustees.
2. Name your top three priorities:
1) Maintain a fiscally responsible town budget that meets the needs of the taxpayers.
2) Maintain a family-friendly environment with safe homes, schools, streets and parks, where Gilbert residents can feel confident in public safety.
3) Maintain and support a business-friendly environment that will continue to attract high paying jobs.
3. Should the economic fallout of COVID-19 worsen for town finances, what measures would you recommend to avoid cuts/disruptions in services?
I support the triggers that have been placed in the current budget and I am hopeful that they will be adequate. If they are not, the next step would be to limit capital expenditures and to consider selling excess/non-productive property held by the town.
4. Should Cactus Yards be sold to a private operator? Why or why not?
Cactus Yards should be sold to a private operator. It attracts visitors who bring funds from outside of Gilbert, but the funds do not fully offset the losses. Government in general is not set up to staff the expertise required to operate this venture. Government should not be competing with private business in operating for-profit ventures.
5. What should the town do with recycling since it no longer generates revenue?
We must be responsible stewards of the environment and we must also practice responsible fiscal management of taxpayer funds. I need to have more detailed information regarding the impact of recycling on both of these obligations. I could then give a clear answer as to what direction I would support.
6. What is your assessment of the relationship between Gilbert Police and the community and what changes, if any, would you advocate?
I’m sure that this question is in direct response to our nation’s volatile political environment. Gilbert police officers do an outstanding job in all respects. They have an excellent relationship with town residents and are universally respected. They have created various forms of community outreach, all of which have succeeded in creating strong ties with the community.
7. The town’s updated general plan goes to voters in August, do you support the update? Why or why not?
The general plan provides broad and general direction for future development. It has been frequently amended in the past and it will continue to be amended in the future as community demands evolve. I support the current version of the general plan that is being proposed.
8. Do you think the town’s “City of the Future Initiative” does enough to ensure Gilbert continues to thrive well into the future?
I believe the Gilbert Town Council has planned well for the future. I am not a believer in the “City of the Future” concept. In its current form, it is a futuristic concept of government expansion that leads to more control of its citizens.
9. Name three things you would fix or improve with town government.
Gilbert has operated in a fiscally responsible manner, but there are some areas to improve.
1) Turnaround time for permits and builder services could be decreased.
2) Street maintenance could be evaluated for increased efficiency and safety.
3) Fiscal management could be tightened. As the town has grown, government spending has expanded excessively.
10. Name three things the town does right.
There are numerous things that the town does right. They are the reasons that my family moved to Gilbert many years ago.
1) We have created a family-oriented community that is safe for residents.
2) We have beautiful roads and parks that were well-planned by prior councils.
3) We have a business-friendly environment that continues to attract commerce.
Hendrix: I foresee an even stronger Gilbert in 10 years
By Laurin Hendrix
Ten years from now, we will understand that hindsight truly is 20/20. This historical year of 2020 will serve as a measurement of how far we have come. It will measure our increased sense of justice and perseverance, in business, in government and in our homes.
I foresee an even stronger Gilbert in the next decade – a community that has learned valuable lessons about what can be accomplished during times of hardship.
Gilbert is a rare gem in the desert and I believe it will continue to shine in the coming years. Our police officers have worked hard to build positive relationships with our community and they will become even stronger. Their presence in our schools creates safe learning environments as officers provide strength and kindness for our children to emulate. This will be even more important as our youngest citizens learn to navigate the uncertainties they currently face.
The positive characteristics in our citizens and leaders are what make Gilbert unique. Ten years from now, we will look back and see that we are even more supportive and compassionate to our neighbors.
We will welcome others who are seeking homes in a place of family values and high-quality employment, regardless of their background or race. We will be a community of diverse people, with a wide range of unique talents, skills and perspectives.
Gilbert will continue to attract businesses that provide high quality employment for our citizens. It will attract patients looking for life-saving medical care in our hospitals and cancer centers.
We are already seeing this come to fruition. Our schools offer a wide range of educational opportunities and they will continue to adapt to the learning needs of our children, even in times of economic or physical hardship. It takes a strong community to raise strong children who will continue to lead in the next decade.
In the year 2030, we will likely reach build-out capacity within our town boundaries. This will require careful planning today. Thanks to leadership with foresight and efficiency, we will have the needed infrastructure to support new homes and businesses. We will have a balanced budget that allows for maintenance required for streets and utilities. And we will have rainy day funds to use in times of unforeseen tragedy or recession.
We will be prepared for whatever comes.