There will be no names on November’s ballot for Whitehouse City Council, Place One.
Two write-in names, however, will be posted in the polling booth. Those names are Michael Fleming and James Wansley.
Michael Fleming is pastor of Whitehouse First Assembly of God. He and wife Angie have four children, including two they adopted in April. The children attend Whitehouse schools and are in junior high, fifth and first grades.
Though originally from Houston, Fleming has resided in Whitehouse for 12 years. Fleming plans on remaining in Whitehouse because “we absolutely love the community. The community mindset, the schools, just everybody in this together; it’s family. That drives us wanting to stay here,” Fleming added.
Though some denominations assign its pastors to specific locations, First Assembly is autonomous and decides for itself whom to call as pastor. As for Fleming, he says he “plans on being here.”
Fleming has recently become involved in a new partnership with CPS and the church, which works together for the sake of foster and adoptive children. The partnership’s purpose is “trying to bridge the gap between all these kids and the homes that they need.”
“Having adopted, that’s where my heart is,” Fleming stated.
Fleming has been involved in the community through the Whitehouse Ministerial Alliance, YMCA and within the school district, where he is currently on the strategic planning committee. He also, along with a partner, once owned a business in the city of Whitehouse.
When questioned as to how he became interested in becoming part of local government, Fleming said that he was asked to get involved. At the time he was approached, there was no one running for the vacancy that would be left by Nick Moss’ departure.
“If that’s what the community and the city need from me I would be willing to serve,” was Fleming’s response.
He concedes that he has not personally pursued politics and states he “would go in with a clean slate.”
He believes “twelve years of knowing the community from the pastoral side and business side” give him some background. Though he claims to have no personal agenda, Fleming would, if elected, approach his position on the city council as he does everything else, “the best I can with the knowledge I have.” He further stated that “a Biblical standard would govern” his decisions.
“There’s no catchy slogan here,” says Fleming. He would simply be looking for “what is best for our city.”
James Wansley is a software developer and third generation Whitehouse resident. He and wife Leah have two children in the Whitehouse school district, a sophomore and a sixth grader.
Wansley says his personal interest in local governments began 10 years ago. His involvement as a mixed martial arts instructor set him on his journey.
“The [martial arts] building was just full of young guys that are in high school or right out of high school. Their dad wasn’t in the picture and it became like a big-brother type thing” he said.
It wasn’t until sometime after that he realized one “could get into a behind the scenes position, like a board, that improved the processes and the time you spent in community service would have a greater impact.”
This realization, along with prompting from his wife, led Wansley to join Leadership Tyler, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that equips participants for community leadership and service.
There he was made aware of the variety of opportunities in which one can help in his own community. After completing the Leadership Tyler course, he became involved in the Whitehouse Independent School District Education Foundation, and later joined Whitehouse Parks and Recreation. He still serves on both.
The reason Wansley chose to run for a place on the city council is because the city council member currently serving in place one, but not seeking reelection, asked him to do so.
“Nick Moss said he received an opportunity to serve with the Ducks Unlimited organization at the state level. You can’t hold an elected office because they consider it a conflict [of interest] so he reached out to me,” Wansley said. Moss is serving as treasurer of Wansley’s campaign.
Among personal projects Wansley would like to pursue is a satellite campus where students could be afforded an opportunity to take online courses at a local facility. Wansley also wants to “create opportunities for people to be active and engaged with one another.” An example, he said, is a “trails project we’re [Parks and Recreation] working on at Black Hawk Creek.”
Wansley believes one of his personal strengths is that of being “a team player who can work with other council members to better the city.”
It is Wansley’s hope, if elected, to ensure “opportunities brought before the council from the Zoning or Parks and Recreation, or even from outside business owners through the city manager, are treated with the diligence that they deserve.”
Wansley said he wants to make certain “whenever we have an opportunity to develop as a community,” the city takes advantage of those occasions and “obstacles are not the reason why we’re not doing things. Obstacles can be overcome.”
Though he understands he will need to work with existing city council members, the city manager and city secretary; Wansley has many ideas for developing better communication between the city and its citizens. He notes “there will be limitations on how we can communicate under law”, but suggests a frequently asked questions document and a possible blog where he could “share stuff that’s going on in the city council.”
“I would love to see our community become more engaged and I think that could happen if people were aware of the opportunities for engagement,” Wansley stated. “I think our city has the potential to do some really awesome things.”