Graduates on November mayoral ballot

Dewey Cooper

Tim Ingle and Stephen Santellana, city councilmen, attend a City Council meeting Oct. 4. Photo by Dewey Cooper
Tim Ingle and Stephen Santellana, city councilmen, attend a City Council meeting Oct. 4. Photo by Dewey Cooper

The signs all over Wichita Falls are indicative of the season. Election season. Red, white and blue.

Every two years, Wichita Falls fills up with signs as candidates for mayor and the six city council seats vie for election or reelection.

To increase voter turnout in the local election, officials moved it, this year for the first time, to coincide with the fall national election ballot.

Current city councilmen, Tim Ingle and Stephen Santellana, are the mayoral candidates in this election cycle and also Midwestern State graduates.

Midwestern State University

Ingle graduated from Midwestern State with a masters of business administration in 2013, and Santellana graduated in 1997 with a double major in political science and criminal justice.

“All the professors are what really impressed me the most,” Ingle said.

Santellana said he feels a strong pride for the university.

“We’re going to, hopefully, paint this town maroon,” Santellana said. “We have been blessed to have close relations with MSU.”

According to Ingle, he has already done a lot for MSU.

“I pushed very hard for [the City Council] to do a $300,000 forgivable loan to [MSU] for lighting of women’s soccer and softball fields,” Ingle said.

Santellana wants strong relationships with MSU.

“Shipley wants to see a strong city and MSU relationship,” Santellana said. “We want to continue growth of MSU.”

Both candidates had something to say to students.

“Engross yourself in this campus,” Santellana said. “If I didn’t have to grow up I would still be a student.”

Ingle added more.

Enjoy your time as a student,” Ingle said. “Because you don’t get it when you graduate, and have an understand of the freedoms that you have in America that not many others have in the world.”

Wichita Falls and Sheppard AFB

Both candidates are hoping for economic development for Wichita Falls.

“There hasn’t been a lot of economic growth,” Ingle said. “There’s been projects and businesses brought in, but no vision.” 

Santellana agrees with Ingle.

“We have to get economic growth going,” Santellana said. “Without economic growth there’s not a whole lot more we can do. We need to be full steam ahead on economic growth.”

Ingle mentioned that the city council is widening its focus on the workforce in Wichita Falls.

“We’re finding out that we were focused on a very small area, and we neglected the other areas, Ingle said. “The reason we couldn’t get the other economic areas growing is because our workforce wasn’t creating it.”

Other than widening the workforce, Ingle added his other plan.

“I’m pushing hard for downtown,” Ingle said. “If we don’t have downtown we don’t have our town.” 

Santellana is more focused on existing relationships with MSU, Vernon College, Sheppard Air Force Base and United Regional.

“We need to solidify those relationships,” Santellana said. 

As for economic growth after the recession and drought Ingle mentioned that everyone goes through tough times, but it shouldn’t stop you from completing your plan.

Santellana added “we’re in it to win it with Sheppard.” Noting that his campaign supports Sheppard Air Force Base 100 percent. 

Ingle said, “Sheppard is my home. We have to keep Sheppard as strong as we can and as viable as we can. As mayor I think I could be a very credible voice for them.”

City Council

“The biggest thing I have done is challenge the staff for a long term vision,” Ingle said. “We’re doing good at managing, but we need to lead long term.”

Santellana reminisced about his most notable duty as a city councilman.

“I was heading out of town and I got a phone call,” Santellana said. “We went from a drought to a flood. This was a big situation.”

Santellana continued that dealing with last years flood put a different perspective on being a public servant.

“Right then and there you realize you’re not just helping vote on public policy,” Santellana said. “You have a direct effect on peoples lives and their welfare.”

Ingle described his most recent accomplishments as a city councilman.

“Just recently, a young couple was living here, and the meter reader was estimating their reading,” Ingle said. “The city wouldn’t admit that they wouldn’t do their job.”

After the mistakes were found the couple was charged. Ingle helped change the policy so that if the city goes more than 90 days, an estimated three readings, the city cannot charge those affected.

Mayoral run

Santellana said that for his running as mayor its just a “natural progression in [his] community involvement.” 

As for voting Ingle said, “When you walk in and want to know who to push it comes down to: who has served; who has led; who has made effective change; who is willing to fight for you; and will fight for the city. When you vote for me you’re voting for somebody, that for six years, has pushed and influenced where [the city] is at now.

Santellana has the same attitude.

“You want somebody that’s going to be progressive,” Santellana added. “If you’re a millennial in this town, I’m your be a of shining bright hope. We’re on the cusp of greatness.”

Around Campus

“I think it’s wonderful for Wichita Falls and Midwestern,” Terry Patton, dean of Dillard College and Business Administration, said. “The interaction between Midwestern and this community has always been strong and I think this is another evidence of that.”

Other faculty feel the same.

Samuel Watson, dean of Prothro-Yeager College of Humanities and Social sciences, said he is “Very proud” and he believes that “their education here has prepared them well for public service.”

Students that have lived here their whole life are as equally excited as faculty.

“I think that it’s empowering because it gives students at MSU the motivation to engage into their community and make a real difference,” Taylor McCreary, business management freshman, said.

Others agree.

“Having been brought up in this community I know how strong MSU impacts our city,” Kaelen Dohme, nursing freshman, said. “These mayoral candidates are going to be well equipped for the position.”