Meet the Candidates: Flower Mound Mayor

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Southern Denton County residents will head to the polls this spring to decide a plethora of municipal and school board contests.

The Cross Timbers Gazette asked each candidate in a contested race to answer a brief questionnaire to help voters make an informed decision at the polls this May. Election Day is Saturday, May 1, with early voting April 19-27. Click here for more voting information.

The 2021 Flower Mound Town Council general election is for mayor and Place 4, each for a term of three years. The current mayor, Steve Dixon, chose to not seek reelection, and five residents filed to run to succeed him: Stephanie Bell, Derek France, Itamar Gelbman, Cheryl Moore and Jehangir Raja. In Place 4 on Town Council, incumbent Jim Engel is seeking reelection unopposed (Ani Umoh filed, but quickly withdrew from the race).

The candidates for mayor of Flower Mound are listed in alphabetic order below:

Mayor (3-year-term)

Flower Mound mayoral candidate Stephanie Bell.

Stephanie Bell, 37

Occupation: Business strategist

Education: Like the great Steve Jobs, Michael Dell and Bill Gates, I left school to start my own successful company. I am now an executive with a software company in Corporate America, where I oversee our marketing efforts.

Public service: I’ve volunteered with the North Texas Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity. I’m also the elected President of our local toastmasters chapter. I help train and develop folks around DFW in leadership, communication and negotiation skills.

What motivated you to run for this position, and why are you the best choice?  I’m dedicated to being a Mayor for all of Flower Mound, not just for the folks who vote for me. I am community-based and need all residents to know that they have a voice. I am here to hear you out, your thoughts matter. We recently lost a town manager; thank goodness we have the talented Debra at the helm in the interim. My first goal in being Mayor is to ensure that we attract and hire the brightest and best talent, starting with our next Town Manager. Our future Town Manager must be respectful, ethical, and trustworthy. Active listening skills are key to communicating with me, the Council, residents, and town staff at all levels. We will look forward to fresh faces, with no history of infighting, who do not view public leadership positions as stepping stones. We will move forward together, as a town, with stewards who truly care.

What is your mission statement? Representation is vital and simply not voting or complaining hasn’t gotten me, or us, far. I have a two -year old son and I care about where I raise my son. Integrity matters. I am dedicated and committed to you, my neighbor, and I’m committed to Flower Mound.

Candidate website: steffieb.com

Candidate Facebook page: Stephanie Bell

Email: [email protected]m

Derek France

Derek France, 47

Occupation: President/CEO at Cross Timbers Consulting Group

Education: Degree studies in Homeland Security & Emergency Management, Central Texas College
Certificate of Law Enforcement Technology, Rio Salado College

Public service: I am passionate about giving back to our community through philanthropy and volunteering. I currently serve as an active member on the Town’s Veterans Liaison Board and Animal Services Board and have also volunteered my time and expertise to the Lewisville ISD Education Foundation (LEF) on an ongoing basis, and an active member/volunteer of the Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce. I am also an Eagle Scout and have previously served as an Assistant Scoutmaster.

What motivated you to run for this position, and why are you the best choice?  I’m running because I want to take an active role in focusing on the issues and prosperity in Flower Mound through principled, innovative leadership. I will work together with the Town Council and Staff to review our past successes and short comings and then create a path that enables actions to correct them that include advancing limited government, managed spending, lower taxes, and individual liberty, while ensuring balance and respecting community differences and cultures. I am the best choice because I have the most direct and diverse experience related to being a leader and champion for our Town. I am a proven leader and astute in business acumen, with over 20 years of Government Service. My experience in Program Management, Financial Operations, Business Development, and Training Services all have direct applications to Town government and being a strong Mayor.

What is your mission statement? Vision: We strive to be the best community in America to live, work, and play. Mission: Provide fiscally conservative leadership, focused priorities for action, and leadership at the Town Council meetings, while preserving our small-town atmosphere and quality of life.

Candidate website: derekfrance.com

Candidate Facebook page: Derek for Mayor

Email: [email protected]

Itamar Gelbman

Itamar Gelbman, 38

Occupation: Self-employed

Education: B.S. Business and Computer Science, Double Major
LLB

Public service: 2015 – 2017 Council-member
2014 – 2015 Planning & Zoning Commissioner

What motivated you to run for this position, and why are you the best choice?  My motivation is my four kids. I want them to grow in a safe community with great schools, beautiful parks, trails, and open spaces. I want them to call Flower Mound home even after they start their own families. I am the clear choice for the Mayor. I have a proven track record of community participation and for putting residents above all others. During my council tenure, I fought for transparency and fiscal accountability against eminent domain and high density, including apartment buildings. As a community leader, I have donated and helped raise tens of thousands to feed local families who lost their jobs during COVID19, pay rent for single moms, raise funds for a Flower Mound firefighter who lost his house, pay the bills of a local teacher who lost her husband, and helped facilitate the donation of a specially adapted smart home to a double amputee Purple Heart recipient

What is your mission statement? Putting Resident’s First. I am the only candidate with a track record of being either active or proactive in Flower Mound. As a resident, I helped others feed their families during COVID19. During my tenure on council, I voted against eminent domain and apartment buildings and uphold our Smart Growth and Master Plans.

Candidate website: N/A

Candidate Facebook page: Itamar Gelbman

Email: [email protected]

Cheryl Moore

Cheryl Moore, 52

Occupation: Senior physical therapist

Education: Bachelors of Science and Physical Therapy from the University of Oklahoma

Public service: I was HOA President for Chaucer Estates, where I still reside today. I was the concessions team leader for Marcus High School, in support of Marquette’s and the Marcus Band. I routinely lead patient and family support groups for Brain Injury, Lymphedema, Wheelchair and return home assistance programs. I was the troop leader for Boy Scouts. I coached GLASA girls’ soccer for 2 seasons. I was the backstage crew leader for Ballet Conservatory, and a crew member for Ballet Ensemble of Texas.

What motivated you to run for this position, and why are you the best choice?  I wanted to aid in the recovery of our business community, after COVID has impacted so many. I also see a lot of empty buildings and feel that empty space can be utilized, without having to build new. I want to maintain the open green spaces we currently have and prevent our town from being becoming a concrete jungle. I do not believe the town wants overcrowding, traffic congestion and delays, further infrastructure issues due to rapid growth. My collaborative skills will support the Town Council. I want economic growth benefiting our residents, not just developers. I’m the best choice because of my fresh perspective, diverse background, my collaboration skills, my interest in smart economic growth benefitting residents too, my understanding of the medical community (a big part of Flower Mound now), and my ability to bring people together.

What is your mission statement? To work collaboratively with the Town Council, to see the smart and stable economic growth for the Town. I want Flower Mound businesses to grow and achieve, while also benefitting our residents. I want to bring people together, further enhancing our sense of community. And I want to maintain financial stability of the Town.

Candidate website: moore4mayor.org

Candidate Facebook page: Cheryl Moore

Email: [email protected]

Jehangir Raja

Jehangir Raja, 53

Occupation: Financial executive

Education: MBA, Finance, BSc (Hons) Economics

Public service: N/A

What motivated you to run for this position, and why are you the best choice?  The vision for our home town. The town deserves to be the number one town to live in whole world. An Icon for living and doing business in. Town needs to have upscale commercial developments with an upgrade of life style for the residents. Town needs to have increased revenue especially from C to B infrastructure development and smart growth. Setting up the incubators for the innovative start ups. Maximum ROI for the town per square feet of the land in town. Above average pay for all our workers and a life style that residents will enjoy. Provide pure inspiration to all our residents to achieve the maximum potential from work and living. Ideal socially responsible residential and commercial developments with a fraction of a cost and maximum ROI.

What is your mission statement? Focus-Forward-Flower Mound. Smart Innovative Growth with a focus on efficient utilization of our resources and efficient returns on our assets.

Candidate website: jehangirraja.com

Candidate Facebook page: Jehangir Raja for Mayor of Flower Mound

Email: [email protected]m

About The Author

Mark Smith

Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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