By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
BUDA – Mayor Pro Tem Bobby Lane has thrown his hat into the ring to become the full-blown Buda mayor in the May election.
Lane becomes the second Buda City Councilmember to run for the position vacated last August by the resignation of former Mayor John Trube. Councilmember Hutch White announced his candidacy earlier this month.
Lane and White both hold council seats that expire in May, so they both were faced with campaigns to stay on the council, anyway. However, their competition for mayor guarantees that one of them will leave the council, unless one of them decides to back off the mayor’s race and re-run for a council seat, instead.
White said when he announced his candidacy that he believed he “would not be in conflict” with other councilmembers by running for mayor. At Budafest in early December, Lane said, he told White to “go ahead and run,” having no plans of his own to seek the office. However, Lane said conversations around town in the last few weeks have encouraged him to run.
Lane and White both are council veterans. Lane is finishing his fourth term after joining the council in 2000, and White is finishing his third term after joining the council in 2002.
“I just visited with a number of people around town and asked what they thought about the race,” Lane said. “A number of people said they would be interested in having me run … It’s not that I’m running against Hutch. I’m just running because people expressed a desire in having me run.”
As the Buda council has operated cohesively for the last six years, no burning differences of opinion have ever surfaced between Lane and White. Both say they expect to keep Buda on its present path, highlighted by retail growth on Interstate-35 and the continuing development of parks and green spaces.
If White and Lane have emphasized different priorities, those priorities aren’t mutually contradictory. As a 35-year employee of the state health department, Lane most easily talks about public health matters, such as water, wastewater and stormwater. White, a web metrics specialist for Coremetrics, emphasizes buffering residents from commercial growth.
Envisioning downtown more as an historic district that a central business district, Lane said the interior portion of Main Street “is pretty solid these days.”
Lane said the next mayor in Buda will operate under a different set of expectations with last November’s passage of a home rule charter. The mayor, he said, will be less of a shaker and more of a stirrer.
“Historically, the role (of mayor) has been the central point of contact,” Lane said. “Based on the charter and the expectation I have of the city manager, that will change. I see the mayor’s role as more of a liaison between the council and the staff, the council and the citizens, bringing unity to the thought process and bringing unity to the decision making process.”
If one element differentiates Lane from other mayoral candidates, he said, it’s his work as Mayor Pro Tem for the last six months.
“I have been in that role since July and I have a feel for it,” he said.
With Lane and White both running for mayor, three council seats up for election are wide open in May. Under the new arrangement of discrete council places, Lane’s Place 1 and White’s Place 2 both are up for two-year terms. A new seat on the Council, Place 6, is up for a three-year term.
Almost certainly, then, the next Buda council will seat three new members, a prospect that doesn’t disturb Lane.
“From what I’ve heard, people think it’s time for fresh blood,” Lane said. “Historically, it’s been like pulling hens’ teeth to get people to run for office. Hopefully, the new format on the council will open that up a bit.”
However, Lane still doesn’t see rugged campaigning ahead in Buda city elections, which have drawn little interest in recent years. Lane said he’s like many city officials in that he enjoys serving and dislikes campaigning. Lane said he will “do just what’s needed” to win the election.
No other candidates have yet announced their intentions to run for mayor or city council.Email | Print