Last week, businessman Cole Stanley was sworn in to take the Place 1 spot on the Amarillo City Council, previously held by Elaine Hays. Joining a group of re-elected incumbents, Stanley, who ran as a conservative businessman in his May election campaign, sat down for an interview with Texas Scorecard.

With just a week of city council tenure under his belt, Stanley says his schedule has grown busy with numerous municipal functions and meetings, but he is still approaching every meeting from a position of learning.

“I’ve learned that I’ve got a lot to learn,” Stanley said. “You can read the budget and talk on the phone with a department head, but until you work through the process yourself, you don’t learn what you need to know.”

Stanley says he intends to keep his conservative values at the forefront of his decision-making processes, saying keeping an eye on spending is one way he’ll deliver on the campaign promises he made to voters.

“What you will probably see from me will be good ideas that I can bring to the table to hopefully pay down some things instead of paying up some things,” Stanley said. “I’m going to look for things that are good investments for the long term.”

Taking his experience as a commercial builder to work at city hall, Stanley says he is already working with city officials on issues like affordable housing and hopes to be the bridge between city leaders and the real estate development community on the city council.

Among the issues facing Amarillo residents, Stanley says he was pleased to see Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to roll back face-covering rules statewide. Agreeing it was time for the government-mandated mask policy to end, Stanley said while business owners should still have the right to require masks, “the precedent set from the city and other government entities matters.”

Overall, while being a newcomer on the city council, Stanley says he has already met with Mayor Ginger Nelson several times and is speaking with city staff to work with other officials to deliver on his priorities.

“The relational side and the mentality that matters the most is how we get along,” Stanley said.

Stanley’s two-year term is set to run through May 2023. He defeated opponents Hobert “Gunny” Brown and Jason N. Tillery, winning the May 1 election with 51 percent of the vote.

For more information about the Amarillo City Council and the current members of the elected body, visit this link.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.