Meet the City Council candidates
By Robin Scott
Phillip Hass has been an asset to the City of Dalhart for many years. As owner of Horizon Funeral Home since 1990, Phillip’s business experience has been an invaluable asset for Dalhart. As an incumbent candidate for city council, he continues his strong desire to guide the city into the future.
May’s election is Phillip’s third bid for a seat on the council for Ward 2. He previously sat for two terms for a different Ward before moving to Ward 2. As an incumbent, he possesses experience and knowledge and stated that he is often teased about his “let’s just table this and give it one more week and discuss it” position that has often grounded the council. He stated, “I’ve been involved with city management in one way or another since I was young. My dad was a city manager for Clovis, New Mexico. I’ve always been concerned about what we do on the council. It’s not just how it affects today or tomorrow, but how it affects the future, what it affects down the road.”
Phillip has served on numerous boards in Dalhart and believes that serving on boards such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Board prepared him for the task of sitting on the city council. He says he frequently states, “You can’t just print money. Income for the city comes from three sources: services we provide such as sewer, water and trash collection, collection of taxes, and maintaining our investments.” He is concerned about ideas people have about the city having the ability to spend money on any and every project. He noted, “There are the have to’s and the want to’s.” He stated that the have to’s for Dalhart are taking care of employees first and taking care of the city’s assets second. He noted that the want to’s include upgrades such as paving roads and upgrading parks and stated, “They have to come into the budget, after the have to’s have been met. It’s hard in this economy because there are a lot of want to’s unmet, but we can’t just print money.” He stressed the importance for running on a budget that can’t go “red.”
Phillip explained how the budget for the city works. Department heads all prepare their budget needs and present them to the City Manager, who may go over the proposals with the department heads. That process takes about three months, then public hearings are held. The final budget is completed by October of each year. He stated, “If something comes up we are able to amend the budget, like when gas prices were so high last year we had to make an adjustment.”
Remaining on the city council and being re-elected is very import to Phillip who stated, “I serve because of how important it is to always look to the road ahead to avoid things that won’t work well. It’s not just what may work today, but how what we do will affect us 10 years from now. I don’t get in a hurry because of how important that is.”
Phillip stated that Mayor Kevin Caddell is very aware of what is needed to sustain Dalhart. He also commented that Dalhart has an excellent City Manager in Greg Duggan and that James Stroud, Assistant City Manager, “Was a good hire. He is motivated and he motivates the employees and people. He’s smart and not afraid to work.” One of the qualities that he admires in James Stroud is his concern for the infrastructure of Dalhart, which includes sewer lines, water lines and the landfill that is pushed to the limits each month. He stated, “Those are needs, not wants, and those are the things we need to concentrate on more for our future.”
Phillip stated that he’s a big advocate for the rights of private property owners. He commented, “The city should not have the right to just go in there without due process, so that if we do go in and condemn property it’s been done right, then someone can come in and buy it and make something of it.” He noted that code enforcement is a hard job, and that Nick Martinez, City Code Enforcer, is doing a good job.
Phillip and his wife Shana Wallace Hass have three grown children, Corey Hass, Alana Lusk and Whitney Hass. They are also brand new grandparents to baby girl Chandler Paige Hass. He stated, “Wow, I get to say I’m a grandfather now!” Mrs. Hass is also a licensed funeral director and mortician.
Phillip stated, “No two days are ever the same. Life is fluid and when you have an idea it’s important to listen and wait because there are always two sides to every decision.” Of himself he stated, “I don’t like to compromise, but I do like to cooperate.” He stressed again, “You must listen and learn, otherwise, you’re not qualified.”
Kurtis Thomas and his wife, Ashley, have lived in Dalhart since 2007 when Kurtis graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Agricultural Leadership & Development. Kurtis is employed by JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding at Hartley Feeders as the Yard Department Manager.
Kurtis brings a knowledge and appreciation for the agri-business of Dalhart to his bid for City Council, Ward 2. He served as the 2001-2002 Texas FFA State President. During that time, he traveled over 60,000 miles across the state of Texas speaking to three high schools per day, five days per week. His speaking engagements centered on the importance of agricultural diversity. He has had the opportunity to speak to large companies such as The Big 60 Auto Dealer’s Conference for the Ford Motor Company and Justin Boots. He has also been the opening speaker twice for the State Fair of Texas Rural Youth Day and delivered the keynote address at Texas Cattlewomen’s Association Convention.
While touring, he spoke at Hartley High School in 2002. Kurtis worked for Congressman John Carter (Representative of the 31st District of Texas) in Washington D.C, handling a variety of agricultural issues from constituents. Congressman Carter’s district included Erath County, south of Fort Worth, the number one dairy production county in Texas. While working for the Congressman, he lived in Crystal City, Virginia. He commented, “Washington D.C. is very fast-paced, and the people are not as friendly as the people in Dalhart.”
Kurtis grew up in Pasadena, Texas, and graduated from Pasadena High School. He has one sister, Kimberly, and one brother, Keith, who live in southeast Texas, and his mother, Donna, currently lives in Pasadena.
Kurtis enjoys woodworking, hunting, fishing, and volunteering in the community helping 4-H children. He said, “Having my wife, Ashley, working at the Extension Office gives me the wonderful opportunity to help the 4-H children and watch them reap the rewards of their hard work at the Bi-County Stock Show.” Kurtis hopes that by volunteering with the 4-H and FFA members, he can help them learn to appreciate the value of Agriculture to Texas and it’s economy.
Kurtis believes that his time in Washington D.C. familiarized him with the political process, and especially as it relates to Agricultural issues. He stated, “I’ve dealt with a tremendous amount of Dairy producers.” He’s confident that he will bring a fresh perspective and a new set of eyes to the council. He noted, “I’m very passionate about public service and helping people.” He hopes to accomplish the paving project for the north side of town. He stated, “There are some issues that are probably closer to me than other members of the City Council. One is the paving project on the north side of town, and that’s very important to me. I grew up in a town that’s very similar to Dalhart and the north side of that town seemed to be forgotten. Anything I can do to help that situation, I will certainly do.” Kurtis’ past political experience, dairy experience and desire to enter public service are all supported by his wife. They both have faith that he is exactly the type of person who will work well for the city as a council member.
Jim Chandler is a lifelong resident of Dalhart and the owner of XIT Real Estate. As the incumbent for Ward 3, Jim has been a member of the City Council for two terms and one partial term.
Jim became a real estate broker in 1994 after having been in farming and ranching for many years. He stated that he believes his business experience has been beneficial to the council.
After graduating from Dalhart High School in 1965, Jim attended Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business. He then returned to Dalhart. He noted, “I can remember when the lake was filled with water!”
Jim’s parents, Raman and Wilma Chandler, moved to Dalhart in 1942 and they have since passed away. He has two grown daughters; Jackie Chandler who is an attorney in Dallas and works for the law firm of Thompson, Coe, Cousins and I; and his other daughter, Kate Parker, owns Kate Parker Photography in McKinney, Texas. He’s very proud of his daughters, stating, “Jackie clerked for the appellate court in Houston for three years and won the Moot Court competition in law school several times. Kate is an award-winning photographer.
Jim stated, “One of my better traits is being able to see all sides of an issue. I have definite opinions, but I will listen to everybody and hear their viewpoints, so that I can see all sides of an issue.” He commented that he enjoys being a part of the city, and seeing it thriving, and noted, “It’s rewarding to be in public service.”
Not all decisions that the council makes can please everyone, and Jim stated, “The hardest part is that no matter what we do, we can’t please everybody. Someone is always not going to be happy. It’s been said that you haven’t done a good job unless they’re all mad at you.”
He also noted that becoming friends with the other city council members has been a real blessing. He noted, “I never really realized what the city manager and the mayor do, and what all they accomplish and how well run our city is until I saw our city manager and mayor. They are very financially stable. Our city government runs better than most do. Not everyone realizes that and I want our citizens to know that we have a very well run city.”