Two Kilgore locals are seeking election to Kilgore City Council, Place 3, and both have spoken to the News Herald about their motivations and qualifications for the seat.
Alan VanDoren and Missy Merritt are both locals interested in Kilgore’s continued growth and success.
“The biggest reason is just because we like Kilgore,” said VanDoren, who co-owns Kilgore Street restaurant Downtown D’lites with his wife, Debbie.
“I am a resident, a homeowner, a business owner, a property owner and, most importantly, a grandfather of 13 kids that live in town and I just want to see Kilgore on the path it’s going. We enjoy the city.”
He added he doesn’t have a campaign slogan, but his main motivation is to see Kilgore continue a trend of growth and development.
In a social media post about his candidacy for City Council, Debbie described Alan as “a resident of Kilgore for 12 years now, a home owner, business owner, church member, dad, and grandfather (13 of his grandkids live in town here!) who wants to be a part of keeping Kilgore a great place for all its population to live, work, and enjoy life!”
Merritt has worked on several local political campaigns and has now decided to throw her own hat in the ring for Kilgore City Council, with a focus on local and downtown business development.
“It is certainly a very different world doing this for myself,” she said.
“I’ve been in Kilgore since 2004 and when I moved over here, there was Harry Crouse, who had the store on Kilgore Street with all the little shops and Mr. Clower had a business downtown and we’ve got this wonderful Brookshire’s store.
“I love Kilgore and with some of the connections I have in my my life, I hope that I can bring some economic diversity to Kilgore.”
Merritt said local elected officials had encouraged her to get on the ballot for Place 3, including the council-member who holds the seat now.
“When I signed up for this, it was the end of January and no one had signed up,” she said. “I talked to council-member (Mike) Sechrist and he said ‘it’d be great for you to run,’ and I talked to some other elected officials who encouraged me to do it, and here we sit eight months later.
“I think that I know a lot business people in the community. I’ve got great relationships with elected officials, whether from the county level or up to state level. When we’re going after money for Kilgore, I think that those relationships play a big role when they’re cutting the checks.
“I’m happy to go to Austin and spend the time. I’m willing to do anything to help grow Kilgore and keep us moving.”
“I hope they’ll consider voting for me,” she said when asked about her message to local voters.
“I love Kilgore and I want our town to prosper and there’s only one way to do that and that’s to grow the tax base.”