Question 1: What are your professional qualifications for the City Council seat you are seeking?
Jennifer Helms: “My qualifications would be my experience with the Layden Senior Center, organizing and coordinating Girl Scout meetings, graduating from Kaufman County Leadership, and Forney Leadership as well as serving on our EDC advisory board.”
Mary Penn: “I have served on the Forney City Council for 2 years, have owned a financial services and insurance business for 20 years, and a DWI education business for four years. I have a current securities brokers license. With my business experience in financial planning and securities I'm fiscally conservative and believe in good money management.”
Question 2: Why do you want to be on the Forney City Council?
Helms: “With the knowledge I have gained through my experiences, I feel confident in serving on the City Council. I can bring new ideas and perspectives while still working within a group. There are many changes to come in Forney and I believe that the City Council needs positive people who not only love Forney but also have the ability to get the job done.”
Penn: “I love Forney and I want to see it prosper. With my experience I have eliminated waste in our city government and will continue to guide our city to run more efficiently. I want to improve the quality of life in Forney. I have lived here for 30 years and plan on staying here the next 30.”
Question 3: The Smoking Ordinance, are you for or against it and why?
Helms: “I would want to read the details of the ordinance before making a final decision, but I personally feel that it should be up to the businesses to choose to be a smoking or non-smoking establishment.”
Penn: “With regards to public smoking, my primary concern is protecting the health and welfare of our children and minors. I will work to resolve this issue in a way that will protect our children and minors and build a bridge for those that disagree. A council member should consider the needs of all its citizens.”
Question 4: The prospect of an Entertainment Overlay District has been discussed recently. It would allow alcohol sales at the Mick Spellman Amphitheater at the Forney Community Park. Are you for or against this proposal, and why?
Helms: “I am for the proposal. Not every event will sell alcohol. At the events that do sell alcohol the parks will be closed. Having these types of events will bring people from out of town to Forney where they can stop to eat, shop, and fuel up all at our stores. All of this helps our tax revenue which is a step in the right direction for Forney. How great would it be to have something like the Pizza Hut Park right here in Forney. Just imagine all the fun family events and date night events that will be held at the Spellman Amphitheater.”
Penn: “As with smoking, my primary concern is to protect the health and welfare of our citizens, especially our children. Because of my experience as a DWI instructor, the issue of drunk drivers and how it affects our children is something very close to my heart.”
Question 5: What has been Forney's biggest success in the last three years and what has been its biggest failure?
Helms: “Forney has had many successes, one being our community park and ALL that it offers to Forney and the surrounding communities. The Gateway Bridge and all the road improvements that have been made and the more improvements to come. The retail and medical development have certainly made a positive impact for Forney. As far as any failures, I would say that at one time roads where a negative for Forney, but we now are seeing in time that issue is becoming a positive.”
Penn: “Forney's greatest success is the generosity of its citizens, the way this town pulls together when things get tough, like the tornado, the comfort our families receive when there is a death, and how they attend events like Hometown Christmas, Trails of Treats and Love for Lauren, to name a few. The compassionate character of our community is what sets us apart from other cities. Our greatest failure is our low voter turnout. For as much as people care about this town, you would think they don't care by the lack of people who get out and vote.”
Question 6: What is your primary goal for Forney's future?
Helms: “My goals for Forney are simple. I want to see our Forney residents proud to call Forney home. I want our citizens to be able to shop, eat, play, and raise their families all in Forney. I want to see downtown thriving right along with the future developments along highway 80.”
Penn: “As a council member I will continue to press for changes in Forney that will improve the quality of life, the quality of city operations, and increase transparency in the council functions.”
Question 7: Why should voters elect you to the Place 5 seat of the Forney City Council?
Helms: “Serving Forney is a passion of mine. My time with the Girl Scouts, Lions Club, Meals on Wheels, and volunteering at community events as well as serving on the EDC has really made my passion for Forney grow. Being a part of the of the leadership classes and learning more about our city government made running for City Council the natural next step for me. I look forward to serving and being a part of the positive growth coming to Forney.”
Penn: “I believe in a government of the people that is transparent and accessible to all its citizens. I've been telling voters that I have no hidden agenda. What you see is what you get. I believe in public service. I love Forney and the people in it. Forney is where my heart is. I will fight for the success of our town and the great people who live in it.”