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Shelley Sekula-Gibbs: The Woodlands Township Candidate

Please note that Hello Woodlands is an unbiased, nonpartisan news source that does not support only one party or candidate. We do not accept or receive advertising or funding from any candidate, party or group. We believe in providing the community with educational information, credible facts, thoroughly researched topics and articles, and to be a voice for ALL members in our community.

Hello Woodlands gave the opportunity to candidates running for The Woodlands Township Board of Directors to complete a written interview including the same 10 questions. View candidate’s responses to our questions, if provided.

Each position has a two-year term, is an unpaid volunteer position, and is elected at-large by voters in The Woodlands Township in both Montgomery County and Harris County. The election is scheduled for November 5, 2019. Voters must be registered to vote for The Woodlands election.

THE WOODLANDS TOWNSHIP BOARD OF DIRECTORS – 2019 CANDIDATE

Shelley Sekula-Gibbs is running for the Township Board Position 5.

1. Share your background. What originally brought you to The Woodlands?

As a 5th generation Texan, board-certified dermatologist, small business owner who operated my medical practice for 30 years, teacher at Baylor College of Medicine, former 3-term Houston City Council Member, first female physician to vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, wife, mother, and grandmother of a 1-year old Woodlands resident –  I am truly blessed. In 2015, I sold my medical practice to a colleague. After selling our house, my husband and I moved to The Woodlands to be close to our daughter, son-in-law and precious baby granddaughter.

2. How do you contribute, give back and make a difference in our community?

The Woodlands is a vibrant community full of opportunities to give back and serve our neighbors. After recent floods caused Montgomery County residents to flee their homes, my husband and I supported Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church, where we are members, and Interfaith Ministries to provide emergency care. Having received a life-changing college scholarship myself, I understand the importance of helping people pursue their dreams of higher education. To this end, I am happy to support the Montgomery County Association of Business Women’s college scholarship program. My husband and I have set up several additional scholarships for students in science and math and women’s athletics. We started a foundation that provides money for clinics for uninsured patients. To share my love for our great Nation and respect for our Flag, I serve as chaplain of The Woodlands Republican Women’s Club and advisor to High School Young Republicans. For fun and friendship, I belong to the Women of The Woodlands Newcomer’s Club.

3. Why do you enjoy living (and/or working) in The Woodlands?

The Woodlands is a safe, serene sanctuary, with over 140 parks, 14 pools, 220 miles of paths and trails, and gorgeous waterways and art.  It is a unique hometown where everyone can live, work, learn, play and pray. Our community was recently recognized as the 4th best place to live in the U.S.A.  Being retired and residing less than 3 miles from my new grandbaby, I feel privileged to live here. I recognize the responsibility we share to maintain George Mitchell’s vision by protecting our trees, prevent clear cutting, and not allowing cut through traffic to damage our community. I will work to block unwanted and damaging road projects, such as, The Woodlands Parkway or Mansions Way extension becoming like “1960”, or Gosling Rd. turning into an I-45 alternative through or next to Jones Forest, or Branch Crossing expanding northward to Conroe. Despite assurances to the contrary, these plans remain on the Montgomery County Thoroughfare Plan published in 2016.

4. ­­­­­­How has The Woodlands helped and impacted you?

George Mitchell and the people of The Woodlands have built a one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable community – a safe and sustainable place for people, pets and nature. When I served on the Houston City Council, I represented almost 2M people, including Clear Lake and Kingwood. Although several years had passed since Clear Lake (1977) and Kingwood (1996) had been forcibly annexed by the City of Houston, many residents remained outspoken about their high taxes, poor city services, and limited power to impact the Houston municipal government. By serving on the Township Board, I hope to help protect our very special hometown from outside interests and preserve our amazing quality of life.

5. What motivates you to run for The Woodlands Township Board of Directors?

I am running for Board Position 5 to Keep The Woodlands Wonderful and make it even better for future generations.  I will always put the residents first and I have no conflicts of interest.

6. What are 5 things that you want voters to know about you (personal, points, views, experience, etc.)?

Being born a 5th generation Texan, I was blessed to be born in the greatest State in the greatest Nation in the world, the United States of America.  I graduated with honors from Floresville High School, where I served as class president for three years and was voted most friendly. My daddy stopped formal school at 5th grade so he could work on the farm and then serve in the U.S. Navy. My mother couldn’t complete high school because of illness.  My parents went to church every Sunday and taught me and my 5 siblings to live by the pillars of God, Family and Country. They instilled in us the value of education and encouraged us to get as much of it as possible. All of us attended college and five graduated, sometimes taking a slower route. With the help of scholarships, I graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Chemistry. My Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston was also made possible by scholarships and loans. The selfless generosity of so many people who I will never be able to repay, has left an indelible mark on my character. I will always give back to my community to help others who need a hand up. 

7. What makes you unique I comparison to other candidates?

Three important factors make me unique and qualified to serve on the Township Board:

I have direct experience in municipal and federal government. On the Houston City Council, I represented two million people, helped roll back tax rates 3 times, and collaborated to pass a 4.5% voter-approved revenue cap that still exists and has saved taxpayers $700M.

I am the only candidate to have served on the Houston Galveston Area Council (HGAC). I know how important a vote, not just a voice from the audience, can be to obtain millions of dollars in federal and state funds. These grants are used for local projects like roads, bridges, flood mitigation, emergency preparedness, homeland security, etc.

As a board-certified dermatologist who ran my business for 30 years and Clinical Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, I have the training, experience and problem solving ability to bring value to The Woodlands Township Board.

8.  What are your views on incorporation.

Incorporation is not on the ballot. The incorporation studies are not finished. They should be completed before decisions are made. The Woodlands residents will ultimately vote on whether the Township should become an independent city. (See question 9.)

9. If elected, what would your top 3 priorities as Township Board of Director? How would you work to impact/shape the future of The Woodlands?

Stop The Woodlands Parkway Extension (WPX) and other dangerous new expandions. The Montgomery County Thoroughfare Plan details three road changes that would devastate our community: WPX to 249 in Tomball, Gosling Rd. north as an alternate to I-45, Branch Crossing to Conroe Loop 336. These cut throughs would increase traffic accidents, crime, and pollution, and depress property values. Becoming a city would give us more legal authority to stand up against outside interests who don’t care about The Woodlands residents.

Mitigate flooding. Hurricane Harvey and other recent storms damaged homes in Creekside Park and Grogan’s Mill. To directly secure federal and state funds for flood and drainage projects, we need a vote on the Houston Galveston Area Council(HGAC) where these funds are allocated. Gaining a vote would require The Woodlands to incorporate.

Keep tax rates low. The Township Board has wisely reduced our property tax rates by 30% over the last 9 years while enhancing amenities and services. They have established over $80M in reserves. The Woodlands has no unfunded liabilities and a low debt ratio compared to other cities. Our hometown is now ranked as the 4th best place to live in the U.S.A. To support our tax base, we should recruit innovative businesses with good paying jobs, continue to enhance our amenities, and brand our hometown as a sustainable innovation center for business and education. 

10. Would you like to share any other words or message to The Woodlands?

If I am honored to be elected, I will work to maintain George Mitchell’s vision of a sustainable, safe, wooded community for people, pets and nature, a place where everyone can live, work, learn, play, and pray. I have no conflicts of interest. As your representative on the Board, I will put the residents first. Join me and let’s “Keep The Woodlands Wonderful” and make it even better for future generations.

Early voting begins Monday, October 21. In Montgomery County vote early at South County Community Center, 2235 Lake Robbins Drive.  In Harris County, vote early at Lone Star College – Creekside Center, 8747 W. New Harmony Trail. Election Day is November 5, 2019.

Learn more at DrShelley4Township.com

2019 CANDIDATE FORUM

The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Advocacy Council hosted a candidate forum for the 2019 race on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 from 4-6 p.m. at the Chamber’s Lakeshore Boardroom, located at 9320 Lakeside Blvd. in The Woodlands. 

Three at-large positions on The Woodlands Township Board of Directors will be elected in the November 5, 2019 election, designated as positions 5, 6 and 7. 

Watch the video of the forum on the Hello Woodlands YouTube Channel below:

Please visit the November Election section on the Township’s website for additional information at https://thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/1350/November-2019-Election

Please note that Hello Woodlands is an unbiased, nonpartisan news source that does not support only one party or candidate. We do not accept or receive advertising or funding from any candidate, party or group. We believe in providing the community with educational information, credible facts, thoroughly researched topics and articles, and to be a voice for ALL members in our community.

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