Deer Park Rotary’s City Council Candidates Town Hall

Deer Park High School’s StagTV provided a live stream of the Town Hall meeting.

Watch the informative City Council Candidates Town Hall Event hosted by Deer Park Rotary to get a firsthand account of the candidates’ unfiltered visions for Deer Park’s future. Your vote matters.

The Deer Park Rotary hosted a City Council Candidates Town Hall Event last week to help inform voters of who is running this November for our city government positions. Josh Walters, a recent past Deer Park Rotary Club president and a Deer Park citizen, was the event’s moderator. Regarding the format, the organizers chose a town hall-style format, giving all candidates equal time to prepare for the event. They did not take public comments in this forum. However, voters were encouraged to take notes and reach out to specific candidates personally. The event started with the pledge of allegiance and reading the Rotary Club Four-Way Test. 

Then, each of the five candidates, Helen (Dee) Cragun, Diane Pfaeffle, Billy Costello, Fred Senn, and Scott Campbell, were allowed three-minutes for an introduction.

 Introduction in summary: 

Cragun is a seasoned council member who cited her desire to see two key projects come to fruition as her reason for running. 

Pfaeffle’s interest in municipal affairs began with an interest in urban chickens, leading her to attend council meetings for a year. Diane envisions Deer Park as a thriving community and hopes to contribute to its growth. 

Costello, a family man and local business owner, emphasizes his investment in Deer Park’s future. Originally from California, he chose Deer Park for its small-town charm to raise his family and operate his State Farm office. 

Senn, a retired military member with logistical experience, is motivated to see tangible progress in the community. He believes in the potential for growth in the face of increasing service needs. 

Campbell, a well-traveled individual with roots in various states, seeks to accelerate the city’s development. He advocates for a proactive and accessible city council focusing on security and children’s activities. 

Each candidate brings unique experiences and perspectives, offering diverse approaches to shaping the future of Deer Park.

They moved into Round Table One, which included four questions that each candidate had been provided in advance, so they were allowed to prepare their answers. Candidates had up to three minutes to respond. 

The questions were: 

  • Share two of your key principles or beliefs about how city government should be run and give an example for how these principles would apply to your role as a council member.
  • What do you anticipate will be the most challenging aspect of working within the City Council, and how do you plan to overcome this particular challenge?
  • Based on your experience in Deer Park, what are the three most significant needs that should be addressed immediately? 
  • Name two public projects you would vote in favor of taking on public debt to solve and provide your perspective accordingly.


The forum moved on to the Round Table Two portion of the night, which included questions submitted by Deer Park community members online prior to the event. The candidates did not see these questions in advance, so they had no real time to prepare for them. The organizers said the candidates needed to keep their answers to about three minutes. 

The questions were the following:

  • Over the years, Deer Park has aged, and it seems to need both maintenance and improvements. Much of the beautification is left up to the private entities and businesses, which are rarely held accountable. Do you support the city of Deer Park investing more towards the appearance and improvements in the community?
  • Is saving and remodeling our historic City Hall a priority for you? Why or why not?
  • What specifically will you personally do to communicate with the public? For example, will you publicize your phone number, an email address or use social media to communicate directly with citizens?


Finally, each candidate was able to make a closing statement to encourage constitutes to vote for them. Josh Walters thanked everyone for joining them in person and online that evening. 

For those interested in hearng the candidates’ responses, visit the YouTube video of the event at Youtube.com/watch?v=Hzxma2uC5iE. You can also, as the event organizers suggested, personally reach out to specific candidates with questions.

Contact Information Provided By Candidates in the Voters’ Pamphlet:

Council Position Number 2

Helen (Dee) Cragun: Did not provide information for voters’ pamphlet

Fred Senn: 


Council Position Number 4

Billy Costello


Council Position Number 5

Scott Campbell

Diane Pfaeffle


Sources:

  • “DPHS & Deer Park Rotary Presents – City Council Candidates Town Hall.” YouTube, 13 October 2023, DPGazette.com/aoxee. Accessed 18 October 2023.

2023 General Election Voters Guide DPGazette.com/ayu9u. Accessed 18 October 2023.

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