Meet Bastrop's mayoral candidates


Four candidates are seeking to replace Connie Schroeder as mayor of Bastrop, including three who have served on the City Council.

Running for mayor in the May 6 election are Dock Jackson, Deborah Jones, Lyle Nelson and Elizabeth Northcutt. Schroeder, who became the first woman to be elected mayor in Bastrop in 2017, is finishing her second and final term as mayor under city charter rules.

Dock Jackson
Dock Jackson

Dock Jackson, 70, has spent three decades in and out of City Hall as a council member and as mayor pro tem, and said he has worked with every mayor since the 1980s. He also was the first city of Elgin Parks and Recreation director. Jackson attended Texas State University and the University of Texas before pursuing a theater career in New York City. Though he retired from working in government, he works part-time at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Bastrop.

Deborah Jones
Deborah Jones

Deborah Jones, 64, has been a property appraiser in Bastrop for more than 22 years, and served on the City Council from 2016 to 2019. She moved to Bastrop after earning a degree in economics from the University of Texas.

Lyle Nelson
Lyle Nelson

Lyle Nelson, 69, is the chief of staff for the Capital Area Rural Transportation System. He has served two terms on the City Council, including as mayor pro tem. Nelson said he never went to college but highlighted his time serving in the military and 40 years of experience in management roles.

Elizabeth Northcutt did not respond to questions for comment.

Bastrop is growing rapidly, and the candidates agreed that managing new development and making it easy for new businesses to get through the city’s planning and permitting process are top priorities.

“The biggest issues facing our city is managing the growth that is upon us, as well as maintaining and building the public infrastructure to serve our constituents now and into the future,” Nelson said.

Jones said she wants to update the “restrictive and unfriendly” development code that she said has “been a disaster” for businesses trying to build in the city.

“As an appraiser, my first-hand experience with development and my ability to communicate and bring people together and keep things focused. That's one of the main reasons I’m running and one of the big assets I bring to the table,” Jones said.

Jackson also wants to “make our city a more user-friendly city for developers and for the citizens that we represent.” He said Bastrop needs to update its zoning policy and referenced a business that was ready to open but spent a year waiting for approval of its sign.

“Developers have deserted the city of Bastrop because of the process,” Jackson said.

The candidates said Bastrop’s new city manager has taken steps to make it easier for new developments to get through the process. While all three candidates expressed a desire to support the manager in those efforts, they differed on what their next top priorities are for Bastrop.

Jackson wants to focus on “jobs and training” by bringing workforce development facilities such as trade schools and colleges to Bastrop, “so that when new companies decide to come in, we’ll have the workforce that’s already trained and ready to go,” Jackson said.

Jones is focused on expanding Bastrop’s parks and recreation and “implementing road maintenance and drainage” repairs. She said she also wants Bastrop’s historic bridge “renovated and turned into a park,” and believes the public would support a bond to fund it.

Nelson said he is focused on establishing “an open inclusive city government that is responsible for and responsive to all of our citizens,” and named improving infrastructure as a top priority, “including roads, sidewalks, water, wastewater, parks & recreation for all ages, facilities and drainage.”

The candidates each made the case that they are the most qualified candidate and the right candidate to lead the city of Bastrop through this moment.

Jones touted her inside experience as an appraiser and business owner in Bastrop, and the fact that she was not involved in writing the current development code, which she believes has been harmful to business growth.

“We need a leader who understands how to move in the right direction, bring people to the table, implement and follow through on policy that works. That’s me. My background in business and finance makes me the perfect addition to the team,” Jones said.

Nelson also stated his support for the city manager to review the development code and believes his experience sets him apart from the others.

“I am the best candidate because of my experience combined with a result-oriented approach to any issue before us,” Nelson said.

Jackson said that in addition to his experience on the City Council, he has been president of the Texas Municipal League and worked with the National League of Cities.

“My dedication and genuine love of my city, and my commitment to serve the public has prepared me for this position as the top elected official of the city. My desire to serve is sincere and I want to continue to do so,” Jackson said.

Bastrop voters will select their next mayor on May 6. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Early voting continues until May 2.

This article has been updated to correct Dock Jackson's academic credentials.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Meet Bastrop's mayoral candidates