By David Wilfong, North Dallas Gazette Contributing Writer
In 1988 Byron Bradford joined the National Guard as a junior in high school. Finding the military a good fit, he enlisted and ended up serving 28 years in the Army. Now in civilian life, Bradford is looking to translate his experience and skills into a leadership role on the Plano City Council in Place 5.
“I want to continue to be a public servant,” Bradford said. “I looked at what would be a good fit for serving. In the military, I went through a process of following, leading and then mentoring others. So I think that gives me good insight on how to get things done.”
His duties in the military, including time spent as a paratrooper, line up with different aspects of what government administration entails. He began work in logistics, which along with the MBA he later earned, gives him the ability to work with numbers and scheduling. Later in his career, he served as a DOD-certified sexual assault response coordinator, a job requiring both diligence in the investigation and delicate handling of victims and their needs.
“That one is important because I had to be assigned by a general,” Bradford said.
The upcoming municipal elections will not be Bradford’s first go-around in the political arena. During the 2018 election cycle, Bradford challenged Republican Duncan Webb for the Precinct 4 chair on the Collin County Commissioners Court. He fell 5 points short in that bid against an incumbent who had run unopposed twice previously, but says the experience prepared him well for future runs.
“I got 47 percent of the vote really just by knocking on doors and talking to people,” Bradford said. “We didn’t win, but we were able to beat every other benchmark we set in that election. For example, I needed to get 139 signatures to get on the ballot, and I was able to get more than 500 signatures.”
He was also able to garner the support he feels is necessary to move on into the city council race. Running on a platform of transparency, accountability, and integrity; he says his goal is to make the community more a part of the decision-making process. The “hot button” issues in Plano he sees as most pressing currently are property taxes, transportation, and education.
“Two of those are state issues affecting us in Plano,” Bradford said. “We really can’t be proactive on those, we have to be reactive.”
He’s looking to raise awareness among his constituents as to how the process works and how to address such issues on the local level. One of the things he sees a need for is more town hall meetings, which he says he has not seen in the two years he has been in Plano.
Finally, he said veterans issues strike close to home for him, and there are more than 55,000 veterans in Collin County.
“I still get calls today to be a mentor to other veterans,” Bradford said. “I want to create a system to know these vets and their families, so they can know the support is there. Whether it is knowing where the hospital is, or that there is a veteran out there to talk to for suicide prevention or support in cases such as sexual assault.”
Currently, Bradford is facing two opponents in his bid for Place 5 on the Plano City Council. Ron Kelley and Shelby Williams are also on the ballot for the election which will be decided on May 4. First elected in 2015, Kelley currently holds the seat and is Plano’s current Mayor Pro Tem. Williams, an advocate against Plano’s rising taxes, comes to the table with some key endorsements from local GOP officials.
For more information and upcoming events, Bradford can be reached through his campaign website (bradford4plano.com).