The Kyle Report is an opinion column written by Kyle resident, Pete Oppel, that covers city leadership issues. You can follow The Kyle Report here on the Kyle Life or by subscribing to Mr. Oppel’s blog, The Kyle TX Report.
The two most senior members of the Kyle City Council – District 2 mainstay Becky Selbera, the longest-serving council member in the city’s history, and District 4 stalwart David Wilson – individually revealed Tuesday they would not seek re-election.
Selbera’s decision caps a council career of more than 15 years that began when she was first elected in May of 2002 to represent the area of Kyle where she was born and raised.. Wilson joined her on the council in 2007. Wilson made his revelation before Tuesday’s council meeting and Selbera made public her decision immediately after the meeting adjourned.
“After a great deal of thought and prayer, and with a great deal of regret, I have decided not to seek re-election this November,” Selbera said in statement she apparently composed during the council’s session. “It was incredibly difficult choice, but one that I feel comfortable about. I love my city and I look forward to our great future.”
In public, during council meetings, Selbera came across as the quietest, gentlest person on the dais. But many of her colleagues have told me that in closed, executive sessions, there was no one more lucid, more clear-headed or as influential as the District 2 councilperson. “People generally don’t get to test what their convictions are,” Selbera said in her statement. “I did get to test mine and I am proud of how I handled it. And I think that we have changed our city in a positive way.”
It could also be argued that no one suffered, yet withstood, the slings and arrows of criticism from a small cadre of vocal citizens more than Selbera, something she alluded to in her statement. “As a city council woman I have taken a few blows over the years, but I have bounced back. I have come to accept the triumphs and pains that come with the grind of politics.”
She said she was proud of many of the accomplishments she “and my colleagues” achieved during her years on the council including Kyle’s very first swimming pool, the construction of City Hall, the south and east side fire stations, the H-E-B, the Seton complex and all the new infrastructure that has finally come to the historically neglected south side of town.
“I leave knowing that the city is headed in the right direction and is ready to embrace the exciting changes ahead,” she said.
At the same time, however, she indicated she will not retreat completely from public life.
“I leave knowing that my relationship with the city staff and that my work on behalf of the city is far from over,” she said. “I have no doubt that I will continue to serve my community as a private citizen, and influence the next generation of leaders. I have found service to my district and all the city’s residents to be the most satisfying and richest experience if my life and I will always be appreciative of my constituents and the City of Kyle for the opportunity to serve.”
Wilson said that during his tenure on the council, Kyle has “evolved from a sleepy little railroad and ranching community into a community with robust medical services, educational opportunity and quality retail services.”
He also predicted even more dynamic changes are close at hand. “The future is very bright for Kyle,” he said., “We have laid the groundwork for Kyle to be a destination and grow the business community. Jobs and business opportunities for our citizens are coming in the near future.”
Wilson also added that “there will always be challenges which need to continue to be addressed” and that he wanted “to encourage Kyle citizens to serve the City of Kyle on the City Council” to meet those challenges, adding “we need to continue the forward thinking and planning we now enjoy.”
“I am invested in the community,” Wilson concluded, “and will enjoy watching as a new City Council continues to move the city forward in a positive direction.”
Three city council positions were up for grabs in the Nov. 7 elections and Wilson’s and Selbera’s announcements guarantee that all three will have new occupants. Mayor Todd Webster announced back on July 8 that he would not seek a second term.