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Midland Mayor Candidates Discuss The Future Of The Tall City

The oil boom is affecting many aspects of daily life for Midland residents, from traffic, to the possibility of a 53 story energy tower coming to the downtown area.
MIDLAND -- The oil boom is affecting many aspects of daily life for Midland residents, from traffic, to the possibility of a 53 story energy tower coming to the downtown area.
In this special election edition of the Big 2 Energy Report, we sit down with the five candidates for Midland mayor and ask them what direction the city should take from here on out.
While all five candidates for mayor disagree on a number of issues, all of them agree that less regulations for the companies drilling for oil is the right way to go.
"The biggest thing that government can do as far as making that sort of commerce regular is to just stay out of the way.  Those people are the ones that know what they're doing," Dan Anderson said.
Candidate John James agrees.
"I think what we need to do is to make sure that the permitting process in the city of Midland is not a hindrance to mineral development," James said.
That's something that James says is in place now, and he says it should stay that way.
"When I helped develop the oil and gas ordinance that the city of Midland operates under right now, that was our primary objective, is to make sure we weren't a roadblock to development," James said.
Switching gears, Midland traffic is always a hot topic around town.
One of the downsides of the oil boom is the massive influx of people in the area inevitably lead to more traffic.
Most candidates agree the solution to that problem is public awareness of the issue.
"We as citizens need to be more concerned.  We need to quit texting and being on the phone and driving.  [We need to] Be cautions of those next to us, motorcycle riders," Jerry Morales said.
But candidate Keith McLelland says the roads themselves need to be made better.
"The roads do need to be improved.  They do need to be widened, and the lights need to be timed better.  All these things have to be done," McLelland said.
Another huge issue looming over the candidates hoping to lead the Tall City into the future is the idea of a 53 story energy tower.
"[The] Energy Tower is a private investment group that's willing to invest dollars, create jobs.  They're saying over 10 years the economic impact would be over two billion [dollars]," Morales said.
But McLelland and Anderson strongly oppose the idea of the energy tower with some of the cost coming out of taxpayer pockets.
"I think it's ridiculous," McLelland said.  "There's no real reason to have a building that big in downtown Midland."
Anderson said him and McLelland have become friends over the course of the campaign, thanks to their mutual dislike of the energy tower idea.
"When you get government involved, it hurts the economy, it messes with the way the market interacts, and that's never good," Anderson said.
Kathy White believes just the opposite.
Even though she's a conservative, she'd like the tower to be built by any means, even if the city helps foot the bill.
"I see the new trend of business today being a partnership with the locals, the entrepreneur, the business, the private.  I like that.  I like having a stake in what's going up here," White said.
The vote to elect the next mayor of Midland happens on Tuesday, November 5.
To find out where you can cast your ballot, you can call the Midland County Elections Office at (432) 688 4890.
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