My maiden name was "Bloom" and I grew up in College Station. I was in the travel industry for nearly thirty years, living in various cities around the country, and traveling all over the world. I started out with Hilton Hotels and then crossed over to the Convention and Visitors Bureau side of the hospitality industry.
I married my high school sweetheart, Russ after being apart for 40+ years and when we retired, we moved back to our hometown and renovated my childhood home. Sadly, he passed away very unexpectedly seven years ago.
I have a successful online store - the Texas Trading Post - Fun Texas Stuff - where we sell everything Texas...Texas gifts, home decor, apparel, corporate and VIP gifts, etc, and Texans around the world order from us. We've been voted Best of the Brazos Valley for "Exclusively Online Shopping" since 2011 and I was just notified by Bryan Broadcasting that we won again this year (thanks so much to everyone who voted for the Texas Trading Post). We're members of the B/CS Chamber of Commerce, Go Texan, TrulyTexan Marketplace and we maintain an A+ rating with our Better Business Bureau.
Since my very first campaign (when I ran against an incumbent, garnering 43% of the votes), I have been consistent: I will continue to support planned, balanced and sustainable growth in all areas of our city, ensuring that the quality of life for our residents remains a top priority. With the COVID-19 Pandemic, this is even more critical. I will also continue to support our developers/builders/realtors in their efforts to generate positive projects that benefits our city.
Now, more than ever, we, as a City Council are going to have to be absolutely diligent in where our money is being spent. We have some hard decisions to make, but we’re also asking our residents and businesses to make hard decisions as well. There is little wiggle room on this subject and I am committed to doing what we need to do to bring ourselves out of this financial crisis together - hopefully sooner rather than later as everything seems to be hinging on COVID-19 and “what’s next?” It’s not going to happen overnight but I’m prepared to ask those questions and make those decisions as we move forward into 2021.
I will continue to be a voice for neighborhood integrity for our existing neighborhoods. As our City continues to grow, we cannot leave our older neighborhoods behind...I have been saying that from the “get-go. As new developments are built, the definition of “older neighborhoods” continues to expand across our city. I think our developers/builders community is doing an excellent job in working with our Economic Development Department in creating new business potential for the City of College Station.
In my commitment to neighborhood integrity, in August of 2019, I brought up the issue of Short Term Rentals, their impact on our neighborhoods and since they serve as hotels/motels/B&B’s, their lack of collecting Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT), not to mention that there was NO regulation on the health and safety of the STR’s guests. There was no provision for fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, contact information, etc....everything that would be needed in case of an emergency. I am very proud that the City Council unanimously passed a regulation for the Short Term Rentals. In addition, the owners/project managers/investors, etc., will now be collecting HOT from the guests which will go towards our CVB promoting the City of College Station as a destination for visitors, conventions, sporting events, reunions, etc. just as if they were staying in one of our hotels.
Several years ago, I realized that the Planning & Zoning Commission meetings were not being televised on our College Station TV Channel 19. When I asked “why,” I was told that the P&Z Commissioners did not want their meetings televised. I continued to ask “why” and “why not.” I believe in total transparency and the P&Z meetings are now being televised on Channel 19. I feel this service is important to our developers and to our residents who want to know what’s going on within the city when it comes to development.
More and more pressure is being put on Code Enforcement - in fairness to the Department and to our residents, we need to maintain a pro-active ratio so they can address the issues our residents are reporting. With limited resources, those issues cannot be addressed or resolved.
We need to ensure that as the City grows, we hire Police Officers and First Responders to keep up with that growth. We cannot spread ourselves so thin that the safety and well-being of our residents and businesses are in jeopardy. And somewhere down the road, the citizens and the City of College Station are going to have to pursue a conversation about Fire Station 7 in the Wellborn area for the safety of our citizens and commercial establishments.
I served in the Hospitality Industry for 30 years. The first ten years were spent with Hilton Hotels and the next 20 years I worked in the Convention & Visitors Bureau industry around the country. As the Experience Bryan/College Station (EBCS) transitions over under Economic Development and the City of College Station, positive communication is going to be crucial.
I served in an Executive Capacity with CVB’s in Lubbock, Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas, Denver, Colorado and Palm Springs, California. As a generous portion of our revenue comes from HOT (Hotel Occupancy Taxes), I will be able to provide experienced and balanced insight to the City Council and City Manager’s Office, especially when it’s related to encouraging visitors to College Station and to develop a Regional Marketing Plan. HOT funds are used to promote our city as a destination for visitors, conferences, conventions, family reunion, sporting events....everything that brings visitors to our community to fill our hotels, restaurants, retail stores...even our gas stations.
- I am the Co-Chair for the Brazos Valley’s BCS Operation Restart - a task force that was created to assist economic recovery during the COVID-19 Pandemic and at helping business owners safely begin reopening their doors to customers.
- I started my volunteer involvement with the City of College Station as an appointee to the Historic Preservation Committee over ten years ago. I served as Chairperson of the City’s 75th Anniversary Celebration in 2013 and I am still involved with the HPC - this time as the City Council liaison.
- Architectural Advisory Committee
- Chairperson - Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenways Committee
- Chairperson - Transportation and Mobility Committee
- Bio-Corridor Committee
- Audit Committee
- Brazos County Health Board of Directors - this has been crucial during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Experience Bryan/College Station Board of Directors
- Brazos Valley Hospitality Association - Ex Officio Member
- Member – BCS Chamber of Commerce
- Member – Better Business Bureau (A+ Rating)
- Member - GoTexan
- Member of the College Station Noon Lions Club
- Vice President College Station Citizens Fire Academy Alumni Association (CFAAA)
- Past Past President College Station Police Department’s Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association (CPAAA)
- Past Board Member – Museum of the American G.I.
- I volunteer with the College Station Fire Department on their Community Action Response Team (CART) – my team is called out to help those residents who have been displaced by a fire and we’re on call a month at a time, 24/7
- Appointed to CIP 2015 Bond Citizen Advisory Committee - Transportation
- Appointed to City’s Construction Board of Adjustments & Appeals - elected Chairperson
- Appointed as Alternate to City’s Zoning Board of Adjustment
- Served on the BCS Sister Cities Board of Directors – co-chaired the first Historic Home Tour with Karin Loftin, at that time, her husband was the President of Texas A&M University
- Volunteer and Certified Food Handler – Bryan College Station Salvation Army
- Member of Brazos Valley Council of Governments CERT – Certified Emergency Response Team for search and rescue, Amber Alerts, etc.
- Received Certification: CISM - Brazos Valley Certified in Group Crisis Intervention and Individual Crisis Intervention and Peer Support
- Received Certification - BVCART - Brazos Valley Child Abduction Response Team - Spontaneous Volunteer Management Training (for missing child incidents)
- Received Certification - Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services, Ministry of Presence and Safe from Harm programs
- Received Certification - Brazos Valley Small Animal Disaster Rescue Training
- Received Certification - National Weather Service Skywarn Spotter
- Member of Brazos County Texas A&M Club
- Member – Brazos Valley Republican Club (the city council seat is non-partisan).
- Member – Ladies Auxiliary American Legion Post 159 - my Dad was career Army, serving in WWII and the Korean War and my late husband was a VietNam Veteran - serving in one of the very first LRRP Units.
- For the past two years, the City Council has unanimously voted me to serve as your Mayor Pro Tem.
- For the past three years, in The Eagle’s Reader’s Choice Awards, I have been selected as one of the “Top 3 Best Local Servant/Elected Official” in the Brazos Valley.
- I’ve been recognized as an Honoree in the Prenatal Clinic’s 2020 “You’re the Tops” award, for my service to my community and as an elected official.
- Received 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award from the College Station Fire Department’s Citizens Fire Academy Alumni Association (CFAAA).
- Responsible for getting the soccer nets put back in Anderson Park. The Parks Department removed them and through my advocacy, along with some of our college students, they replaced the nets so our young residents could once again play soccer on the fields at Anderson Park.
- Y.O. Ranch Hilton, Kerrville, Texas, Director of Sales, 1984–1994 - also represented the Y.O. Ranch in Mountain Home, Texas 1984 – 1994
- Sunday House, Kerrville, Texas, General Manager, 1994–1995
- Denver (Colorado) Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, Vice President of Tourism, 1995-2000
- Lubbock Convention and Visitors Bureau, Executive Director, 2000–2001
- Palm Springs (California) Bureau of Tourism, Executive Director, 2001–2005
- Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau, Director of Tourism, 2005 – 2007
- Elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Tour Association, representing all member CVB’s across the United States and Canada.
- Served on the Executive Board of the National Tour Association, representing all member CVB’s across the United States and Canada (around 600 agencies).
- Chairperson – Annual Convention of the National Tour Association, Los Angeles, California (approximately 5,000 tourism professionals in attendance)
- 2008 - Present - Owner/CEO Texas Trading Post-Fun Texas Stuff - the largest online store for Texas gifts and decor on the internet
- Attended Texas A&M University 1966 – 1969 (Studied English and Theater Arts)
- Attended Southwest Texas State University – 1965 – 1966 (Studied Special Education)
- Attended A&M Consolidated 1953 - 1965
- Certified Tourism Professional Certification (CTP) – Purdue University - First Woman in the State of Texas to receive this certification (three year certification program)
- Certified Tourism Industry Specialist (CTIS) – Indiana State University - First person in the State of Colorado to receive this certification (two year certification program)