The race to replace outgoing Director John McMullan on The Woodlands Township Board of Directors has three candidates after local real estate agent and 22-year township resident Rashmi Gupta filed candidate papers Aug. 9.

Gupta, who has been very active in various community events and charities, as well as at the Hindu Temple of The Woodlands, said after raising three children as a single mother, she wants to, “Give back to the community that supported me for the past 22 years.”

Also vying for the Position 5 seat with Gupta are Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, a former member of the Houston City Council who has lived in The Woodlands less than two years, and Walter Cooke, a local attorney and U.S. Army veteran who has been active in community groups for several decades.

“I believe in diversity and want to bridge the communities of the Woodlands together and provide a voice for all residents. I want to help create a more involved community by promoting honesty and candidness in the processes of the Township government, especially as we consider the issue of incorporation,” Gupta wrote in an email to The Villager. “As a long-time resident of The Woodlands, but also an immigrant, I feel I provide a unique perspective that the other candidates for this seat do not. Also, as a Realtor, I have spent my career listening to the needs of my clients who live here in the Woodlands and hearing what is important to them about this community.”

Gupta moved to the United States in 1991 and has resided in The Woodlands since 1998. She raised her three children in the community and said she was active in their lives, especially during their time at The Woodlands High School, where she volunteered with various sports teams. Gupta has degree in business from Delhi University-Jesus and Mary College. She has been a licensed real estate agent since 2001, working first with Keller Williams and currently at First Millenium.

As for township issues, Gupta said the three biggest issues facing residents that she intends to prioritize are incorporation, flooding issues and lowering teen suicide rates. She also said she has not made a decision on whether or not she would vote for or against placing an incorporation question on the ballot for residents in 2020 or later.

“(Incorporation) Is front and center of everyone’s minds right now. The residents deserve a Board of Directors who will present all consequences of incorporation, both positive and negative, so they can make the most informed decision possible,” Gupta explained. “It’s premature to form an opinion on it right now. There needs to be more research and data driven studies completed before The Woodlands can make a proper decision. I am waiting for the final study by our consultants. My motto is: Never make permanent decisions based on temporary feelings.”

In regard to flooding issues and storm drainage mitigation, Gupta said township directors and officials must work together in collaboration with area municipal utility districts and various counties and other experts on the issue, striving to create a flood mitigation plan as well as consider infrastructure improvements and repairs if needed.

As for the rise in suicide rates in The Woodlands and Montgomery County, Gupta said the issue is of vital importance and residents must find solutions.

“The rising suicide statistics are concerning, and as a parent of three young adults, this issue is near to my heart,” she added. “I will use my position on the Board to pursue programs and community resources that address this issue and can provide help to our young residents who are struggling with bullying and mental illness.”

As for why voters should choose her over other candidates, Gupta said she is, “experienced, motivated, and results driven.”

“I, like my fellow Woodlands community members, care about this place I call home. I believe that I am the best candidate for this board seat because I will represent the residents and not the special interests,” Gupta said. “I have dedicated my time to serving the people and doing right by them. I have worked with honesty and integrity. If I am elected, I can promise that my 22 years of work ethic will show and my dedication to the people will be my priority.”

The township election is Tuesday, Nov. 5. The filing deadline for candidates is Monday, Aug. 19, however anyone seeking to be a write-in candidate has until 5 p.m., Aug. 23, to file papers.

jeff.forward@chron.com

Original Article from: https://www.yourconroenews.com/neighborhood/woodlands/news/article/Real-estate-agent-Rashmi-Gupta-announces-bid-for-14306765.php