Burleson to elect mayor and three council members Saturday
Mayor Fletcher runs against Ronnie Johnson while Jake Wernette runs against Phil Anderson for city council Place 2
Burleson voters will elect the mayor and three new city council members Saturday.
Incumbent Mayor Chris Fletcher is running against City Councilman Ronnie Johnson while Jake Wernette and Phil Anderson are running for city council Place 2. Larry Scott, Place 4, and Adam Russell, Place 6, are running unopposed.
Thanks for reading The Burleson Buzz! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Fletcher was elected mayor in November 2020. He said he’s running for reelection to finish projects he’s started, but he said he ultimately wouldn’t have run if a qualified candidate would’ve come up.
“He’s [Johnson’s] been on the council for 11 years, but he doesn’t seem to understand the importance of relationships outside the city,” Fletcher said of his opponent.
Fletcher also said he feels indebted to Burleson because of the success he’s had in the city, and he wants the city to continue being a good town for his grandkids to grow up in.
Fletcher credited his first-term success to his city staff, who he said is amazing.
“It’s the people behind you,” Fletcher said. “I know that, and I respect that. I leave them alone to do their job. I didn’t make my money by telling people how to do it. I hired the people that knew how to do it.”
Wernette, a 20-year-old full-time political science student at UT Arlington, said he’s running for city council to better the community, bring an alternative view of local politics to the table and show that young people are capable of getting involved. He said he feels called to be in politics.
Anderson, retired Burleson athletic director, coach and teacher, said he’s running for city council to be a public servant and to continue to make Burleson what it is. He said he wants his grandkids to be proud of Burleson.
Fletcher, Wernette and Anderson said growth is one of the most important issues facing Burleson today.
Wernette pointed to how much Burleson has grown since he moved here in 2016.
Wernette said so many different groups of people moving to Burleson from other states has been a drastic change, and the different communities are bringing a new identity to the city. He pointed to increased crime and pollution as effects of growing “up” by building more apartments.
Wernette said it’s important to remember Burleson is still a small town with people that mix in together.
“The important thing for, not only us as citizens but for us as government officials, us as public servants and everybody in between, business owners, [is] that we can still have a community that is worth creating,” Wernette said. “We have an identity that we can still relate to each other. We can still create a uniform view of what we want for the future.”
That community is what being a Burlesonian is all about, Wernette said.
“51,000 people and we still have a small town feeling,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher said property taxes and traffic on 174 are also important issues for Burleson.
“We have uncertainties with the economy, but we’re still gonna try to reduce our property tax rate, maybe to a historic amount if evaluations keep going up the way they are,” Fletcher said.
Anderson also said traffic flow is an important issue for Burleson but that he needs to learn what issues are facing Burleson by doing the job on city council.
“I will want to know what our future plans are for our infrastructure,” Anderson said.
Wernette said water usage is another one of the main issues he’s noticed. He said we’re going to need a stable water supply for the future if we’re going to continue growing.
Wernette said he wants Burlesonians to know young people are not all brash.
“We’re not all this generic brand of socialism,” Wernette said. “We aren’t all this generic brand of disrespect. Some of us do care about our community. It’s important for us as young people to know that we are going to inherit this community at some point. If we are not willing to put forth the effort to get involved or care about our fellow citizens, then I see no future ahead of us.”
Anderson said it’s good that someone as young as Jake Wernette is running for city council.
“I think youth needs to be in government,” Anderson said.
Wernette said it’s important for young people to be involved in Burleson’s government because they make up such a large percentage of the population. Those under 18 years old made up 29.3% of the population in 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Wernette said he thinks a lot of younger generations are going to start moving to Burleson as well.
“When young people have finally had enough of the high property prices in other states and they’re looking for a stable career for the future terms, a lot younger people are going to be moving here,” Wernette said.
Anderson said he loves students to death, and he described his time teaching and coaching as the experience of a lifetime. He said his time as athletic director was very challenging but very rewarding.
“Not everybody agreed with me, but I don’t expect everybody to agree with me,” Anderson said of his time as athletic director.
Anderson said he wants Burlesonians to know he loves and is very passionate about the city and wants it to continue to thrive. He said his career in education has prepared him for a role in city government because it involved meeting different people and learning from experiences.
Fletcher said he wants Burlesonians to know what’s being posted online about him isn’t true. “If you have a problem, you can talk to me and find out where my heart is,” he said.
“It shouldn’t be this way, but elections are brutal,” Fletcher said.
He’s partly referring to the “Fact Check Fletcher” section of Johnson’s campaign website.
Johnson didn’t respond to multiple requests for an interview.
Scott and Russell declined to be interviewed.
For election information, visit Elections | Burleson, TX - Official Website (burlesontx.com).
What are your thoughts on the election?