Meet Stephenville City Council Candidate Russ McDanel

Photo provided by Russ McDanel

Rachel Snyder

STEPHENVILLE (March 25, 2018)- This article is part of a series on Stephenville City Council candidates. All interviewees were asked the same questions except questions based on if they had been a city council member before, and the interviews will be presented in Q and A format.

Q: When and for how long were you a city council member?

A: I was first elected in 2008 and served until 2016.

Q: Why are you running for city council?

A: I have chosen to run again because I feel that it’s important to keep the council with the majority of conservative thinkers, and I had a large number of the people that encouraged me to run for city council place eight at this time. There is also a need for budget constraints and work toward lowering the property taxes on the citizens. With my previous experience, I believe that I can be helpful in that area. Another reason that I chose to run is because we have a new incoming mayor, Doug Svien, and I served with Doug for five years. I support his efforts in city government.

Q: What are the duties of a city council member?

A: The duties of the council members are to set policy and procedure for city government, to oversee the implementation of operations conducted by city staff and employees. One of the major duties is the annual city budget deliberations that occur each summer and from those budget deliberations each September the mayor and council vote on the new tax rate as well as approving the budget. The city council also has duties of long-term planning, promoting the city attractions to visitors as well as potential new businesses that might be looking at Stephenville. The city council also has the task of appointing members of the planning and zoning commission, park and recreation board, as well as other boards and commissions.

Q: What are your qualifications for this position?

A: My qualifications for the position that I am seeking include prior council experience, which means there will be no learning curve for me. I have been a resident of Stephenville for 48 years. I am a product of this community from being an SHS graduate as well as a Tarleton graduate. I am a small business owner. I am a 2016 graduate of Leadership Stephenville and also a graduate of the Citizens Police Academy. I have experience in annual city budgeting as well as long-term planning. I believe the people are looking for someone who is fiscally conservative to fill this seat. I am a staunch conservative Republican but will equally represent all the citizens of the community.

Q: How do you view the pay scale for the city council?

A: The pay scale of the city council currently is low at $200 a month. I have not done research to compare with what other towns of comparable size pay their city council members. It is a passion of mine to be in public service, and I am not doing it for the pay. Sometimes it is hard to find candidates willing to serve due to the small remuneration of council members’ time and energy.

Q: If elected, what will your number one priority be?

A: My number one priority is property tax relief for the citizens as well as increased road and street improvement. Some people might think you can’t do both, but, if you are able to increase revenues and eliminate nonpriority spending, both can be accomplished.

Q: Are you conservative or a liberal?

A: I am a staunch conservative Republican and have been since a teenager when I served as a page at the Texas State Republican Convention.

Q: In the last state primary where there was a Democrat and Republican primary, which did you vote in?

A: I always vote in the Republican primary. I believe in the state Republican platform.

Q: Rank the following levels of government from most to least important: national, state, county and local.

A: I believe that they are all equally important. At the local grassroots level, citizens step up to serve on city councils and school boards. On the county level, candidates are elected to serve a larger population. On the state and national level, our elected representatives are further from the citizens that they serve even though the legislation that they pass is more widespread in the number of people that it affects.

Q: What is your opinion of the recent Texas law change from a conceal and carry license to a license to carry?

A: I am fine with the change in the law. I have no problem with it. I believe that citizens that carry that are trained to use their firearm increase the safety of the community.

Q: What should the City of Stephenville’s relationship to Tarleton State University be?

A: I believe the citizens of the community benefit through cost savings and cooperation whenever the city and the university work mutually together on common goals. I believe the greater good is accomplished when the city is able to partner with the county, the SISD, as well as nonprofit community groups.

Q: What is your career?

A: Before I retired, I had a 26-year career as a letter carrier with USPS, the post office, where I learned to listen to the people on a daily basis.

Q: What is your degree in and where from?

A: Business administration from Tarleton State University

Q: How long have you lived in Stephenville? Do you own property in Stephenville?

A: 48 years. Yes, I own my personal residence and some rental property.

Q: What is your view on current property taxes?

A: I believe that the current tax rate is fair in comparison to other cities our size. But through cost-cutting of nonpriority spending, I believe that it can be lowered without cutting services to the citizens.

Q: Tell us about your family.

A: I have three children. My youngest daughter, Shawna, is 28. My son, Jay, is 30. My oldest daughter, Lashay, is 32 years old. Both of my daughters are married, and I have one grandson. Everett is two now, and he is my bundle of joy. I’m very proud of the people that [my kids] have become.

Q: How are you involved in the community?

A: I am involved in the community as a member of the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council and the Erath County Republican Party. I attend fundraisers for the Twentieth Century Club. I donate to the local American Legion Post. I’ve gone to a lot of charity events. In previous years, I have been involved with Little League coaching. I have been a member of the Stephenville Optimist Club, the Rotary Club and am a current member of Friends of the Library. Last year I worked tirelessly in the group Citizens Against Ranger Tax Annexation with financial donations and donations of my labor, putting up CARTA signs all over the county, I had red CARTA signs on my pickup truck, as well as passing out informational signs for CARTA. I’ve been a financial supporter of the historic museum grounds. It’s been two or three years, but I donated $500 to them.



  1. I too am a conservative Republican. I was a delegate to the State Republican Convention for Erath County. I also happen to be transgender. That fact is the sole cause for Russ McDanel to refer to me as a faggot. He wont have my vote. He wont represent me or people like me.

    • Russ has since apologized and I accepted his apology. I think it takes a big man to not only to admit he was wrong but also humble himself and ask for forgiveness.My vote will be cast for Russ.

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