An open letter to my neighbors and friends, the citizens of Leander.


Hey there,

This is a long one, but please bear with me, I think it's important.

As you probably already know, early voting has started for the Mayoral Runoff election. I hope you will take the time to stop by city hall and cast your vote.

I don’t think I’m over exaggerating when I say that this might be one of the most important elections Leander has ever seen. 


I am supporting Vic, and I hope you will also consider doing so.

Leander has been “just a suburb” for a long time, but with the massive growth we’ve experienced over the past decade, and with Cedar Park nearing full buildout there is little chance that we can remain that way. 

What does that mean? I think it means that we have to – right this moment – decide the kind of city we want to be 50 years from now. You don’t get very many bites at that apple.

I have been heavily involved with Leander government for the past three years. Between Planning & Zoning and City Council meetings and other events, Hazel thinks I have an extra job. I may not be the authority, but I do think I have a pretty good handle on what’s going on with our city.

All of this has convinced me that I want Leander to think to the future, I want us to play the long game. I want us to build a place that isn’t just another suburb, I want us to have the true feeling of a community, where we are all valued and can all provide a little of ourselves to contribute to a better whole. I want a place that we can be proud of, a place in which our children and grandchildren will want to live and work. Like me, I imagine you would love to have somewhere to shop a little closer, or maybe a theater you can catch a movie at just a couple of miles away or some other perfect little business that would just make being here better.

To that point then, let me be totally honest with you. It doesn’t matter who gets elected all of those things are right on the horizon, despite what you might have heard otherwise. It’s coming and its coming soon.

So what does this race really come down to then?

Honesty and Leadership.

Troy Hill’s entire campaign promise centers around bringing you every good thing you’ve ever wanted and doing it right this second. According to him the city is broken and only he can fix it.

He is lying to all of us. Troy has been unsuccessful at doing much of anything on council simply because he’s not a nice person to interact with. And local government is all about interacting with people. It’s about interacting with the staff of our city, with the residents of our city, with the stakeholders in our community. Troy can smile and tell you what you want to hear when he doesn’t think you will be around to check him on it, but he can’t accomplish anything when it counts because every professional person I’ve met who’s interacted with him can’t stand him.

Vic Villarreal is a genuinely nice guy. What you see is what you get when you meet him.

He’s also got a couple of decades of policy experience, he’s managed the entirety of the Austin Community College system, he’s a father, and husband, he’s a committed member of our community.

But I come back to this, he’s a nice guy. And after being involved in local government for all these years I seriously think that is the number one quality you need to be a great mayor.  

Why? Because it’s not a solo job. You’ve got to listen to everyone, and make sure they know that you value and respect their opinions and expertise. Agreement isn’t required, but kindness and decency is.

Local elections in most ways mean even more than who gets elected president, because everything that happens at city hall truly will have an effect on every citizen of Leander. The decisions that get made down at Pat Bryson Hall will change the way you and I live our lives, whether it’s a pothole getting filled, or making sure that we have homes that will suit your aging parents when they move closer to you and your family, or ensuring that the parks are filled with activities for everyone – these elections affect you in more ways than most of us can count. Let’s make the right choice, right now.

Make a note, and tell your family and friends that early voting is already taking place and election day is June 16th.

Here's the info. It will seriously take you 10 minutes or less in and out. There’s never a line. 

Let’s do right by Leander and elect Vic Villarreal, someone who cares about it as much as you and I do.

Marshall Hines