Waco Chat

Josh Borderud

By Kevin Tankersley

Waco City Council Member and Baylor Law Professor

“I really hope to continue that economic development focus.”

I hope to continue some of the great work of previous councils, with a real premium on economic development, with a $15-an-hour starting wage and full benefits for jobs like that. The economic development team in Waco brought in a number of large projects that are coming to fruition, so I really hope to continue that economic development focus.

There’s been a big, sustained push for race equity and evaluation, not only in the city’s policies, but also in long-term systemic effects of slavery, segregation and institutional racism. I hope to continue the good work of the council in working toward those goals.

Also I’m a big proponent of neighborhood empowerment. I was the Austin Avenue Neighborhood Association president, and I care deeply about our neighborhoods and them being heard, and the city being responsive.

A lot of hot button issues have been around the commercial development that is encroaching on traditionally residential areas. We’ve seen some of that on Austin Avenue, but also out in West Waco. Also short-term rentals, making sure they are appropriate for the neighborhood where requested.

I think that West Waco, between Hewitt and Woodway, in District 3, is a hot growth area, and I hope to work toward getting a master plan for development, focusing on upgrading those roads and that the city is serving a really booming part of Waco.

At the law school I run three distinct clinical programs.

The Veterans Clinic is a grant-funded program that serves low-income veterans and their spouses. We partner with the Heart of Texas Region MHMR’s Veterans One Stop, where we host monthly legal advice clinics. It’s a way to get law students involved in client counseling. It’s also a pro bono service where we get local lawyers involved in taking on those cases if they meet our income qualifications for further representation.

Another program we run is the Estate Planning Clinic, where we do wills for free for veterans and first responders in McLennan County.

The final is the Trial Advocacy Clinic, where I supervise students going to court. One program is with the 74th District Court, our juvenile court in McLennan County. Students are the court-appointed lawyers for children who are brought into juvenile detention. They get their supervised practice card by the State Bar of Texas, which is kind of like a learner’s permit for lawyers.

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