Sunday, October 21, 2007
Plano Mayor Pat Evans strives to see city the best that it can be
"I was immediately "hooked" on politics when I was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission, so I watched them and thought 'I can do that.'"
PLANO Plano Mayor Pat Evans’ first dabble in politics was reporting on the activities of city councilmen and the Planning and Zoning Commission for the American Association of University Women. She was immediately “hooked.”
“I really enjoyed the meetings of the Planning and Zoning Commission, so I watched them and thought ‘I can do that.’, so I applied,” she said. “I was appointed as the token housewife; the rest were professional developers.
“I really enjoyed that work and if I could have been appointed for life, I would have done that.”
She said that in part, that’s the reason she went back to law school, because she wanted to do work in zoning law.
Evans, 64, grew up in Abilene and graduated from Abilene High School in 1961, where she excelled. In 1964, she graduated Magna cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin.
“My husband, Chuck, was attending SMU, and we had dated since we were 15 or 16,” she said. “We missed each other so much that I graduated from UT in three years, so that we could be together.”
According to Evans, when her two older children were in their formative years, she substitute taught in the Richardson ISD.
“By the time I had my third child, it was too expensive to pay for childcare and teach, so I bought a landscape design company and took my youngest child, Amanda, with me on appointments.”
She said that by that time she was settled in Plano and meeting a lot of people, as well as volunteering a lot.
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“When we moved here in1972, there were 17,000 people, and I have watched it grow and participated in its growth to about 255,000 people.”
Because she loves the city so much and because her entire family, including her mother, lives in Plano, she said that she wants the city to be the best that it can be.
“This last term, I let my law license go inactive, because it’s my last term and I’ve found that being mayor is really a fulltime job,” she said. “When I was trying to do my law practice, it [combined mayor and law practice] was too much.”
She wants to spend time with her mom, husband, children and grandchildren, she said.
“I want to give being mayor and my family my all,” she said. “I’m trying to find a good balance.”
She said that in her legal work, she handled children’s cases when they are removed from their home by the Child Protective Services for abuse and neglect and she doesn’t want to do anything halfway.
Florence Shapiro, now state senator, was Plano’s first woman mayor, Evans said, and she is glad to follow in her footsteps.
“When I first became mayor I was excited and had a lot of plans of things that I wanted to do and changes to make,” she said. “I have served two two-year terms and this term, my last, is for the new three-year term.”
Evans said that she most enjoys working out solutions to difficult problems.
“I really like working on policy, and am going to miss that a lot,” she said “’Who’s going to talk to me about clean air?’
“When we [council] finally solve problems or have a breakthrough, that’s really exciting and stimulating.”
She also loves the variety and the great, dedicated people whom she works with, she said.
“I wouldn’t have encountered the variety of all races and backgrounds in any other way,” she said.
But she also said that sometimes you encounter negative people, those who are against everything, but don’t want to discuss a solution.
“There’s really no way to talk things out with those kinds of people,” she said.
The mayor doesn’t receive a salary, she said, but does receive a $1,000 per month, after taxes - $520, stipend which covers gas, fax machine, and home and cell phones.
Evans said that her husband, Chuck, a stockbroker, doesn’t feel overshadowed.
“He [Chuck] has a great sense of humor and is happy for me to be in the limelight,” she said. “He’s a very unselfish man, and I absolutely couldn’t do it without him.”
Harry LaRosiliere, councilman, Place 5, has known Evans for over 10 years, throughout the course of his community service.
“Pat’s willingness to serve her community as a whole, with no personal agenda on her part, is outstanding,” said LaRosiliere. “I have found her to be a tireless, effective, and strong leader.”
Evans and her husband, Chuck, have been married 43 years and have three children, Andy, 40, Emily, 37, Amanda, 34, and five grandchildren, ranging in ages from eight to 13.
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