Meet the candidate: Gott to focus on future growth if reelected

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Janet Gott

Mayor Janet Gott hopes that Denison voters will give her another three years in the top seat in city government. Gott announced earlier this year that she will be running for a second term as Mayor of Denison when voters hit the polls on May 1.

Gott will face off against challengers Albert Gilberti and Matt Blackshear, who have both filed to run against her in the spring election.

Gott is a native of Denison and graduated from Denison High School. Later in life, Gott attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University where she received a degree in industrial management. Gott would return to school to study industrial engineering.

Gott started her 36-year career in manufacturing working at Denison's Manville plant. Gott, who worked for JM for 13 years, was one of a small handful of employees who stayed with the company after it closed the Denison facility in the 1980s.

Gott would later join BAG Corp. and worked there until her retirement in 2010. During that time, Gott oversaw the opening of several global manufacturing plans and ultimately retired as vice president of global operations.

Gott started her second career in politics and Denison civics when she was appointed to the city's Planning and Zoning commission. Her political career started when she successfully ran for city council in 2013. Gott held her seat for five years until she stepped down from her seat in order to run for Mayor following the end of Jared Johnson's tenure in the seat. Due to the length of time remaining in her term, Gott was able to remain on the council through the election.

Gott said the ongoing growth in the community is what led her to seek reelection for a second term. She has had a front-row seat to the recent growth through her work on the council and as mayor and would like to continue to lead Denison through the ongoing boom, she said.

"We are in a great time in our city. We are moving forward and there are so many great opportunities for growth," Gott said. "Our vision in Denison is to become to community of choice in North Texas. To do that, we have to provide the quality of life people expect to find in a community of choice. We have a forward momentum and I don't want to see that stop."

This future growth is also what got would like to focus on in her second term. In recent years, the city conducted a capital improvements study and wastewater plan and wastewater master plan to determine the future needs of the city. The plan found $123 million of expenses that would be needed in the water system to support the expected growth. Since 2014, the city has invested $30 million to meet these needs. The city is expected to issue an additional $14 million in 2021 for water and sewer capital improvements.

"What we know is that we have old infrastructure — this is an old city. We've gone through tough times and I think you could safely say we didn't have the money to do those things," Gott said. "Now, since 2014, we've been addressing those things in a very well thought out, deliberate manner."

Outside of water utilities, Gott said another major infrastructure project will be a continued focus in her second term. Crews recently broke ground on the Designing Downtown Denison Project, a large-scale remodel of Main Street to make the street and surrounding areas more pedestrian accessible and promote redevelopment in the city's core. Gott said she would like to continue to guide this project.

Another focus will be on creation a succession plan for city leadership. This comes after the departure of city manager Judd Rex, who left city leadership late last year for other job prospects.