Josh Borderud, a Baylor Law School official who heads the City Plan Commission, announced his candidacy Wednesday for the District 3 Waco City Council seat, with an endorsement from the sitting councilman.
Borderud is the first to announce for the seat held by John Kinnaird, who has served since 2012 and plans to step down after the May 2 election. The district stretches from the Austin Avenue neighborhood where Borderud lives with his family to the fast-growing area at the Hewitt border.
Borderud, an attorney, has years of experience on local civic and city boards and commissions in addition to the Plan Commission. He serves on the board of trustees of the Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center, as well as the city’s Capital Improvements Advisory Committee and the Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board. He said he became interested in city government when he served on the Animal Welfare Advisory Board from 2012 to 2014.
“During that time, we did some really exciting things,” Borderud said. “We recommended the passage of the spay and neuter microchip ordinance, the city took over the shelter, we recommended the renovation of the shelter and we started working toward ‘no-kill’ status.”
Borderud, a self-described Army brat who moved 10 times before he turned 18, said he found a sense of home and belonging when he moved to Waco to attend Baylor University.
“Waco has been that, for me, my wife and my children,” Borderud said. “It’s been a great pleasure to put down roots in Waco.”
Borderud serves as director of clinical programs for Baylor’s law school, where he supervises law students at the Trial Advocacy Clinic, Estate Planning Clinic and Veterans Clinic.
“I’m hoping to bring a pragmatic approach,” Borderud said. “I’m a prosecutor and a trial lawyer, someone who tries to treat everyone fairly, with respect and courtesy, and I hope to continue to do that on the council.”
As an MHMR board member, he helped secure funding for a veterans court that began operating this week in McLennan County.
“I think that by its nature, MHMR is very collaborative,” Borderud said. “Our board and our new executive director are excited about partnerships with school districts and local governmental entities, and working with the Prosper Waco Behavioral Health Team to solve some long-term vexing problems in terms of the strain mental health issues have on our governments and health providers as well.”
Kinnaird said he trusts Borderud to take his place in May when his term ends.
“He has the experience and knowledge to tackle that head on,” Kinnaird said.
He said in his district, concerns about the rate of growth and development have been at the forefront of people’s minds.
“My neighborhood has faced that,” Kinnaird said. “We need to be proactive and very deliberate in how we address those infrastructure challenges. I think in the next few years, we’re going to need to address that.”
Borderud said the Austin Avenue Neighborhood Association, which he serves on, has voiced concerns about short-term rentals. In West Waco, people are more concerned about rapid development, its impact on roads, and possible changes to zoning in residential areas. He said he wants continue to invest in infrastructure and work closely with businesses.
“I think generally, growth is on people’s minds,” Borderud said. ‘It seems we need to continue to manage that growth well.”