Spotlight on Keely Briggs

By Centrist Project on February 07, 2018

SPOTLIGHT ON AN INDEPENDENT: Keely Briggs

As a result of the growing dissatisfaction with the major parties, passionate Americans all across the country are stepping up to run for office as an independent. Among these independent candidates is Keely Briggs.

Keely Briggs is running as an independent in Texas's Senate district 30. She is currently serving her second term as a city council member in the City of Denton, where she takes a hands on approach to citizen representation and advocating for common sense policies. Keely can be found volunteering in local schools where she serves on the PTSA Boards at a local high school and a middle school.

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What’s the best part of being an independent candidate?

I really enjoy talking to people about a different approach to representative government.   Most people I meet with are very receptive to the idea of independent candidates and busting up the two-party stranglehold on our government and politics. There are also a number of people who assume that if you aren’t flying their party’s flag, then you are the enemy. I don’t walk away from those people – I step in and engage.  Once you break down the political silos and start talking through the issues, you find a lot of people who are smart, thoughtful, and very capable of having constructive conversations about the challenges and opportunities facing the State of Texas.   It gives me hope and strength to see first-hand that our nation is not quite as divided as the political parties and the media would have us to believe.

What are the core principle(s) you use as an independent?

Humble servant leadership.  From day one as an elected official serving a city of nearly 150,000 people, I knew that my job was to represent everyone, not just the people that elected me.  You just can’t represent your constituency effectively if you leave half of them behind because they think differently than you do.   You have to engage people.  You have to listen and communicate.  And you can’t ever forget that everyone has value, deserves respect, and deserves to be treated with civility and dignity.   You don’t have to agree, but you have to communicate.

Why did you leave your party?

Throughout my time as an elected official in Texas, I have served in a non-partisan office.  Throughout my life as a voter, I have voted for the person I thought best suited for the job, no matter the party.   Making the decision to run as an independent for Texas Senate was a natural fit – I am not a member of a party.

Why do you think we need to elect more centrist independents today?

The extremes of the left and right are strategically moving their goalposts further and further away from the middle and toward the extremes.  I don’t think that the majority of our population is going to continue to allow itself to be stretched and sorted into one of these two political buckets and their all or nothing platforms.  It is getting harder and harder for a majority of American voters to buy into this dynamic.  As voters, we are hungry for something more.  If voters continue to see qualified and viable centrist independent candidates step up and challenge the status quo, I think they are going to like what they see, and they may just find themselves in the actual growing majority.

Why did you decide to run for office?

I decided to run for the Texas Senate because I have watched our legislature, session after session, attack local control.  Local control used to be a hallmark of conservatives, leaving people the freedom at the local level to make decisions that were right for their community.  Our leaders are choosing to ignore the fact that Texas is diverse in geography, population density, and culture.  I believe that the government that is closest to the people – our cities, school districts, and counties - works best for the people.

What is your favorite memory from your time as a public servant?

One night stands out.  There was a neighborhood of older affordable homes that was poised to be lost to eminent domain to make room for a power substation.   Going into the voting that night, it didn’t look like we were going to have enough votes on council to save the neighborhood.  Through deliberations and a strong turnout from the neighborhood and fellow citizens, I watched the government turn itself around from a decision that looked good on paper, but would wreak havoc on our people.  The look of relief on the faces of the residents and property owners in that room stays with me.  They were able to wield their influence and make a difference.  They were able to appeal to reason and get their representatives to listen and engage.  That is what it is all about – on any level of government.   And in the end, we were able to find a better solution for locating that substation without displacing families.

What is one Democratic solution to a key public policy issue you agree with?

I appreciate that the Democratic Party acknowledges the profound impact that climate change will have on our society as we move forward and that they tend to advocate for the adoption of renewable energy resources and infrastructure.

What is one Republican solution a key public policy issue agree with?

Keeping government small, focused, efficient, and accountable.

What is the greatest threat facing your state neither party is willing to address?

Human sex and labor trafficking is a bigger problem than either party wants to admit or honestly and aggressively address.  We have a hard time paying the issue little more than lip service and recognizing that this is a humanitarian crisis.  We need to put more resources toward cracking down on sex trafficking and we need to crack down on employers who deal in trafficked labor.

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