Mary Ellen Summerlin filed papers at City Hall Wednesday to be a candidate for Place 1 in this year’s city council election.
“I have been very well pleased with the work of the council since the end of my appointed term in 2018, but, when I understood that Gary did not intend to seek re-election, I wanted to make sure that his attitude of collegiality and common-sense policy making was represented in the next election. Having a smooth-running council is part of the foundation to the excellent results we’ve seen in recent years toward making our town the best in Texas,” Summerlin said.
Summerlin was born and raised in Iowa, educated at Abilene Christian College (now University) in Texas, and has lived in Texas most of her adult life, Montgomery for one year, Port Arthur for 21 years, and Kerrville for 21 years. She and her husband of 52 years, Tim, moved to Kerrville in 1999 as he took the position of academic vice-president at Schreiner University. He went on to serve as president beginning in 2001 and retired in 2017.
Summerlin first managed the Riverside Nature Center, then served as a tutor for students with learning disabilities at Schreiner and found other volunteer opportunities such as the city’s Home Advisory Board, Habitat for Humanity, and First Presbyterian Church Kerrville including service at all levels of the denomination.
Summerlin’s interest in local politics began in 1980 when she was elected to the Board of Aldermen of the Town of Griffing Park (pop. 1,000). Since then she’s served on the city council of Port Arthur, been elected twice as mayor of Port Arthur, and earned a master’s degree in Public Administration. In Kerrville she was elected to two terms on the Headwaters Groundwater Conservation District (2004 and 2008) and appointed to finish the city council term of Gary Stork in 2016.
Summerlin says that her service in elected office has been some of the most satisfying work of her life. “For me politics is about helping groups of people make good decisions for their joint future. I believe we make the best lives for ourselves when we work together, including everyone, for the community that comes as close as we can to the ideals of our American heritage.”