Matt Rains’ vision as mayor: Diversify, beautify and unify
There are three city commission positions that are being contested in the May 1, 2020 general/special election for the City of Pampa. Mayor, Ward 1 and Ward 4 are the seats up for grabs this spring.
The Pampa News will introduce you to each of the candidates in the coming weeks, starting with the candidates running for Mayor: Matt Rains and Lance DeFever.
Matt Rains is not a stranger to the City Commission, having served as a Commissioner for Ward 2 for three years before stepping down to run as mayor.
“I’ve served the past three years as commissioner for Ward 2. I developed a passion for Pampa at an early age. I have always wanted to serve our city,” Rains said.
“I had a desire to help Pampa in any way as I could. I’ve enjoyed my experience as Commissioner and when (current mayor) Brad Pingel decided not to see re-election, I felt like it was a good opportunity for me to take the next step.”
Rains feels like that despite the global pandemic the last year, Pampa is poised to go to the next level as a city.
“I realize there are a lot of families hurting and struggling and there are a lot of businesses that have been affected and are struggling due to COVID,” Rains said.
“But behind the scenes, there has been a lot of interest in Pampa for the last six months from new businesses. They are looking to come to Pampa that one might not have expected given the situation we are in. My hope is that these new opportunities will be a life line for those who may be unemployed.”
Rains added the Pampa Economic Development Commission has been doing a great job trying to draw interest to Pampa.
Rains added the city needs some diversification in its economy.
“We’ve relied for many years on the oil/gas industry and historically it’s done great things for our economy and has provided a good living for many of our citizens,” Rains said. “That industry has obviously declined. There’s a real need to diversify our economy and bring in different types of industry to our community.”
Because of that Rains believes in the next four years, the mayor will play a critical role for the city.
“It’s going to take a very aggressive and forward thinking leader to move Pampa forward,” Rains said. “The slogan for my campaign is ‘Focused on Pampa’s future.’ I’m very focused on the future and passionate about the untapped potential that our community has.”
Rains added he will do everything he can to encourage and support the EDC and local business people to expand or grow their business. “We have a very real opportunity to diversify our economy and bring new jobs to Pampa. We must aggressively go after that,” Rains said.
“This will give families that are struggling an opportunity to potentially land a job that’ll give their family a chance to improve their lives,” Rains said.
Rains would like to leave Pampa a better place than he found it and a better place for his kids to raise a family someday.
“After college, my wife and I were living in Oklahoma. We knew we wanted to come back home to Pampa,” Rains said. “It’s where we wanted to raise a family and I would love for my kids, whether they go to college or not, or trade school, that Pampa is a place they want to come back to and raise family.
“And not just because that’s where they grew up, but because it’s a city that offers them real opportunities to come back home and make a living.”
Rains believes his familiarity with the City Commission and familiarity with the city finances gives him an edge over his opponent.
“I’ve been Commissioner, so I know how things work in the city and the hurdles/obstacles we face,” Rains said. “I’m familiar with the way the City operates and the City’s financial standing. Our city has faced many of the same financial struggles our citizens have.”
Rains said as the economy is diversified and more citizens move into the city, it opens more opportunities for our community.
“As more people come into Pampa buying houses, shopping and eating, that strengthens our tax base as a city,” Rains said. “That allows us to take care of some of the things we haven’t been able to do because of our financial situation. A well employed community would be a great thing for our city.”
Rains would like to see a stronger focus on Code Enforcement, whether it be from the Department itself, or the citizens.
“I haven’t kept it a secret and probably the second biggest priority for me is cleaning up our city,” Rains said. “Through the past, our budget situation has been difficult for many years, code enforcement in general has been one of those that we’ve kind of let slide and haven’t had the amount of focus on it that we need.
“If there has been one message I have received more often from our citizens is they want Pampa to be cleaned up and code enforcement to be enforced.”
Rains added he doesn’t want to just start excessively fining people, but instead raise awareness of the Community Pride app.
“By in large you can put trash and debris on your curb, get on the app and schedule a pick up,” Rains said. “Or, if you don’t want to use the app, you can call the City and generally within a day or two they will pick it up at no additional cost.”
Rains would even like to organize community involvement to help those who can’t move objects to the curb to use the app.
“As Mayor I would like to work with service organizations or churches and if someone is identified as not being in code and doesn’t have the physical/financial capability to get their home in compliance, we would have resources that can go and help those people,” Rains said. “Everyone wants to clean up our city. But we need to work as a team to tackle it.”
Part of that working as a team includes Rains’ third point to restore a sense of community.
“We are one team as a community and we need to act that way,” Rains said.
“I feel like we’ve become a little divided as a community. I want to see the north, south, east, west [improve]; I don’t care where you live.
“We’re just one team and we need to have the boat rowing in one direction to be successful. Even when I was commissioner of Ward 2 (northeast), I never confined myself to that. Anybody in Pampa could call me at any time and I would be all ears.”
Rains is married to his wife, Collin, and the pair have two children, Carys and Colson.
He and his family are members of Redeemer Pampa and Rains has a Facebook page for his campaign, “Matt Rains for Mayor.” Anyone who would like information can message that page or call personally at 806-470-1191.