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Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere discusses winter storm and mayorship



PLANO, TX – Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere is nearing the end of his second and final term.

No stranger to controversy or crisis, LaRosiliere’s tenure as mayor became characterized by hot-button issues such as the Plano Tomorrow development plan and unprecedented crises such as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past week, he has had to manage yet another crisis: a record-setting winter storm that has led to power outages for thousands of Plano households.

LaRosiliere spoke about the measures Plano’s government is taking to mitigate recent hardships and also reflected on the past and future of his current lame duck period.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Is there anything you’re doing as mayor to provide relief or assistance to residents of Plano?

In times like this, the most effective role we can serve is the [distribution] of information. As a local government, we’re closest to the people, so they tend to gravitate to us. And really, just providing accurate and timely information. Letting them know what’s going on in terms of the rolling blackouts, letting them be aware of the safety tips to engage, and most importantly, we’ve had a number of warming stations that [have] opened up throughout the city.

You said in this year’s State of the City address that Plano is a “resilient” city. Are you seeing that right now through this crisis?

Yeah, so it’s really bearing out again.

When we were determining [how to do] the warming stations, we had some real structural challenges. For example, if we wanted to do a warming station as a city ourselves, the appropriate place would be like, the Plano Center or the Rec Center. However, those were offline, and the power was spotty, so it wasn’t going to help to have them there.

So what we did, our resilience is shown as we come together as a community. The first warming station we announced was Grace Church. They’re providing the facility, but we provided security, police and EMS. It was really a collaboration between an entity and the city to do that. It was clear to us that it was going to be challenging for us to do it on our own.

The difficulty to do things like that is, sometimes the unintended consequences are worse. If you set an expectation and it’s not met, it’s worse than if you did nothing at all.

Our resiliency is shown in our collaboration for sure.