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The Making of a Mayor: A Look Back with Plano Mayor LaRosiliere and former Frisco Mayor Maso



PLANO, TX – Harry LaRosiliere decided he wanted to become a mayor in the early 1990s when he was a young Black man living in New York City.

“I felt that to be mayor is to be the soul of the city, to be a unifier,” he said.

Frustrated that more wasn’t being done to quell racial tension in the city, he began volunteering to tutor teenagers in math in a mayor’s mentorship program in Washington Heights, a Manhattan neighborhood at the heart of this racial tension. “I was able to make a difference in their lives; that was the start of the calling for me,” he said.

In 1994, he moved to Texas and worked as a financial advisor and volunteered on a number of boards of nonprofits and commissions in Plano. He ran for city council, serving two three-year terms from 2005 to 2011, and spent a couple of years as a Planning & Zoning commissioner before being elected as Plano’s first Black mayor in 2013.

LaRosiliere turns 59 in May when he steps down after completing his second four-year term as the city’s leader. “The mayor is not the soul of the city but a reflection of the soul of a city,” he said. “Our job is to bring out what is there already and bring it to light.”

The Plano mayor’s call for citizens to volunteer and seek office was front and center in the second in a series of in-depth videotaped roundtable discussions presented by the Collin County Business Alliance in partnership with Local Profile.

Joining the roundtable discussion was former Frisco Mayor Maher Maso who won three consecutive elections between 2008 and 2017 before reaching the nine-year term limit.

Unlike LaRosiliere, Maso never had a goal to be mayor. He moved in 1992 to Frisco, which then was mostly farmland with a population of 6,500 and six schools.

“To go shopping we had to drive over dirt roads to go to Plano for food,” he said.

The 57-year-old business executive became president of his homeowners association and volunteered with his school district. His friends persuaded him to run for city council in 1996. But he lost a close election. He tried again and prevailed in 2000.

After seven years on the council, he was ready to retire from elected positions. Friends pushed him again, this time to run for mayor. He ran and he won.

During his nine years as mayor, Maso planned and managed a period of explosive growth. Today, Frisco’s population is about 185,000, and has about 70 schools.