WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – City of Waco District IV Councilperson and Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Palmer has submitted a letter of resignation effective November 4.
According to the City of Waco, Councilperson Palmer stated: “It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as the District IV Councilwoman these past two years. I’m leaving office with such gratitude for the gift of working alongside so many of you in pursuit of a more equitable and beautiful Waco.”
Councilperson Palmer was elected to the Waco City Council to represent District IV on November 3, 2020, and was sworn in on November 17, 2020. The current term for District IV expires in May 2023.
Mayor Dillon Meek shared, “We thank Councilwoman Palmer for her contributions and dedication to District IV and the City of Waco. Throughout her term, she demonstrated a deep care for the wellbeing of each person she represented, working diligently to represent their interest and to make Waco a stronger city. We wish her nothing but the best as she continues her path forward.”
In addition, FOX 44 News has received Palmer’s letter of resignation. It reads:
“It is with bittersweet gratitude that I announce I will be resigning from office effective November 4, 2022. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as your District IV Councilwoman these past two years. This journey began with the idea that a more equitable, beautiful Waco was possible. Many of you rallied alongside me with this mission in mind – to build a Waco where one’s opportunity to a high quality of life, safe housing, and access to economic opportunity would not be determined by one’s race, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, disability, zip code, or income.
“I am so proud of the policy priorities we championed and the wins we achieved. Together, alongside city council and staff, we secured the highest-ever investment in affordable housing and allocated, for the first time in city history, millions of dollars to support small businesses. We also created a new TIF Zone which will provide substantial access to capital for the small business owners throughout the district. We passed a $15/hour minimum wage and paid parental leave for city employees. We drastically increased Spanish language access by advocating for bilingual communications at every opportunity. We accomplished so much of what we initially set out to do.
“This work has been immensely rewarding – and it’s also been costly. I put my paid career on hold so that I could give District IV — and the City of Waco — my full dedication. And while I’m proud to have been a part of the effort to increase the council stipend to $20,000 annually, this is still a far cry from a livable wage. I believe we will not truly see a Waco of the people, by the people, for the people until city council is a full-time, salaried role. Only then, can Wacoans of all backgrounds afford to serve in these influential seats and meaningfully be a part of shaping the policy that so closely impacts their and their neighbors’ lives.
“While my decision to step down from office is a personal and professional one, I’d like to address the recent backlash of homophobic rhetoric and attacks that I and several others became a target of. There is no place for bigotry of this kind, or any other, in our community. Enduring harassment and violent threats should not be part of the cost we expect our elected officials and neighbors to pay in service to Waco. We must protect the right to disagree and hold different firmly held beliefs while engaging one another from a place of dignity and respect.
“There is so much more I could say about all these past two years have meant to me, but I want to end on a note of gratitude. To my District IV neighbors, thank you for entrusting me with this seat. Thank you for supporting me, challenging me, and rolling up your sleeves to work alongside me. I encourage you to continue pushing forward in pursuit of a more beautiful, equitable Waco. Speak at city council meetings, join a neighborhood association, or volunteer with a cause you’re passionate about. Together, we can be a force for such good.”