Place 3 candidate Blaise Regan: 'Still room to grow' in how Abilene does business
Besides his sixth-floor office in the Alexander Building, from which windows provide south and west views of central Abilene, Blaise Regan believes he has unique views of the city that would add value to the City Council.
Regan, who has lived in Abilene since 2001, filed Wednesday for Place 3 on the council, creating a three-person race. Filing a week earlier on the first day of filing were first-time candidate Shawnte Fleming and James Sargent, who ran for council last spring.
Regan said all three hopefuls filed "for the right reasons" - a belief they can make a difference in the city.It was time for him, he said, to do what he could.
Current two-term Place 3 councilwoman Donna Albus is not running for re-election.
Regan's family moved here in 2001. His father, Kevin Regan, was a physician.
Regan graduated in 2004 from Wylie High School, then from Texas Tech.
An attorney (St. Mary's University School of Law), Regan focuses his practice on business and estate law. This semester, he is teaching a business law class at McMurry University.
He also is host of podcast called "Reganomics with Blaise Regan," which delves into general how-to-run-a-business questions. It's on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. He said, with a smile, it's a way to provide information without having to charge an attorney's fee.
Instead of joining a big-city firm, Regan returned to Abilene to hang his shingle.
"I like being my own boss," the 37-year-old attorney said. His plan, he said, has worked out well.
He uses social media to produce a show titled "Abilene, It's Getting Better." He chose that title because he believes it is, based on 10 or so years in practice here, but it provides room for improvement. Saying Abilene is great would not encourage people to continue to work to make the city better.
About four or five months ago, he decided to "put up or shut up" and seek office. Regan said he already was involved in the city, but he would take a new path.
As his own boss, he has the flexibility to adjust his schedule to accommodate the needs of a council member to attend regular meetings, events and, say, planning sessions.
Regan still considers himself a young professional, one who lives and works downtown. As a councilman, he would champion small business and a vision for the city "five, 10, 20 years" ahead.
But in his practice, he works with clients to have the best retirement possible. He notes that Abilene is considered one of the top three places to retire.
Regan said the city has moved forward under City Manager Robert Hanna's leadership, saying Abilene "five to seven years ago began to turn the corner. But there still is room to grow."
One area is the permitting process for small businesses. Newcomers don't know everything that is required. A permit document would "give them a roadmap," he said. The goal is safety.
Once the boxes are checked and the business is operating, the city should "just get out of the way."
Regan cited two examples, based on personal experience. Those involved the operation, with his five brothers, of Six Brothers Brewery, a craft beer establishment once located on North Second Street.
One was the misinterpretation of the 300-foot location requirement from churches, schools or hospitals. That was corrected, he said.
The other was the requirement to have a grease trap, though Six Brothers did not serve food. It was a costly, and unnecessary expense, that they lived with.
Situations such as those are obstacles to business trying to open, often with an investment limit.
Regan would like to see the city more involved in developing Interstate 20, giving travelers more reason, not only to stop, but to venture into the city "to see what we have to offer..
He calls downtown the "heart and soul" of the city and a tourist destination.
And the growth at the south edge of Abilene continues to be important.
Is the next step merging all three areas?
Regan gives the current council high marks, saying Weldon Hurt - who is running for mayor - brings the experience of a business owner and Shane Price does thorough research on an issue.
But with three seats before voters, there will be new faces. And that, he said, is not a bad thing.
This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Place 3 candidate Regan: 'Still room to grow' in how Abilene does business