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Man of Steele: From drum sticks to gavel

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The Ellis County Press

WILMER – Trading his drum sticks for a gavel, Jeff Steele was brought to the forefront of small-town politics as mayor. A drummer and husband of country -western singer, Janie Fricke, Steele is starting to see the way a real government works.

Steele, recently appointed mayor of this small suburb of 3,400 located south of Dallas, after former Mayor Don Hudson stepped down to retire outside of Palmer, is ready to jump in and give it all he’s got with professional swagger.

Dressed in a suit and tie, your typical small town mayor he’s not.

Steele, a self -described "businessman," not to mention a born and raised Texan, has a revolving door ready to greet you with a smile.

"I really want to help do all I can and bring light on this city, I soon as I was sworn in, I was ready to get to work," said Steele.

Work he has.

A few of the accomplishments he’s given to the city’s residents include making sure the taxes were turned in (the city lost a whole year’s worth because someone wouldn’t turn in the paper last year).

He’s working on "keeping it local" by bringing in jobs as first and foremost for employment of locals, and finally bringing Dallas water "with just a turn of the valve."

It took several years of back and forth negotiations with past city officials.

This moderate Republican is used to hoping from then President George W. Bush’s Christmas party to Vice-president Dick Cheny’s cracking jokes about hunting, all while managing his wife’s Country Music Association-award winning career.

While playing the drums and singing back-up vocals on occasion, you wonder just how one does it all.

"My wife and I wanted to bring leadership to our community. Progress, growth and a dire stretch for leadership and business-savvy [were in need]," said this Wilmer resident of 16 years.

Steele was always a people person, his first love being one of the earliest paramedics accommodated by the state of Texas at the young age of 16 issued with a special certificate by the Department of Health where he worked on-call from 11-7 at Humana Hospital.

With a golf scholarship to attend college, Steele suddenly had a change of heart and started to pursue his passion for music back in the early 80’s where he later met wife Janie in 1992.

One thing is for sure, Steele really would like to keep his morals intact.

"Words are cheap, action is better, "said Steele when asking what his relationship is with the other members on council.

"It’s a freak of nature to be destructive, my morals will not allow me to get upset."

He has plans on running for a full term mainly to uphold his promise to John Dodd, director and former mayor of Farmers Branch, a community a little north of Dallas, who is placing one of his charter schools in town for K-8 grades.

We have already had approval from Austin and are in discussion to eventually have up to 12th grade served with thoughts of portable buildings to accommodate."

Showing residents he will hold true to his word, he is doing all he can to have the new school up and running by the start of the new school year.

"John said is I didn’t run for this spot [Mayor] he would be very upset with me."

At the age of 48, still plenty young enough to grab a hold of politics, will Mayor be all his future aspirations will hold?

" Who knows what fate holds. God will show me to walk the light."

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