LUBBOCK, Texas – This is a transcript from Matt Stell’s interview with Lubbock mayor Dan Pope. Pope, who was first elected in 2016, has chosen not to run for reelection in 2022.

Matt Stell:
After six years and now you decide, “that’s it, I’m done, It’s been a good run.” Why? Why now?

Dan Pope:
Well, I believe in the the idea of public service I’m an entrepreneur and a business guy at my core I think it’s time to go back to the private sector. It’s been a good run. I just think that there’s wisdom in knowing when to get in and when to get out and I think it’s the right time to to turn the keys over to someone else.

Matt Stell:
Looking back over these past six years, what is your proudest accomplishment? What is something that you can say that you are just so proud of?

Dan Pope:
I’m most proud of our council. We’ve been able to pass and implement public safety improvement project that needed to be done for decades. We’re building a new police headquarters, replacing parts of a building that are 90 years old. We’ve built three patrol divisions in different parts of that community. We’re finishing a municipal court we delivered on a strategic plan Lubbock 2040, the first time that had been done in decades, and, we sit on unprecedented cash reserves and we’ve been able to do this and lower the tax rate in this six years. So I think it’s a team sport.

Matt Stell:
Just put us in the mind of Dan Pope starting in March of 2020.

Dan Pope:
Well, 2020 Yeah, I mean, I mean, 2020 Matthew is it really started if I can go back to January 11 2020. That was probably those single low point, single low point in my six years. That was the day that Eric Hill and Nick Reyna were killed and Matt Dawson was critically injured in that accident on the north interstate. March of 2020. April 2020. It’s just like stamped in my in my brain. We would do things a little differently. I think today we’d do it differently if we had to do it all over again. But for the most part, I think Lubbock weathered the pandemic very well. The families and friends that we lost, that part is hard to come to grips with. I’m so glad I was in Lubbock, Texas. I think we had a good balance of of lives and livelihoods. I hated the idea around what businesses were essential and what were not essential. That was some federal kind of language as you recall. We made no decisions without a lot of thought. We we’re trying to get the best minds that we had to weigh in and then we tried to plot our course forward.

Matt Stell:
Is there anything that you can look back on and say “I wish I had not done that?” Is there any decision policy that you regret?

Dan Pope:
Yeah that’s a pretty easy when for me. I wish that we’d have executed the street bond last year a little differently. We have talked about this before. But but I think we should have gone about it differently. I regret that. I think we should have had more of a citizens engagement part of that even if we had had a different role in that. And I think also the timing was not particularly good. The May 21st sanctuary city election, certainly, I think, cast a shadow over the bond election.

Matt Stell:
Everybody keeps asking me, and I tell them, I don’t have the answer to it. So I told them when I get the answer, or when I get a chance to talk to him, I’ll ask him. Is this it for elected office?

Dan Pope:
Oh, I think I try really hard to not the use the words never and always okay? So let’s set that aside. Right now. I’m going to run and not walk back to the private sector. I’ve been pretty clear about that. We’ll see what the future holds. But I’m not positioning myself for anything right now. I can’t imagine a position and a chance to serve that can be as gratifying and fulfilling as what I’ve gotten to do over the last six years. Never once, even in the darkest of COVID, never once did I get up and not want to go serve our community. The men and women and families and kids for our community. So I look forward to moving away from that for a period of time but, never say never.