TJ Gilmore has been a city councilman since 2011. He’s also a Scoutmaster, an occasional tweeter of council meetings, and someone whose dad once came to watch him at city hall. He told me about the time someone got kicked out for using a naughty word!
Q: Some people probably don’t know that Texas has its OWN pledge of allegiance that you say at council meetings after the national Pledge of Allegiance.
A: That’s very true!
Q: When you moved to Texas and first heard the pledge, did you think, “this is cool! It’s doubly patriotic”? Or did you kind of roll your eyes and think, “this is such a quintessentially Texas thing to do”?
A: It is a totally Texas thing to do. When I was a small child, my father took a job in west Texas and I encountered it there for the first time. When we came back to live here in 2000, it popped back up and I went, “oh, there it is!”
Q: Can you remember any unruly or unexpected moments from your city council meetings?
A: The most entertaining one was almost two years ago, I think. We had a gentleman come in with his girlfriend and he decided that he wanted to talk about the Lewisville Lake Dam. We have a dam that’s run by the [Army] Corps of Engineers. It was in the news because it needed some repair.
A: So he came in and was–I don’t know if he was showing off for his young lady–but he decided that he would go into a tirade about why the city was not fixing the dam. It’s run by the federal government, so when he was given those facts he decided to curse. At which point, Mayor [Rudy] Durham said, “that’s it, you’re out!”
Q: Did they look like they were on a date? Or were they coming in because they were concerned about the dam?
A: I got the vibe that he was there to show off. Speak truth to power or something. That would be the first time I ever heard anybody drop the F-bomb in city council.
Q: I have noticed how relatively non-eventful Lewisville city council meetings are–which is what made this Facebook post of yours stand out to me:
What do you remember from that meeting?!
A: It went fine! My dad is 6’4″. He still rides horses and used to work for Sheriff Joe Arpaio as a prison guard. He tells it like it is.
Q: Well, he should be the one to kick people out if they’re f-in’ around in there!
A: There’s one thing I know in my family: I’m not ever gonna be allowed to allow my ego to overstep its bounds.
Q: One council moment I want to ask you about…in September 2011, Councilman David Thornhill died of a heart attack. The next council meeting, there was a tribute video with pictures of him and a eulogy from his son. Is it hard sometimes to be fully present in the council meeting when something like that goes on?
A: Oh, sure. Part of the importance of being up there is to relate to people and what they need. I think it’s important that we recognize the things we lose, the things we gain–what had value.
Follow Council an TJ Gilmore on Twitter: @