A year after running for place 1 on City Council last year, local businesswoman Penny Mallet is running again, this time for mayor.
Mallet grew up in San Antonio, where she worked for the city. A pregnancy forced her to drop out of college, and she began working for the city full time. After building up her IT skills, she was hired by AIG as a project manager, where she would work for more than 20 years. She and her husband would eventually move to Lewisville and the DFW area.
Mallet eventually started the Crissa Kukua Mallet Foundation, named after her granddaughter who was killed in a traffic accident. Mallet said Crissa would have entered high school this year. The foundation provides meals and clothes for underprivileged girls through Girl’s Inc. Mallet also owns and operates the fashion truck Crissa’s Closet, which donates proceeds to the foundation.
Mallet said a fashion truck is similar to a food truck, but sells clothes from a mobile platform instead of food. She said they’re a relatively new trend catching on in several cities.
She said Crissa Mallet was always interested in charitable action and civic engagement, and that her death is part of what drove Penny Mallet to seek public office. In the meantime, she has joined the Lewisville Chamber of Commerce and her foundation sponsors Keep Lewisville Beautiful.
“She was the one that brought me out of just writing the check,” Mallet said. “I am wanting to get involved in my community as a public servant and give back to my community, and what better way to do that then as mayor or city councilman.”
Mallet said she also wanted to give young women a role model to look up to on the council, currently all-male. Mallet said it was a big draw that Bobbie Mitchell, a black woman who now serves as county commissioner, was mayor in the mid-90s when Mallet moved to Lewisville.
“Some people may just see me as, ‘oh, here she is again,’ the council members may see me as a distraction,” Mallet said. “But I guarantee you I’m probably going to touch some young girl’s life, and she’ll say ‘You know what? One day, I want to do that.’”
She said is disturbed by the lack of women on the council now, and by the fact that the council uniformly endorsed Bob Troyer over Carolyn Wright in the runoff race for place 1 last year. Troyer had earned 41.11 percent of the vote in the initial election against Wright’s 32.44, and Wright had come under fire for questions about her non-profit. Mallet came in third place with 10.93 percent of the vote and was eliminated from participating in the runoff.
After being endorsed by the entire council, Troyer would win the runoff with more than 70 percent of the vote.
Mallet further criticized the barriers of entry for being involved with the city. Getting on local committees requires a vacancy and approval from a sitting council member, which Mallet says creates a situation where being able to get involved without being elected is a matter of who you know.
Mallet said that as mayor she would primarily be concerned with marketing Old Town. She said that the small businesses in the area suffer due to a lack of foot traffic, and while apartments are coming to the area soon, the city needs to do a better job of marketing itself to bring more people to Old Town in the meantime.
“I can’t tell you how many times I come down here in the evening and there’s no business
How do we get 104,000 residents to down here? How do we do that? The only thing I could think is we’re not marketing it,” she said. “Do I know what the right answer is to all of that without being involved? No, I don’t. But I do know the concerns because I’m a resident and I have them.”
Election day is May 6. Mallet is running against incumbent Mayor Rudy Durham and fourth-time candidate Winston Edmondson.
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