Tammy Underwood recently retired from a seat with the Mineral Wells City Council. 10 years she dedicated to the citizens of Mineral Wells to try and make a better future for her community. We sat down with Tammy to overview her most memorable moments and to ask her about he future goals. So let us start at the beginning.
In 2011, several months after completing the Leadership Mineral Wells class 16, Tammy Underwood noticed that no one was running for the city council seat in Ward 2, where she lived, and the date to file had already passed. During the class, she had had a chance to visit the city manager and see where the council meetings took place. She had never thought about the mechanics of how the city was run behind the scenes before then, but she felt the call to serve the city she had lived in for 27 years. Disappointed by the filing date news, she called her husband to lament that had she known, she would have filed and run herself. Soon after, she got a call from the mayor, who she had forgotten that her husband worked alongside, letting her know that it wasn’t too late to file as a write-in candidate. She would only need one vote to win, but she assured her husband that she had better get at least two.
In May of 2011, she was sworn in and immediately went to work. She took her seat at the dais and started voting on decisions for the city. She had never even been to a council meeting before that point, and now she was in the thick of it. The council encouraged her to attend a newly elected officials conference in Austin, Tx. Shortly after that first meeting, she learned a lot about the open meetings act and the dos and don’ts of her new position. In her second term on the council, she was elected Mayor Pro-Tem, which would eventually lead to her taking over as Mayor.
Being able to work with other people was something she was uniquely prepared for with her 25 years of Human Resources experience. During her 10 years on the council, there were ups and downs. As a city councilperson, she had to grow a thick skin. Not all decisions are easy, especially when other people are involved. She put a lot of thought into every vote, and in the end, she had to stay true to herself no matter what anyone else would think. The work was rewarding though.
In February of 2020, she took over as Mayor just before a global pandemic was about to hit our country. I let her know that my family and I were grateful for the regular Facebook live updates as citizens of this city. Her calming presence was reassuring in a time of great uncertainty. She humbly informed me that she didn’t handle it alone and was part of a team that managed the lockdown. She worked with the city manager, fire chief, county judge, the hospital administrator, as well as city and county employees. It was a true group effort. “It was one of the most rewarding times of my life,” she said of being able to serve in that capacity. She was truly amazed at how well the city and county worked together to try to do what was best for the people of our area.
When asked about her favorite memories, she immediately pointed to the deal with AMR to bring jobs to this city. When she was contacted about the opportunity, she brought it to the city manager’s attention, where they worked together with AMR to broker the deal and put a job fair together in a week. She was also proud that they could work with the police chief after his proposal to gradually increase the resources that our city employees desperately needed. One of the biggest disappointments she had on the city council was when the bond election for a new law enforcement center didn’t go through. The opportunity to purchase the property happened so fast that she feels they didn’t have the time to inform the citizens of how important and useful it would have been. It’s a regret, and she strongly feels that it’s something our city needs. She feels we need to let our law enforcement know that we care about them by, hopefully, correcting this mistake soon.
Another of the shining moments on the council for her was watching the Baker development group work throughout her time. Working on tax credits, federal grants, and dealing with investors. She’s extremely proud of how much has been done on that project. She used to say that Mineral Wells needs to quit waiting on the Baker Hotel to be our salvation. We needed to prepare the rest of the city so we will be ready when it happens. Well, with the great amount of progress in the last few years, she feels we are finally in a position for the Baker to come back.
She is also proud that she could also travel to the state capital, where she helped sell Mineral Wells with the Envision Mineral Wells Group. There they were able to make connections and network with various state entities, learned about the available grants to our city, and made the city proud by representing us well.
After hearing from God that it was time to focus on other things, she decided not to run for another term last year. On May 18th Tammy stepped down from the council to spend more time with her family and focus on her job. She has worked for Genesis Aerosystems for 21 years, where she is currently the Director of Customer Support. The company was very supportive of her during the entire 10 years that she was serving the city. They were flexible with her time, and the former president, Roger Smith, even purchased yard signs for her. She’s focusing on her personal life for now, but I don’t think it’s the last we’ll see of Tammy Underwood. She plans to stay in a part of the city. As she said, “You don’t serve on the council for 10 years without loving your community.”
Thank you, Tammy. We are grateful for your service and excited to see what you work on next.
Contributor | I was born in Mineral Wells and have lived here all my life so far. I graduated from Community Christian School. I am amazed at the progress this city has made in the last few years, and I want to contribute to that in a positive way. I love writing, photography, music, and listening to way too many podcasts.