GARDEN RIDGE — Just weeks after winning the race for mayor, Air Force veteran Robb Erickson said he’s enjoying everything that comes with being the city’s top elected leader.
“It’s the most fun I’ve had in my life, and I was an Air Force pilot, so that’s saying something,” said Erickson, a former councilman who ousted Larry Thompson in the May 1 race.
Claiming the mayor’s seat is just the latest milestone in a short but active run as a public servant. After retiring from the military in 2016, Erickson entered local politics to serve his community in another way, he said.
He applied for and was appointed to a City Council vacancy in March 2017. A successful candidacy for a full two-year term followed in May 2017.
Erickson declined a re-election bid in 2019, wishing to spend more time with his family, especially his daughter Maggie who was finishing high school at the time.
Two years later, Erickson now works as a civilian flight simulator instructor at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph. But, as he put it, he missed public service and he filed to challenge Thompson.
“I missed the community service and I was ready to accept more responsibilities as a mayor,” he said. “I also studied leadership during my time in the Air Force. I missed applying my lessons learned, my knowledge and my follower-ship with the council.”
Erickson is now tackling some long-term issues, such as revamping the town’s emergency-management plan.
The city’s current plan, created in 2001, needs updating and ways to offer flexibility to address various emergencies, he said.
Those scenarios could range from an active-shooter situation and flooding to a hard freeze, such as the one that crippled the area in February.
“I want to put a lot more detail into the ordinance to explain how we respond to a specific emergency,” Erickson said.
A second priority is creating a slot for a city communications director, whose duties would include alerting residents about events, initiatives and emergencies.
A third priority for Erickson is hiring a marketing director to promote available properties along FM 2552, or Nacogdoches Road, where the city hopes to further develop its commercial base.
“We’d like to see high-end services, such as restaurants, retailers and office buildings, and still keep that tight community feel,” he said.