Get to know Carrollton’s 2023 mayor candidates
April 1, 2023
Carrollton’s 2023 mayoral elections are approaching, with voter registration closing April 6, early voting from April 24 to May 2 and Election Day being on May 6. Citizens will be able to vote on council members for places two, four and six, as well as the position of mayor. Here’s a look at the three candidates running for mayor of Carrollton.
Having moved to Carrollton in 1992 after marrying his wife, Peggy, Steve Babick became involved in local politics by becoming a councilmember in 2014 — he served two terms before becoming mayor in 2022 through an untraditional election cycle when former mayor Kevin Falconer became Denton County commissioner. Outside of his mayoral duties, Babick focuses his free time on his family, community and church, while also indulging in activities like fishing, running and being a private pilot.
“[Since moving here, I’ve observed] a tremendous amount of growth in Carrollton,” Babick said. “Being [in] a military family, I grew up all over the world. I like Carrollton because it’s centrally located and it’s got something for everybody. It’s a great place to call home.”
Babick has had five main priorities as mayor, what he outlines as P.R.I.D.E: public safety, redevelopment, infrastructure, diversity and economic development. A huge focus for Babick has been growth in the transit zone, which he calls the “Carrollton Renaissance.” The Renaissance effort recently received funding for a billion dollar development to create an area like Legacy East and West in the area — a combination of live, work and play.
“[It is] one of the areas I’m most proud of,” Babick said. “We’re basically transforming what was old [into something] new again, and that’s really what that redevelopment effort is.”
If re-elected, Babick said he plans to continue focusing efforts on redevelopment, quality of life and his top priority: public safety. Before COVID-19, former police chief Derick Miller began holding listening sessions with police and the community to create a better understanding between citizens and law enforcement. Babick aims to pick up these periodic sessions with newly appointed Carrollton police chief Roberto Arredondo.
“My record is strong in terms of being inclusive and embracing all of our communities, working only for the betterment of Carrollton,” Babick said. “I’ve got the experience and leadership, [and] I’m going to continue to focus on what I’ve been focusing on.”
Third generation Texan raised in Dallas, councilmember Adam Polter served in the military during the Gulf War in Operation Desert Storm. He moved to Carrollton a few years later in 2002. Polter said one of the issues that prompted him to run for council was the 2015 flood damage to the city’s golf courses, which he felt wasn’t being handled properly.
“[The situation] just wasn’t making sense [to me], so I started a petition [that] got almost 2,000 signatures, [and we] had shirts made that said ‘keep Carrollton on course,’” Polter said. “We started going to council meetings and pushing back until the city finally agreed [to fix and reopen the golf courses].”
Growing up, Polter’s mother volunteered throughout the Dallas community. She was involved in his school’s PTA and was the president of both the League of Women Voters of Dallas and the Visiting Nurse Association. Polter currently donates his services as project manager for Metrocrest Services.
“[My parents] were very altruistic,” Polter said. “[When I] moved to Carrollton, I immediately became vice president of our neighborhood association because that mindset of service was instilled in me.”
Some of Polter’s main mayoral campaign focuses include improving public transportation, increasing mental health resources, helping the homeless crises and bringing more authenticity to the city.
“I want to get more [ideas] out of our council and I want to see residents prioritized,” Polter said. “I want the [city as a whole] to be more community minded — Carrollton is a community of communities. We have a [diverse] population, [but] I don’t think we have anywhere near enough programs [to support them].”
Councilmember Young Sung came to the United States from South Korea in 1977, having lived in Lawton, Oklahoma and Dallas before moving to Carrollton in 1979. Sung and his wife both graduated from Newman Smith High School and they have two children — a son, who is an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army, and a daughter, who is a streamer.
“My [parents] were born into the concentration camps [during the] Japanese colonization of South Korea,” Sung said. “I am forever grateful [that] I was able to come to America [and] be where I am. Korea is the motherland, [but] America is my adopted country. I’m proud to be American.”
Sung said Carrollton’s environment used to be different due to a lack of diversity, causing him to be afraid to be involved in changing the city — until the year 2008.
“[Watching President Barack] Obama and [presidential candidate] Hillary Clinton [during] the [Democratic Party] primary race got me really excited, and I [wanted to get more] involved [in the community],” Sung said. “I became a precinct chair at [a] church, and then in 2012, I tried [running] for council, [but didn’t win until] 2017.”
Being the first Korean American to hold a city council seat in Carrollton, Sung said that though the city’s Korean community made up a large amount of the economy, they were being underrepresented on a political level. Sung’s focuses are to increase public safety through community officers, improve the environment by finding solutions to lessen impacts of the DFW and Camelot landfills and increase international business.
“Texas is incredibly great in business, and there’s so much Korean business coming to [other areas of the state], bringing money and job growth,” Sung said. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and [letting] these different companies come [to Carrollton] with work and play [will help] create a synergy.”