Meet Harry LaRosiliere, Mayor of Plano. Elected as the city's 38th mayor in May 2013, LaRosiliere is passionate about making Plano a great place to live through economic development and community engagement, and, of course, his family.
The mayor was born in Haiti and moved to the Harlem neighborhood of New York City when he was three years old. A geology major in college, LaRosiliere ran a photography studio for several years before settling down in Plano with his wife, Tracy, in 1994. Since then, he has been a financial advisor by day and been deeply involved with various committees, initiatives, and nonprofits in the city, and served six years on the City Council before taking the helm as mayor.
We wanted to get to know Mayor LaRosiliere a bit better, and he was nice enough to answer some questions for us:
AW: Plano is one of the biggest cities in Texas, and definitely in the Metroplex. That’s a lot to manage and thousands of people to help make decisions for. What do you do to wind down?
HL: I enjoy working out. That helps me wind down on a daily basis. But on days I have nothing or very little on my calendar, I usually choose to hibernate at home and watch sports and "reality TV."
AW: What is it that, in your opinion, makes Plano stand out among surrounding communities?
HL: Plano is an exceptional community because of three key factors.
- Visionary planning from prior mayors and councils. They led by being very intentional in their decision-making process.
- Superior execution of that plan by the staff.
- A very engaged volunteer base from the community.
High quality services and world class amenities combined with and engaged citizenry is a great combination. An excellent example of our citizen engagement is the VIP (Volunteers in Plano) Program. In the last 30 years, volunteers have donated almost two million hours at a value of $24 million to the city.
AW: What do you hope will be the legacy of your time in office?
HL: When I was first elected, quite a bit was made about me being the first African-American mayor. I hope my legacy is being the latest in the line of Plano mayors who displayed vision, leadership and courage. I want to be remembered as someone who simply cared.
AW: What are your top three goals for the City in 2014?
- Maintaining a robust economic development environment. Economic prosperity allows us to provide vital services to our citizens.
- Allocating resources to upgrade our infrastructure. That means revitalization of neighborhoods and some of the more mature areas of our city.
- Continuation of an exceptional level of service facilitated by highly professional and dedicated city employees.
AW: Who do you ask for advice?
HL: My business partner, Ira Kravitz, my sister, and my wife...not necessarily in that order all the time.
AW: What are you most proud of?
HL: I am most proud of my daughters for the incredible young ladies they are becoming, and my mother for the effort she made to raise me and my sister.
AW: Now for the serious stuff. Where’s your favorite place to grab a burger in town? Favorite place to shop?
HL: That's like asking me who’s my favorite child! But here’s a mayoral hint: My favorite place to eat and shop is within Plano's 72 square miles. As long as they serve a fresh caesar salad, I am good.