Trace Henderson makes his living helping people with challenges. Now, as a candidate for mayor of DeSoto, he wants to help the city he loves, which he believes is also facing some serious challenges.
“I’m running because I believe we’re going too far off course from the things that made us great,” Henderson said. “We once were a sleepy town with thriving professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners etc. We are now pushing toward an inner city vibe against the wishes of longtime residents.”
The youngest of six children in his family, the 35-year-old Henderson’s history supports he knows a thing or two about facing and conquering challenges.
“I was born to parents who both had intellectual disabilities. They graduated all six of their children from high school despite being in poverty not knowing how to read or write,” he said. “Between us there’s a principal, social worker, business owners, film producer, goes to show that anything is possible in this country with the right determination and opportunity.”
Henderson has never held a political office, but he has worked and volunteered on many campaigns, along with participating in student government while at Texas Southern University, where he studied political science.
Henderson’s Work Experience
Henderson, who is from Oklahoma City, moved to DeSoto 12 years ago. He said he was drawn by the appeal of being in a thriving suburb but close enough to a big city.
He is the owner and CEO of A Champion Home and Community Based Services, a company that specializes in helping adults and children with intellectual/physical disabilities function in society, keeping them out of institutional settings. Henderson said he was inspired by his parents and older brother receiving similar services to help with similar challenges they faced.
“I started this company at the age of 25, the youngest African American male to do so in Texas,” he said. “We’ve also submitted applications to extend our services to provide durable medical equipment. I oversee this operation in an owner’s capacity. We have contracts with the state for over a million-plus dollars annually. My company and the job as mayor parallels, as it’s all about service to people.”
He added that his only other interests are politics and flying. He is a student pilot, which he said is currently on hold because of his campaign.
Self Inflicted Problems?
Henderson believes most of the problems he sees are self-inflicted by government officials. He doesn’t feel they are listening to the longtime residents, that “built the community and made it great.”
“Their main concerns are quality eating establishments, public safety, and thriving schools,” he said of residents.
Henderson said the Desoto ISD has been responsible for many of its own setbacks, including:
- Mismanagement of funds
- Lack of Transparency
- Failure to provide a safe learning environment
“Even on simple things they get it wrong, failing to honor the correct valedictorian in 2018, fired a state championship winning football coach, fired a superintendent that was actually turning some of the problems around,” Henderson said.
“I service individuals with intellectual disabilities in a community based setting. One of our clients went to Desoto. He was supposed to be escorted from class to class. One day he wasn’t properly being escorted and walked off school grounds and was hit by a vehicle. Instead of the school checking on him they came to the hospital and took pictures of him. This district just can’t get it right.”
Making Public Safety A Top Priority
As for the council, Henderson said public safety should be top priority, but that it is not. He said they did not pay public safety officers a comparable wage despite having a $4 million surplus.
“They also speak about a thriving frontage road and the need for more eateries, but allowed a developer to build a hotel in which one requirement was no restaurant be built within close proximity because they’ll have their own bar, inconsistent things like that,” he said.
“If I’m elected, we’re going to beat Lancaster for the battle of I-35 and pay our officers what they deserve.”
For more about Trace Henderson and his mission, visit www.trace4desoto.com
Editor’s Note: Rita Cook interviewed Mayor Proctor in March about her vision if re-elected.
Early voting begins April 25, Election Day is May 7, 2022.