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Midland Living Magazine

Meet Mayor Patrick Payton

by haley ragsdale | photos by kwayu photograhy


Patrick Payton was sworn in as Mayor of Midland on January 13th, 2020. Just months later, he would be hit with the double barrel assault of a worldwide pandemic and oil trading at negative prices.

Payton, the former senior pastor at Stonegate Fellowship, was thrust into the national spotlight on how to navigate COVID-19, coupled with Midland’s foundation, the oil & gas industry, hitting rock bottom.

Payton and his wife, Cindy, have three grown children and three grandchildren. After his retirement from Stonegate, Payton began The Payton Group and is currently a corporate coach for companies and nonprofits.

Midland Living Magazine spoke with Payton as he leads the Midland community during this unique and challenging time. 



 


Q. Did you ever imagine that this current situation is how the first few months of being mayor would go? 

A. Quite frankly, no. I don’t think anybody could have ever imagined the world we are in today, five or six months ago. I was incredibly surprised-out of the frying pan into the fire. 


Q. What has surprised you most being in this role? 

A. Realizing all the things we campaigned for on the campaign trail 8 months ago, those issues haven’t gone away for our community. It is understanding a different game and different set of rules that we are dealing with.



 

Q. What is priority for Midland’s future?

A. It is essential to have 10 year plus plan on the priorities we need as a city where we are headed. We must address infrastructure and roads. Think of it as a financial plan for your family- we are not just winging it. We must plan for the growth of the city that we can pay for and plan for. We will look at our 10-year plan at our council retreat this summer. The most important part for roads is working with TXDOT and the City.  We need to know where we are going with road infrastructure.  The road piece is especially important to me. We are in discussions on an outer loop 250, and what that would look like to have the outer loop.


Q. Where do you see Midland a year from now?

A. I hope we are getting back to normal. I hope our industry is picking back up, spawning more growth. I hope we are over the fear or concern of COVID. I hope we feel the way we did in the fall of 2019; we felt good where we were and where we were going. The biggest debates were over property taxes. I am really looking forward to a good debate about property taxes. 




Councilman Norman and Mayor Payton 


“I I would hope everyone one would try to understand the differences of people, to apply good old West Texas values of loving your neighbor.”  -patrick payton


Q. How do you feel Midland is addressing the needs of the Black Community? 

A. I think Councilman John Norman is really the man of the hour. I give him a huge amount of credit for taking on the pressure of these situations and bridging the gap between these communities. We have great relationship and support with the police and we are having conservations. I think we are addressing the situation well and blessed to avoid chaos. We are understanding each other as citizens. It is an amazing time to listen and gain the different perspective of others.  It really is a better future for everyone. We all see the debate and want to deal with fairness and issues for everyone. 


Q. What would you like to tell each Midland resident. 

A. I would tell them to be patient with one another. I would hope everyone one would try to understand the differences of people, to apply good old West Texas values of loving your neighbor. We have highly conservative values and I hope we really treat each other well and want the best for one another. 



 

Q. What is your typical day? 

A. I have a company, and like many have lost revenue during this time.  I am taking care of my business.  I do podcasts and then I have my responsibilities of being the mayor. I spend a good half of everyday committed to mayor and then some, often into the evening. I am usually working 12 hours every day. Essentially, I am doing three careers at one time.

 When the Coronavirus started heating up, I was in constant contact with governor’s office.  It was an interesting thing, no one knew how to do what we had to do. We were talking all the time, press conferences, rhythm of communication. We now know what the virus is and we know the enemy. I spend significant amount of time talking with the hospital and health department. We have joint command meetings. It is just the rhythm of communication.


 

Q. What makes you proud to be the mayor?

A. The people and who we are. When COVID started happening and the economy suffered, I did television interviews on CNN, FOX News, CBS This Morning, and international press in the Netherlands and Germany. A prideful moment,  if you don’t know West Texas, is you don’t realize what an amazing group of people that live here. They fight the fight for each other, very Republican area, amazing good old fashion Americana.  I have been to Washington D.C. to talk about this region and the people. It really is the people and their attitude that I am proud of and proud to speak about.
 
You talk to people who are in the biz, in the oil and gas industry, and they know we are going to get through this.  It’s not a bumper sticker, they’ve been through hard times. We are watching an industry go through a transition. There is a future and we will get there together. It will be a new reality, but they will do it. I have no doubt about people, no doubt about business, no doubt about our future. 



 

Q. My 8-year-old son wanted to know if you knew you always wanted to be the mayor? 

A. I didn’t want to be the mayor a year ago, but you have to be ready for the calling. I love that question, ‘What do you think your plans are?’ When I was at Stonegate, I would ask kids what is your dream? In my childhood, there was not time to dream because of the poverty we lived in. It is so important to dream. You cannot out dream if you serve. You must be willing to serve people, and that’s something bigger than yourself. †

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