The final vote tally in Tarrant County’s May 1st yielded about a 14.5% voter turnout. This is the voter turnout for a new mayor and practically re-built city council in Fort Worth. Turnout was so abysmal in the fifth largest city in the state (14th largest in the country) that we have to do it all over again in multiple races including the mayor and even the school board.
Fort Worth, what are we doing here? Non-voters have again made the greatest impact in a local election. Non-voters are jaded by their own apathy and don’t care about the city, themselves or their neighbors enough to vote. This is the expectation each local cycle but so disappointing. How can you want change, but not care to be apart of it?
Even after record voter turnout in the 2020 Presidential election, it seems that voters have since settled into their pattern of complacency that secedes their privilege of choosing city, county and state leaders. This has come at dire circumstances as states are now passing laws limiting critical conversations and legalizing voter suppression. Why complain about a problem and not offer a solution? We have decided to get involved by sharing conversations with a few candidates in hotly contested races in the city. We will share them on Facebook LIVE, right from our page and will begin with Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray, tonight.
This Thursday, Roxanne Martinez, candidate for the FWISD school board will join us. We hope to hear from a few other candidates before early voting ends Tuesday, June 1st. Remember, your vote is your voice and you can’t be mad at city leaders who omit the consideration of your voice because you have muted yourself! Get involved and go vote!
In the 2020 election, Elizabeth Beck unsuccessfully challenged for a seat in the Texas house, but she didn’t stop there. Instead, she turned her sights to the Fort Worth City Council and is now vying for a seat on the council serving District 9. In our election day interview, Beck laid out her ambition for change in Texas. She now seeks to become an agent of change here in her hometown as one of the newest faces at City Hall.
A familiar face to Fort Worth politics is Chris Nettles. The pastor and entrepreneur has challenged Kelly Allen Gray and even won majority of the May 1st vote, though falling short of the needed 50% to win the seat. Nettles and Gray has become a hot ticket akin to the Ali/Frazier feud which was settled in a final bout, the “Thrilla in Minila”. Nettles challenged Mayor Betsy Price in 2017 and while many may have ‘laughed him to scorn’, the preacher and aspiring politician, ‘strengthened his hands’ to challenge Gray, a challenge which by the end of the May 1st election seemingly had the Gray campaign on the ropes. Nettles emerged as a worthy challenger last year, leading many of the daily protests in the wake of the George Floyd murder.
Citizens took notice and rallied behind his efforts to challenge the long serving councilwoman and formidable foe, Kelly Allen Gray. Nettles has pulled out all stops and has made talking points of they Gray campaigns endorsements and donations. The results of the June 5th election will show whether or not the attacks were effective. For what he has done, Nettles is to be taken seriously and with a little guidance could emerge as a community leader, even without a seat on the council.
Newcomer Dr. Jared Williams is seeking to unseat longtime councilman and businessman, Jungus Jordan. The runoff between Jordan and Williams was brought about by a third challenger, Tiesa Leggett who took a meager percentage of the overall vote, but just enough to eliminate the possibility of an outright winner in District 6. Though there are a number of runoffs at city hall, none are more hotly contested than those of District 8 and the office of Mayor. Outgoing Democratic Chairwoman Deborah Peoples has made quite an impact on voters and seems poised to take the reins of one of the largest cities in America on day one.
It should be noted that regardless of the outcome of the mayoral race, Fort Worth will continue its trend of women in leadership. Outgoing mayor Betsy Price will be succeeded by either Mattie Parker or Deborah Peoples, an achievement worthy of note. Peoples and Parker made their cases at a recent debate which drew clear legislative lines, though the two women at the time openly professed their mutual admiration for each other and their professional achievements. Fort Worth is on the precipice of change. Whether it’s a changing of the guard or mere seasons, remains to be seen. This is why your voice is necessary.
Please stay tuned here and on Facebook as we update our conversations with candidates ahead of the election. Each conversation is an opportunity for candidates to speak with us and directly with their constituents LIVE on Facebook. No candidate has been paid to appear and neither conversation serves as our endorsement of said candidate.