Fort Worth’s new mayor, council pledge unity for the city in first speeches

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With an excitement for fresh ideas, five new Fort Worth City Council members took oaths Tuesday evening, including Mattie Parker, one of the youngest mayors to lead a major city.

This year’s election saw the most turnover on council in about a decade thanks in part to Betsy Price’s decision not to seek a sixth term as mayor. Of the council’s nine members, six have never held office.

By 7:45 p.m. the four council members had been sworn in with Parker expected to take the mayor’s oath after speeches for each new member.

In a speech before the ceremonial swearing in, Estrus Tucker, a Como native and equity consultant, advocated for unity in the city and on council. He told the new council members to lead the city to “a place of equity.”

“May your collective leadership ever be in service to Fort Worth,” Tucker said.

Parker, 37, beat Deborah Peoples, 68, in the June runoff after neither was able to muster the necessary 50% plus one needed to win the general election outright. That election featured 10 candidates vying for mayor.

In District 7, Leonard Firestone, 54, replaces Dennis Shingleton, 74, who decided to retire from the council this year. The district contains the Cultural District in central Fort Worth and stretches north into Denton County. Elizabeth Beck, 38, replaces Ann Zadeh, 54, in south Fort Worth’s District 9. Zadeh ran for mayor.

Two incumbents were also ousted in the runoff.

Jared Williams, 31, beat Jungus Jordan, 72, in District 6 in south and southwest Fort Worth. Jordan had been the longest serving council member. In District 8, Chris Nettles, 33, ousted Kelly Allen Gray, 50. The district is mostly east of Interstate 35 and south of I-30.

“Just days before Juneteenth, I’m reminded of those who have fought and continue to fight for liberty and justice for all right here in Fort Worth,” Williams said.

Michael Crain, 49, District 3, took his oath of office in May after the general election. He replaced Brian Byrd, who had run for mayor, in Fort Worth’s western district.

The new members were sworn in at the Fort Worth Convention Center rather than City Hall to accommodate a large crowd of supporters.

This council is significantly younger with an average of 45.6, down from 60 years old.

Nettles has said the younger council is a positive for the city, noting that most of the new members have school-age children. Though they may disagree on some policies, Nettles said focusing on improving the city for families will likely unify the new council.

“That’s what I’m looking for from the city — to be more family oriented,” he told the Star-Telegram last week.

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