Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price kicked off her campaign for a second two-year term, noting achievements in public engagement, community partnerships such as the one that’s repairing the old Forest Park Pool, lower crime, transportation, and a move to contain the city’s employee pension liability.
Looking ahead, Price, 63, said she wants to deliver commuter rail, continue the city’s major push to improve infrastructure, deepen the city’s partnership with local schools, bring new development and jobs, and work to get more people interested in local government.
"We still have work to do, and that’s why I’m announcing I’m running again," Price said to applause during a news conference at the Brighter Outlook Community Center, a nonprofit center in southeast Fort Worth’s Stop Six neighborhood. "I want to give every one of our neighborhoods a chance to succeed."
Price, whose announcement was attended by several city council members and community leaders, joked about her packed schedule, saying staffers have started taking multivitamins to keep up, her husband "has started to wonder if I exist," and their daughter has said "we gained a great mayor but lost a babysitter."
On public transportation, she told the crowd, "you will see major changes in the focus on rail. Council has picked the ball up on rail, and we will get it delivered."
Asked how much money she’ll need to run the race, Price said that’ll depend on whether she draws a challenger. She said she has about $100,000 in her warchest, with a fundraiser coming up Feb. 13.
Filing for the May 11 city elections opened Wednesday, and closes March 1.
Incumbent Fort Worth council members W.B. "Zim" Zimmerman, Jungus Jordan, Dennis Shingleton, Kelly Allen Gray, and Joel Burns filed their re-election paperwork.
Fort Worth council members are campaigning in newly drawn districts, with the most changes in far North Fort Worth, where Sal Espino’s large District 2 was pared and portions of the far North sent to Shingleton’s District 7 and Danny Scarth’s District 4.
Scarth, who represents part the east and north sides and has announced he’ll seek re-election, drew an opponent Wednesday in Paul Gardner, 31, an Autobahn Porsche salesman who lives in the Heritage Trace area in the fast-growing Alliance Corridor.
Gardner, who said he hasn’t sought the backing of any interest groups yet, called himself a conservative who wants to deliver "efficient and responsive" government. Like many residents in the fast-growing far North Fort Worth, he said the city hasn’t kept up with providing services to new neighborhoods.
"I think the city of Fort Worth can do a better job of providing us better services," said Gardner, whose home was moved into Scarth’s district from District 2 in the city’s redraw.
Gardner attempted to draw no distinctions between himself and Scarth.
"At this point, we’re focusing on getting out there and knocking on doors," he said. "We’re going to have plenty of time to discuss differences."
Gardner, who named his wife Lindsey campaign treasurer, said he doesn’t have a sense yet of how much money he’ll attempt to raise or will need.
- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter