Mayor Betsy Price and seven council members were sworn into new two-year terms Tuesday, thanking constituents, family, city staff and aides and promising to continue to confront the city’s tough budget issues and infrastructure needs.
The council also officially called a June 15 runoff for the District 5 seat, held by incumbent Frank Moss, who trailed challenger Gyna Bivens in the May 11 election. A third challenger, John Tunmire, secured enough votes to ensure neither Bivens nor Moss won the required majority.
Price, who backed all incumbents in their re-election bids, patted Moss on the back after presenting the other council members with certificates of election. Councilman Joel Burns congratulated his fellow council members on their wins “and/or pending win.”
Price and four council members ran unopposed and had already been declared by the council to be the winners of their seats. Moss, District 2 Councilman Sal Espino, District 4 Councilman Danny Scarth, and District 8 Council member Kelly Allen Gray had opponents.
Price, who won her second term, touted the council’s votes on the city’s budget and underfunded pension, encouragement of public-private partnerships such as the one with a Fort Worth foundation that will re-open the historic Forest Park Pool this weekend, increased public engagement, falling crime and a public safety response that “continues to improve.”
“We ran on the principles of fiscal responsibility and protecting our taxpayers, to get government out of the way, and let business thrive,” Price said. “I believe we’ve done that.”
Espino, who defeated challenger and former Councilman Jim Lane in the North Side District 2, said his race was a “grueling, hard-fought campaign, and we’re going to move forward in our city. So much more to do.”
“I’m truly humbled by the vote of confidence,” said Espino, who thanked his wife, Elizabeth, who was in attendance and wearing yellow, “the color of joy, of happiness.”
Scarth, who faced political newcomer Paul Gardner in the East/far North District 4, acknowledged the challenge of running in a redrawn district that took in significantly more of the far North. Gardner, who lives in the far North, won more than 40 percent of the vote.
“It’s been a little different running in these new districts; folks don’t always know what to expect from us,” Scarth said.
Gray, who defeated former Council member Kathleen Hicks in a hot race, had asked constituents to give her a shot at showing what she could do with a full term. Gray won a runoff last year to fill the remainder of Hicks’ term, after Hicks stepped down to run for Congress.
“We’ve had three elections in District 8” in the last year, said Gray, who Mayor Pro Tem W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman noted decided to hang pictures in her office Monday. “We officially have a two-year term, and it feels good to say we’re all going forward together.”
Council members who ran unopposed thanked constituents for the support.
Councilman Jungus Jordan, who won another term in his Southwest District 6, joked that “in District 6, if you run unopposed, it’s going to be a close election.”
Councilman Dennis Shingleton, who won another term representing the West Side District 7 that was redrawn to include much of the far North, choked up in thanking his wife and council aide, and said he was looking forward to working on upcoming city charter revisions, the 2014 bond package, and recreation and transportation needs.
Zimmerman, who won another term representing the West Side District 3, said “this is a job that is not without challenge. And there’s been challenge after challenge after challenge.”
- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter