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New Arlington council member promises to uphold 'American dream'

Tarrant County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Mary Tom Curnutt wears a black judge's robe and swears in Long Pham, a claims supervisor and U.S. Army veteran, onto Arlington City Council June 28, 2022. Pham wears a dark blue suit and is holding his right hand up to mirror Curnutt and is flanked by friends and family in Arlington's City Council chamber.
City of Arlington
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Tarrant County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Mary Tom Curnutt swears in Long Pham, a claims supervisor and U.S. Army veteran, to the Arlington City Council June 28, 2022.

Long Pham, a claims supervisor and U.S. Army veteran, promised to work for and respond to Arlington residents after being sworn in as an at-large council member.

Pham says he lives the "American dream," which he defines as success through hard work. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1975 as a teenage Vietnamese refugee following the fall of Saigon. He worked as a custodian to help his family before serving in the U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve.

"I can't ask for more," he says after being sworn in Tuesday evening. "I promised the voters that I would work hard, and that's the best I can do."

Pham won 57.4% of the 8,033 votes cast over Albert Parra, an oncologist, in the June 18 runoff. The candidates were the top vote-getters in the city's May 7 general election, but neither claimed a majority of the votes.

Pham had significant support from big names in Arlington and Tarrant-area politicians. His website lists endorsements from Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, former Mayor Jeff Williams, former Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, state Rep. Tony Tinderholt and former Rep. Bill Zedler.

Parra had support from outgoing District 6 Council member Ruby Faye Woolridge, local philanthropists Dan Dipert and Linda Dipert and former council members Sheri Capehart and Dr. Ignacio Nunez. Parra also received endorsements from Arlington Board of Realtors, Young Men for Arlington, MPAC Arlington and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Woolridge left city council to run for Tarrant County Commissioner Precinct 2 instead of a second term. Woolridge lost the Democratic primary. However, she secured the Democratic nomination for the District Clerk race after the previous nominee moved out of the county, according to a June 21 party announcement.

Woolridge says the highlights of her time on council include being elected in November 2020; building relationships with Tarrant County officials, Arlington Fire Department and the local Board of Realtors; and serving families.

"I've had the chance to live my dream and to make a difference in people's lives," she says.

Council members and Mayor Jim Ross commended Woolridge's work, passion for the city and ability to bring fun to her work.

"I've met few people who have had such a passion for what she does," Ross says. "She is a true servant of her community."

Pham is the second new council member to be sworn into city council this spring. Voters elected Bowie Hogg, a longtime Arlington school district board member, to at-large District 7. Incumbents District 1 council member Helen Moise and District 2 council member Raul Gonzalez ran uncontested.

Got a tip? Email Kailey Broussard at kbroussard@kera.org. You can follow Kailey on Twitter @KaileyBroussard.

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Kailey Broussard is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). Broussard covers the city of Arlington, with a focus on local and county government accountability.