News for North Texas

One Denton council member recently was recalled — and now another one faces a recall petition

The City of Denton lost former Council Member Alison Maguire in a recall vote in November. Now Council Member Jesse Davis is the target of recall petition.

Denton Council member Jesse Davis is the target of a petition drive seeking his recall. He is the second Denton council member to face a recall effort in recent months.

Five Denton residents began circulating a petition to recall Davis in early January, just a few months after Denton residents voted in the November election to recall then-Council Member Alison Maguire.

If the petition gets 254 signatures, Davis could face a recall vote in May.

The petition alleges that Davis “ignored the will of over 32,000 Dentonites.” It cites two reasons for seeking his recall:  

It claims that in early December, Davis voted against “an initiative to prohibit the routine arrest and prosecution of persons in Denton accused of committing low-level possession of marijuana offenses.” And it also states that in late June, Davis voted against a resolution “that favored deprioritizing use of City funds to investigate and enforce criminal laws related to a woman’s right to reproductive choice and healthcare.”

Davis said he has done a good job representing his district, and that his critics are focused too much on hyper-politicized national issues.

“We need to really be talking about streets and roads and utilities, paying the police and firefighters, building parks and libraries,“ Davis said.

Richard Gladden is an attorney who lives in Davis’ district and helped file the recall petition. He said he wants Davis to “be held accountable for ignoring the expressed desires of his constituents.”

Gladden said he was appalled that Davis voted against a resolution that “would have deprioritized Denton police authorities from investigating women who were considering exercising their right to choose.”

While Gladden is pushing for Davis’ recall, he is representing Maguire in her fight to get reinstated.

Maguire faced pushback after redistricting changed the makeup of her constituents. Many of her new constituents did not share her views, including her support for decriminalizing marijuana.

Davis believes that widespread frustration at the city attorney and the city manager is a key factor in the reason for the recall effort that has targeted him.

“It's utterly pointless,” Davis said.” I'm confident that people are going to go to the ballot box in May and they're going to vote their conscience on my record of service…the good I've tried to do for the city — and not participate in a very silly and childish game.”

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Mya Nicholson reports for KERA's government accountability team. She studies broadcast journalism at the University of North Texas.

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Mya Nicholson reports for KERA News as an intern assigned to KERA's government accountability team. She studies broadcast journalism at the University of North Texas.