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'It's officially time...to get to work' — new Dallas City Council inaugurated at Tuesday ceremony

Downtown Dallas Skyline
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Dallas' new city council was inaugurated at a ceremony Tuesday. That includes two new council members.

Dallas City Council members were sworn in on Tuesday morning during an inauguration ceremony at the Morten H. Meyerson Symphony Center in downtown. The horseshoe will see two new members, with the rest of the council being reelected during May’s general election.

Not all council members attended Tuesday’s ceremony. District 1 Council Member Chad West and newly elected District 10 Council Member Kathy Stewart were both absent from the event.

Stewart and newly elected District 3 Council Member Zarin Gracey are the two new members of the council.

During a special called council meeting on Monday, Dallas officials also elected all Black council members to leadership positions.

Council Member Tennell Atkins was elected as Mayor Pro Tem and Council Member Carolyn King Arnold was elected Deputy Mayor Pro Tem.

These positions are decided by council members among themselves.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson is the 60th mayor to lead the city. He was sworn in by U.S. Senator John Cornyn while the rest of the council were read their oath of office by Dallas Administrative Judge Preston Robinson.

Along with Cornyn, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz was also in attendance at Tuesday’s event. Johnson thanked them both for their presence at the inauguration, despite having to leave early to attend a scheduled vote in Washington D.C.

“They actually came in the middle of a workday,” Johnson said.

Cornyn says despite their differences, he and Johnson have united over a common goal of trying to fairly represent their constituents.

“Now more than ever, in these highly polarized times, that work requires a heavy dose of bipartisanship,” Cornyn said. “We have to work together, where we can.”

Most of the event centered around Johnson’s inaugural speech which detailed many of the same talking points his most recent campaign was run on. Those include the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, violent crime reduction and what the mayor sees as economic development wins.

“There’s a reason why Dallas is capturing the attention of people around the world,” Johnson said on Tuesday. “We’ve been called the ‘Wall Street of the South’. And we’ve even been called the ‘new Dubai’.”

He says in the last few years Dallas leadership has championed city hall corruption by amending the ethics code, invested in city-wide restorations and made major progress on property tax relief.

“We have honored our residents by uniting behind an agenda that prioritizes those that have to live with the consequences of our decisions,” Johnson said.

Johnson thanked those in attendance at the ceremony and says the real work for the newly sworn in Dallas officials, starts now.

“It’s the honor and privilege of the lifetime to continue serving the incredible residents of this city,” Johnson said.

Got a tip? Email Nathan Collins at ncollins@kera.org. You can follow Nathan on Twitter @nathannotforyou.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gifttoday. Thank you.

Nathan Collins is the Dallas Accountability Reporter for KERA. Collins joined the station after receiving his master’s degree in Investigative Journalism from Arizona State University. Prior to becoming a journalist, he was a professional musician.