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Politics

Fort Worth's New Mayor & City Council Take The Reins

Four Fort Worth City Council members sit onstage, laughing as Mayor Betsy Price wields a huge novelty gavel at her podium. She has her arm around Mattie Parker, who is also laughing.
Miranda Suarez
/
News
Outgoing Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price hands over a giant gavel to the new mayor, Mattie Parker. Price said former mayor Mike Moncrief gave her the gavel when she took office in 2011.

Fort Worth's new mayor, Mattie Parker, has officially started the job, along with the rest of the new City Council.

Parker was sworn in at a ceremony at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Tuesday night, along with the other winners of the June 5 runoffs:

  • Jared Williams (District 6)
  • Leonard Firestone (District 7)
  • Chris Nettles (District 8)
  • Elizabeth Beck (District 9)

The other four city council members — Carlos Flores, Michael Crain, Cary Moon and Gyna Bivens — won their elections outright during the first round of elections on May 1. They were sworn in last month.

A graphic lists the new Fort Worth Council members and their bios.
Hady Mawajdeh

Parker told the crowd assembled in the ballroom that she will work with her new colleagues regardless of their political leanings.

"The only thing that I am partisan about is getting things done for Fort Worth and our residents here in this community," she said. "My goal is unity. My purpose for the future and my approach is working together."

There was major turnover on the nine-member council this year. Everyone is brand new except for three returning incumbents: Carlos Flores, Cary Moon and Gyna Bivens.

That stands in stark contrast to the 2019 election, when every single Council member retained their seats.

Outgoing mayor Betsy Price’s departure is part of the reason why so many seats were open.

Two former council members, Brian Byrd and Ann Zadeh, ran to replace Price instead of running for reelection. Dennis Shingleton decided to retire.

Two newcomers also managed to unseat incumbents. In District 6, Jared Williams replaced Jungus Jordan, the longest serving council member. Chris Nettles replaced Kelly Allen Gray in District 8.

In his address, Nettles told the crowd he would push for change in the city. He brought up Atatiana Jefferson, a Black woman killed in her home by a white Fort Worth police officer in 2019.

That former officer, Aaron Dean, has been charged with murder and his trial is tentatively scheduled for August. But the nearly two-year delay is a source of pain for Jefferson's family.

Nettles told the crowd that he wrote a letter to the state of Texas and the judge presiding over Dean's murder trial, asking them to speed up the process.

"This case is in the matter of the state, and not city council, but I think it is our duty to show representation," he said. "Our city still continues to hurt, and we're going stand until something takes place."

Activists in the crowd echoed his message later in the ceremony. Right after Mattie Parker was sworn in, a group began chanting "Say her name: Atatiana Jefferson!"

Parker began her remarks after the chants ended.

"Thank you for being here," she told the activists. "Much appreciated."

Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at msuarez@kera.org. You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

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