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Outgoing Arlington council member Helen Moise says she's happy with the city's economic progress

Helen Moise sports a black suit, white shirt, white pearl earrings and black glasses. The Arlington City Council member representing District 1 has short, blonde hair.
Helen Moise
Helen Moise, Arlington City Council member for District 1, will term out of the council seat she's held since 2018. Moise is a former planning and zoning commissioner who spent 40 years in commercial real estate.

After six years representing North Arlington, Helen Moise, outgoing city council member, said she’s seen growth in the areas that motivated her to run in the first place in 2018.

Moise heard from young professionals that Arlington was not a desirable place to live.

“We didn’t have job opportunities, we didn’t have the retail brands and the new housing that other cities offered,” Moise said. “Our apartment stock was limited and aging. We had no greenfield land left in the north for single-family development beyond Viridian.”

At a time when the city contended with a surge of short-term rentals with no policies to regulate them, Moise observed that North Arlington was most affected by the influx. Moise helped shape the city’s current policy that allows short-term rentals within a radius of the entertainment district and in certain zoning cases.

“The ordinance is working, and I really do see that most people are very happy with the way it turned out,” Moise said.

Moise will cycle off the city council in June due to term limits. She is the only council member to have served during both recent votes on term limits – one in 2018, when voters approved three, two-year terms, and most recently in 2022, when voters extended term lengths to three years.

Three candidates have filed in the May 4 election for Arlington City Council District 1: Jacob Franklin, Mauricio Galante and Tim Goss. Four council seats are up for election, but District 1 is the only race without an incumbent.

Moise spoke with KERA’s Kailey Broussard about her tenure in office and the issues facing her successor.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

North Arlington economic development

“One of the things that I talked about a lot during that first campaign and spent several years on also was the need to fund our economic development corporation because Arlington had aged and some parts of it had become stagnant. I see North Arlington broken into two categories: the entertainment district and everywhere else.

“Let's talk about how we can add jobs, bring companies to Arlington, redevelop Arlington because when we talk redevelopment, we're talking two categories. One is multifamily and one is job creation. So when I took office, I learned that we had created an economic development corporation all the way back in (2015), but we never funded it. I sat down with (former Mayor Jeff Williams) and I said, 'Why are we not funding this?' He said, 'Well, you know, we don't believe the public sentiment is in favor of raising sales tax dollars to provide funding for this corporation.' I strongly supported and campaigned hard to bring the 25-cent sales tax to fund the EDC and bring that to a vote in 2020. So, you know, it takes time to set these up.

“It was 2021 before we could begin funding. And after a period of time, we're seeing results. One of the first investments was Bell Helicopter's expansion at the airport. We've recently taken steps to acquire (Arlington Municipal Airport) as the city-owned airport so we can advance job growth around the airport. The public private partnership with Trademark is partly made possible because of the EDC and that, that's for the redevelopment of Lincoln Square. ... That's going to be one of our larger and more visible investments, with Lincoln Square here in the north. But there are numerous, numerous other investments occurring around the city that will help with bringing jobs and pursuing redevelopment opportunities.”

Issues for future council members

“I think that they're going to have to work just as I have to understand that we have two economic development challenges in Arlington, and one of them is managing the growth of the entertainment district. The other is to understand that the entertainment district and everything else have to be managed separately. The entertainment district has a life of its own. There's no other way to put it: it's huge in how it affects everyone else. That's why we fought for a North Arlington police station that's going on Lamar Boulevard. It serves to divide just like short-term rentals. All of this serves to divide what's happening. And it's going to continue to happen and grow in the entertainment district, which is really a 2- or 3-mile area and everything else that's beautiful about living in North Arlington from Lamar Boulevard North.

“I really do think that North Arlington is doing a good job of adding jobs, bringing growth to North Arlington. But the fact is, we don't have the land left here in North Arlington to do very much of that. Until we can develop perhaps our area north of I-30, and the rest of that land is privately owned. We own about a third of it. Until we can bring companies, perhaps to build a campus there with office buildings on them, we're not going to impact North Arlington with jobs in any great number at the salary ranges I think we need to bring them to.”

Running during term limits

“The result of that election in November that year was that council members could serve three two-year terms with no timeout provision. In 2022, citizens voted a second time to modify term limits so that each member could serve three, three-year terms, which increased the total terms to nine years from six. So we have some council members serving six, which is only me; others seven or eight; and then the other new ones will be serving a full nine.

“I think the result of term limits to me is that we've seen more diversity on council. But we've also lost a lot of knowledge and history of Arlington because we basically have members that are still learning how the city's governed. Fortunately, we have very strong leadership with Trey Yelverton in place as city manager and other key management positions have a lot of tenure in them. So, that's helping.

I think the one thing that I would like to have seen is the ability, where you could term out for a term and then come back. I look to people like Victoria (Farrar-Myers). She could term out and come back. She was, you know, an outstanding council member. Or she could run for District 1 and bring her knowledge of district one and experience to this. So I think it's working in the way it was intended to work in that we see a lot more diversity on council. I think maybe with nine years on council, we'll see some stay that long and build that knowledge base that right now I feel like, it's been kind of a hurdle for us.”

Got a tip? Email Kailey Broussard at

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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.