Three out of four Fort Worth City Council incumbents are keeping their jobs. Another is in a runoff. So the council’s direction is unlikely to change.
Shortly before 10 pm Saturday night, Kelly Allen Gray yelled out to supporters at her home, “We won!”
It was good to be her this weekend. The Fort Worth District 8 City Council woman has held office just nine months. She faced well-known challenger Kathleen Hicks, who had served seven years on the council, stepped down to run for Congress, lost, and was trying to regain her council seat. But Gray won easily with a 10 point margin.
“Ms. Hicks was our council woman for seven years, but I’m not a stranger to the community. I was born and raised in Fort Worth. You’re standing in the neighborhood I have lived my entire life.” Gray continued, “I have for many, many years worked in the community so it wasn’t like I was a stranger to anyone.”
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said Kelly worked hard and has done a good job.
“Her constituents were pleased with how open she is, and willing to work with them and be out in the neighborhoods. Kathleen has done a great job, but Kelly’s star is up there now,” Price said.
In North Fort Worth District Two, 8-year incumbent Sal Espino saw his star stay bright. Current Tarrant Regional Water Board member and past City Councilman Jim Lane was running to regain his council seat, but Espino won re-election by 10 points.
“I think Fort Worth voters are saying that Mr. Lane has served 12 years on the council and Water Board. I think tonight they’re saying 'Jim, you need to stay on the Water Board. Sal you’re doing a great job. We want you to continue to represent us and I think it speaks to a new generation of leadership. I think, if I may borrow a cliché, the torch has been passed to a new generation of leadership,' ” Espino said.
In District 4, incumbent Danny Scarth easily beat Paul Gardner. But in Council District 5, there will be a runoff between incumbent Frank Moss, who received 44 percent of the vote, and first-time challenger Gyna Bivens, who pulled 47 percent. They’ll meet again June 15th. The rest of the council now looks ahead. Mayor Price, and council members Espino and Gray say voters are demanding transportation and infrastructure improvements, and, as city leaders, they’ve made those the city’s next top priorities. As a result, they expect a $276 million bond package in 2014.