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Historic Election In Farmers Branch: Latina Runs For Council

Lauren Silverman

Hispanics make up nearly half of the population in Farmers Branch - and for the first time the city may have a shot at electing a Hispanic city council member. This comes after a lawsuit filed against the city’s at-large election system resulted in newly drawn single member districts, one of which has a majority of Hispanic citizens. 


Reyes is one of two candidates running for city council in the newly-drawn, majority Hispanic, District 1. She’s the daughter of Mexican immigrants and is district manager for Texas State Representative Rafael Anchia. Her election is significant because Farmers Branch has been an epicenter for policies some consider anti-immigrant.

In 2006, the city of made national headlines when the mayor proposed an ordinance banning illegal immigrants from renting housing. And even though the so-called renters ban was ruled unconstitutional in federal court, it and other proposals -- like making English the official language --  has put the city in the national spotlight. 

Bill Capener is also running for city council in District 1. He’s lived in Farmers Branch for more than two decades and has raised a family in the suburb.  He’s general manager of a printing company. Like Reyes, this is his first campaign, and he hasn’t raised nearly as much money as she has.

Capener got involved in politics in 2008, when he teamed up with friends to start the Farmers Branch Common Sense Citizens Group – associated with the Tea Party. The mission of that group is to advocate for lower taxes and less government intrusion.

The Candidates On The Issues:


Capener: Economic development, practicing the conservative principals of limited government.

Reyes: Environmental stewardship, reinvesting in the city & government transparency. Reyes wants to make council meetings more accessible by moving information online and hosting bilingual town hall meetings.

Reasons Voters Should Elect You For District 1 of Farmers Branch

Capener: “Having lived here in district 1 for 24+ years and having raised my children here and plan on retiring right here, I have a keen understanding of the needs and concerns of its citizens. ALL its citizens.

I possess the knowledge, the skills and the heart to clearly and honestly address, evaluate and then act accordingly on the issues that affect our district and our city at large.I will work with the Council, The City Manager, the Mayor and do that which is in the best interest of all the citizens in our wonderful community. I will have an open door open ear policy and work closely with neighborhood groups and its citizens to reflect their views and needs and unify and grow the community. That is what we need, that is what I will do.

I am pro growth, pro business, pro development and believe in responsible government and personal responsibility. Our city has tremendous potential to grow and I am committed to seeing the potential realized and achieved.”

Reyes: “Growing up in District 1, I have a keen sense of the challenges facing our community. As District Manager for State Representative Rafael Anchia, who represents the City of Farmers Branch in the Texas Legislature, I have gained the tools and insight to effectively work with surrounding municipalities and public entities to address residents’ concerns on quality of life issues.

With Latinos comprising seventy nine percent of the total population in District 1, I can effectively communicate with all residents. I will promote inclusiveness by ensuring that new city board appointments are reflective of the city’s demographics and I will host bilingual town hall meetings to ensure that every resident of District 1 has an opportunity to participate in discussions on key budget issues, infrastructure needs, and the overall welfare of Farmers Branch citizens.”

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.