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Making History, And Eating Cake, In Farmers Branch

For the first time in the history of Farmers Branch, a Hispanic council member has been sworn in. Ana Reyes, 39, will represent District One – which has a majority of Hispanic residents.

Reyes isn’t the first Latina to run for city council in Farmers Branch, but she is the first to make it all the way in this Dallas suburb.

Last year, a voting rights suit on behalf of ten Latino plaintiffs brought Farmers Branch its first single-member district elections – and the district Ana Reyes now represents.

Along with the mayor, Bill Glancy, the majority of city council members opposed single-member-districts in Farmers Branch. Jeff Fuller has been on city council for a year, and showed up for the swearing in ceremony of newcomers Ana Reyes and Kirk Connally.

“I don’t believe Farmers Branch is big enough for single member districts,” Fuller said, “But the judge ruled, let’s abide by it and move forward.”

Which is what everyone at the reception seemed to be doing – in between sips of pink punch and bites of chocolate cake, the new council members smiled for photos. Reyes thanked everyone for their support, including her parents and sister, who came to witness the historic event.

“Our family has been here for 37 years here in Farmers Branch,” Reyes said, “And I just am so honored to have the opportunity to serve the city and the citizens that have given me and my family so much. I’m honored and I’m ready to get to work.”

A first test for this new, more diverse council will be whether to pursue the controversial – and so far unconstitutional -- ordinance banning undocumented immigrants from renting housing in Farmers Branch. 

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.