Mayoral candidates debate issues in the 109

As Fort Worth’s May 14 mayoral election approaches, four of the five candidates discussed some of the major issues facing the city at a debate hosted by the Overton Park neighborhood association at the 109’s Congregation Ahavath Sholom on Sunday, April 17.

The four candidates present at Sunday’s debate were Betsy Price, Jim Lane, Dan Barrett and Cathy Hirt. The fifth mayoral candidate, Nicholas Zebrun, was unable to attend.

Among the issues discussed were the Trinity River Vision project, the state of the city’s budget and education.

Overton Park neighborhood association treasurer Blake Woodard introduced the candidates and discussed the importance of Sunday’s forum.

"Wherever I go, no matter where it is in Fort Worth, I don’t see near as many campaign signs as I see in Overton Park, in Tanglewood and TCU," Woodard said. "I’m wondering if this election is not really for the mayor of Fort Worth, but maybe for the mayor of Overton Park."

Two of the candidates for mayor – Price and Barrett — are 109 residents who are members of the Overton Park neighborhood association, Woodard said.

Price kicked off the forum with an opening statement. She said, "I’m running for mayor not to be something, but to do something."

As a Fort Worth native, Price said that her primary concern was for the taxpayers of the city and making sure that their funds were being managed well. She previously served as the tax assessor of Fort Worth.

Lane, also a Fort Worth native, said he believes the focus of the city’s next mayor should be public safety, schools and neighborhoods.

"The job of the mayor in this great city is to create a consensus, to be a leader," Lane said.

Barrett, a former state representative, said he was running for mayor to, "change business as usual."

Among his main concerns was the allocation of taxpayer dollars and city spending.

"Fort Worth is a place where we not only live, but a place where we have very much invested and I care a lot about this city," Barrett said.

Hirt, who has been a resident of Fort Worth for the past 20 years, said she has come to love the city and sees the upcoming election as a "golden opportunity" for the future. She added that while business experience is important for the city manager, the new mayor needs to have leadership and vision to help direct the city’s policy.

Early voting locations and other voting information is available on the Tarrant County Elections website.