A Champion for the Issues That Matter MostThroughout my career, I have worked across the aisle to develop creative solutions to the issues Dallas is facing — from the lack of affordable housing to access to high quality, full-day pre-K. I have learned that we are best able to craft real solutions to such problems when we hear from those representing all walks of life.
A Champion for All of Dallas
I want to bring our city together and lead it boldly and intelligently into the future. I fear that our city government is becoming more and more like Washington, with factions increasingly dug in against one another instead of being one strong team. The tone at City Hall is also becoming angrier and our city government less productive. I am running a campaign that mirrors my leadership style: I am reaching out across our city, to everyone, to build a diverse, winning coalition.
The next Mayor of Dallas must be a person of the highest integrity who possesses both intelligence and good judgment and who also has proven leadership abilities. By this high standard, I am uniquely qualified to serve as Dallas’ next Mayor. My career in the Texas House of Representatives has been completely devoid of ethical lapses, and I have been among the members most focused on ethics reform. My education has prepared me to work closely with our city manager on the intricacies of public policy where desirable and appropriate. Finally, I have proven my judgment and leadership abilities over nearly a decade representing Dallas-based House District 100 in the Texas Legislature. There, I have been a leading advocate for funding full-day pre-kindergarten to improve educational outcomes for our kids, providing police officers with body cameras to enhance the safety of our neighborhoods, and a range of other vital issues.
An Education Champion
I want to serve Dallas as Mayor because Dallas is where I found educational opportunity. I grew up here, in very modest circumstances. But with a lot of hard work and support from my family, church, neighbors, and teachers, I was able to graduate from some of the finest institutions of higher education in the world. Then I came back to Dallas to raise a family and help more Dallasites find and develop their potential. By serving as Mayor, I can inspire kids who come from the same humble beginnings that I did, and I can use the weight and the visibility of the office to lead our city in a direction that will give our youth more educational opportunities in order to find their own success.
As one of Dallas’ state legislators for the past nine years – including two years as Chairman of Dallas’ legislative delegation – I have pushed hard to expand full-day pre-kindergarten and ensure that our youngest students have certified teachers. Right now, I am fighting to ensure that our schools are equitably and adequately funded by the state. And I have filed a bill to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by getting a better handle on how schools administer suspensions and the effect those suspensions have on students. This bill complements one I passed last session ending all suspensions of pre-kindergarten through second grade students statewide.
As Mayor, I will leverage the influence of the office to be Dallas’ education champion. I will focus on the issues that need to be addressed — expanded full-day pre-K, better alignment of our schools with 21st century workforce needs, and better access to affordable child care — and build momentum and energy around addressing these issues.
An Ethics Champion
Like my friends and neighbors, I was disheartened to read recently another account of a Dallas city leader choosing bribes over serving our city's interests. Dallas deserves better from its leaders — and it shouldn’t fall to our city's residents to root out political corruption. I’ve fought political corruption in the Texas Legislature, and I’m ready to take that fight to City Hall to ensure our families have leadership we can trust.
In the Texas Legislature, I fought to prevent corrupt lawmakers from ever collecting a taxpayer-funded pension. Now, I’ve filed ethics reform legislation to end the corruption that has plagued Dallas politics. And I am committed to rewriting the City of Dallas’ Code of Ethics to end the culture of corruption at City Hall once I’m Mayor.
Honesty and integrity have been my guides as a father, husband, and leader, and that’s the kind of Mayor I’ll be.
A Crime-Fighting Champion
As the son of a former Dallas Police Department officer and the North Texas Crime Commission’s 2014 “Crime Fighter of the Year,” I see three things that will help end attrition and increase the hiring of new officers: a salary increase focusing first on the lower end of the pay scale, securing the police officer pension, and improving morale.
Police officers do not become police officers to get rich, but they do care how much money they make, particularly compared to their peers in neighboring cities. We should never again allow our police pay scale to fall so far out of line with our neighboring cities. As Mayor, I will closely monitor officer compensation and work with our city manager to make sure we are compensating officers fairly and competitively.
No one running for Mayor better understands the complexity and difficulty of our police officer pension situation than I do as an experienced municipal finance attorney and state legislator. Nor is anyone better equipped to go to Austin when this issue is back before the Texas Legislature and help broker a deal that is good for our police officers and good for Dallas. My relationships in Austin are second to none. As Mayor, I would use these relationships for the benefit of our city, as I have for the past nine years as a legislator.
Finally, if you ask rank-and-file Dallas Police Department officers – like my dad or the current officers I talk with almost daily – they will tell you that improving morale is just as important, if not more important, as compensation when it comes to attracting and retaining talented officers. Our police officers want to hear from the Mayor regularly, and they want to know the Mayor has their back. I can think of no better person than the son of a former Dallas Police Department officer to serve as Mayor and to let these valued public servants know that they are appreciated.
A "Smooth Streets" Champion
Dallasites want and deserve to drive on smooth, well-maintained streets in their neighborhoods and on their way to work and school. Spilled coffee and vehicle damage from potholes should not be considered a fact of life. Count me and my wife, Nikki, among this crowd (although I do not drink coffee).
But Dallasites also do not want their neighborhood streets or commuter routes to be closed, coned off, or detoured for several months, or even a year, just so some elected official can say that he or she is being responsive. For example, I know personally the great inconvenience that residents of the White Rock Lake area have endured due to the prolonged closure of Lakeland Drive between Ferguson Road and Garland Road in order to repair a bridge.
When street conditions start to affect your life – as they have for thousands of Dallasites – this naturally becomes one of the city’s most important issues. But these issues can only be solved when we come together to address them. As Mayor, I will work to fast-track street repairs the best way I know how: by leading the community in a comprehensive study and dialogue around what the best cities do to prioritize, commence, and complete street repairs. I will work closely with the city manager and city engineers who deal with these issues daily, and I will make sure that we prioritize fixing the most high-impact streets first, regardless of where they are located in our city. Most importantly, I will work to ensure that the city completes street repairs quickly, so that the cures to these problems do not themselves make traffic worse.
A Neighborhoods Champion
I grew up in West Dallas and Oak Cliff, two parts of our city that are often mentioned when the topic turns to reviving neighborhoods. My family still resides in these neighborhoods. No one in this race knows these places better or cares more about them than I do. My concern for these neighborhoods is not the product of a poll or focus group, and therefore my commitment to these neighborhoods is not subject to change.
My experience in the Texas Legislature, along with my graduate-level public policy education, has taught me that solutions to problems like equitable neighborhood revitalization are complex. The best outcomes occur when an experienced leader guides a diverse, community-wide exploration of national best practices to find policy tools that will actually help those we want to protect.
This is exactly what I will do as Mayor. We will consider every policy tool that cities have used to increase affordable housing and minimize displacement of low-income residents in neighborhoods like those we want to revive. As Mayor, I will guide community conversations about a range of solutions – including some we haven’t even discovered yet.
We must also connect workforce readiness with neighborhood revitalization and affordable housing strategies. We can make housing more affordable by moving more Dallasites from unemployment or low-skill jobs to mid-skill jobs, increasing wages in the process. I was the first candidate in this race to identify workforce readiness as a major issue facing our city. As Mayor, I will appoint a workforce czarina and work with her to move thousands of Dallasites out of poverty and into the middle class through formal partnerships with a range of organizations.
A Transportation Champion
As Mayor, I will work toward solutions that move Dallasites around their city as quickly and safely as possible, and at the lowest cost, so they can spend more time enjoying their lives and less time in traffic.
I am proud of my proven track record on transportation issues. I pushed the Texas Department of Transportation to improve the intersection of Gaston Avenue, Garland Road and East Grand Avenue (known as the “3G” intersection to East Dallas residents), one of Dallas’ most dangerous and inefficient intersections. The redesigned intersection will be safer for cars, cyclists and pedestrians, feature new green spaces, move cars more efficiently, and shorten commutes for thousands of Dallasites.
As Mayor, I will sit down with Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) leadership and our city manager to improve DART’s delivery of services to the people who need them. I have a long history of working with DART, and I know its leadership well. I have worked with DART to address serious concerns about access to programs and services for senior citizens and low-income residents in the far eastern part of my district. I will work to get DART to commit to focusing on increasing mobility within the City of Dallas by revamping its bus service to be more responsive to the needs of Dallas families.
Dallas needs a Mayor who can get our city and our regional transportation entities working together. And getting people to work together just happens to be my specialty. The key is leadership — leadership that can bring different perspectives together, help all sides bring out the best in each other, and leverage everyone’s strengths around innovative solutions focused on people. I have been doing this my entire life. The diversity of my coalition speaks to my success in finding common ground and creative solutions to difficult problems.