Local NewsFive Candidates Look to Replace Betsy Price as Fort Worth Mayor

Since Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price announced she would not seek reelection, five candidates have entered the race for her spot.
January 18, 2021
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After long-time Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price announced that she does not plan to seek re-election, several candidates filed to run for mayor of the fifth largest city in Texas, a position that pays $29,000 annually. The municipal election will be held on May 1, but early voting will begin on April 19.

Brian Byrd, a 50-year-old physician who grew up in Fort Worth and moved back about 20 years ago, is currently the District 3 representative on the Fort Worth City Council. 

Byrd has worked to revitalize the Las Vegas Trail area of Fort Worth and helped raise funds to open a center to help victims of human trafficking, according to his campaign website

He said in a press statement about his candidacy, “Fort Worth has all the necessary tools to become the most attractive city for quality and high paying jobs in the State of Texas. That’s why my agenda will include keeping property taxes low, attracting new quality and high paying jobs, improving our education and workforce development networks, and supporting our police to make sure Fort Worth remains a safe city. I look forward to meeting voters across the city over the next four months and earning their vote.” 

Mike Haynes, who ran for mayor as a write-in candidate in 2019, has filed to run again in 2021. He is 32-years-old and is a native of Fort Worth. Haynes listed his occupation as CEO on his application for a place on the ballot.  

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Deborah Peoples also ran for mayor of Fort Worth in 2019, garnering about 42 percent of the votes cast. Although the municipal race is technically non-partisan, Peoples is currently the chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party. Her ballot application states that she has lived in Fort Worth for the last eight years.  

In a press statement on her website, Peoples explained her reasons for running. 

“This city has been a beacon of hope for my family and for me,” said Peoples. “With your help, we have shattered many insurmountable odds. However, the election for Fort Worth’s next mayor is not about my family or me. We have a chance to ensure a united Fort Worth that will no longer be referred to as quadrants like east side or west side or south side or even zip codes.”  She explained her priorities, saying, “From engaging all neighborhoods, to addressing public safety, to being more inclusive and respective of other’s points of view, we must and we can be One Fort Worth.” 

Chris Rector hopes to become the next Fort Worth mayor. The 58-year-old disabled veteran describes himself as “blue collar, through and through.” According to his ballot application, he has lived in Fort Worth for two years. 

He is advocating for “Personal Freedom, Economic Freedom and a Debt Free Future, for our city” according to his Facebook page, adding that “I have a sincere passion to serve the citizens of Fort Worth. Our city needs full transparency, integrity and positive change. I will focus on revitalizing our economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, absolute priority will be given to public safety as well as lower and fair tax rates.”

Ann Zadeh, who has served as the District 9 representative on the Fort Worth City Council since 2014, is also a candidate. The 54-year-old city planner previously served on the city’s zoning commission. She has lived in Fort Worth for over 25 years. Zadeh serves on the Regional Transportation Council for the council of governments and actively promotes public transit. 

Zadeh said in her candidate video that many people have asked her over the years about the possibility of running for mayor. “Fort Worth is not without problems and important pressing issues that need to be addressed,” Zadeh said, listing rapid growth, city services, lack of adequate affordable housing, and racial equity as some issues that concern her.

“I believe I have a lot to offer Fort Worth, and I have decided that my best chance to make those important improvements for better lives for all of our residents is by running for mayor,” Zadeh said.

Candidates may file for a place on the ballot until February 12.

UPDATE: Mattie Parker, who served as chief of staff for Price for five years, is running as well. The 37-year-old attorney announced her candidacy on January 19. “I am running for Fort Worth Mayor to help every neighborhood in every part of our city thrive and prosper — not one family should be left behind. This starts with classrooms of excellence for all students, strong police and fire services, an economy that helps small businesses create jobs, and an efficient and customer-friendly City Hall,” Parker’s website states.  

According to her ballot application, Parker has lived in Fort Worth for 14 years. She founded two non-profit organizations that aim to help students with skills to succeed in the workforce. Parker is no stranger to politics, having served as district director for Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX-12) and executive assistant to former Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick (R).

Also joining the race is Steve Penate, a self-proclaimed “outsider” and local real estate agent. He pointed out in his candidate video his ability to overcome significant obstacles in life. He grew up in a single-parent household, worked hard cleaning houses, and overcame a speech impediment in order to engage in successful public speaking. Eventually, Penate was the first in his family to graduate from a university.

Penate also mentioned that he is “not a politician and not part of the establishment,” but that he wants to serve as mayor “to see our city thrive.” His vision for Fort Worth includes a desire to lower property taxes, invest in education, reduce regulation, and create a business-friendly environment. 

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.

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