Our new City Council members

The Dallas Examiner | 6/22/2015, 10:42 a.m.
Four new people have been elected to serve on the Dallas City Council for Districts 3, 4, 7 and 8. ...
Black Dallas The Dallas Examiner

The Dallas Examiner

Four new people have been elected to serve on the Dallas City Council for Districts 3, 4, 7 and 8. These four districts are the designated African American districts on the council.

Casey Thomas will replace Vonciel Hill Jones to represent District 3; Carolyn Arnold will replace Dwayne Caraway to represent District 4; Tiffani Young will replace Carolyn Davis to represent District 7; and Erick Wilson will replace Tennell Adkins to represent District 8.

Arnold won to represent District 4 with over 51 percent of the vote on May 9 and therefore was not in the runoff election.

Thomas, Young and Wilson won their districts in a runoff election held June 13.

All four new Black council members are a younger generation than previous Black council members. Additionally, they bring to the council different educational and work experiences. All four have previous experience serving the city of Dallas on boards and committees, which is a plus. Dallas City Hall and city politics will not be foreign to them.

Thomas graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor of business administration degree. He taught in Cedar Hill ISD and Dallas ISD, and during that time, he founded the Young Men of Distinction Male mentoring program at A. Maceo Smith High School. He has served as the youngest president of the Dallas NAACP.

His platform includes: Working with the district schools to enroll as many students in high-quality education programs as possible, presenting opportunities to mentor students – especially in literacy, building community and business partnerships that present learning opportunities that will lead to jobs for graduates, helping rebrand the district’s image and showcasing its achievements.

Arnold is a veteran educator of Dallas ISD. She is the State Board of Education appointee of the Technology Apps Standards Committee, chairman and organizer of the Oak Cliff Leadership Council, a member of the Oak Cliff Proud Planning Committee and Texas Organizing Project.

Her platform includes: Promoting a clean, safe and educated community; strengthening community programs and city infrastructures; promoting economic development and job opportunities; and identifying strategies to address poverty.

Young attended Florida A & M University and University of Arkansas School of Law. She graduated from Texas Wesleyan School of Law. She has served on the City of Dallas Youth Commission. She was appointed by Councilman Dwaine Caraway to the Park and Recreation Board to represent District 4. A few years later, she was reappointed to the board by Davis to represent District 7.

Her platform includes: Dedication to her community and improving the efficiency of the parks and recreation facilities in her district.

Wilson is a teacher with Dallas ISD. He studied strategic leadership at Amberton University where he received his bachelor of business administration. He went on to the University of Texas at Austin to earn his master of business administration. He has served as the Political Action Committee vice president of the Dallas NAACP and the first vice president of the Progressive Voters League-New Era. He is currently working with Southwest Center Mall to create a family entertainment facility.

His platform includes: Working to increase code enforcement officers, improving the permit process to decrease the timeframe to issue permits, helping promote development while advocating for additional green space opportunities in the district, and working to create and improve transportation. To fund these programs, he will work to find efficiencies in the budget processes and the increased tax base through building higher income homes to fund programs.

We expect that they will represent us well – will listen to our needs and will work for what is in the best interest of the African American community and the city of Dallas. They will be our voice at City Hall.

It will be our responsibility to communicate with them. To stay informed on key issues, to attend City Council meetings and if we can’t, to watch the meetings on television or online.

We must stay involved. We want Dallas to be one of the best cities in the United States. To do this, our community must have jobs, accessible housing, recreational opportunities, a quality education system, and clean and safe neighborhoods – for everyone.

Join the conversation. Send your letters to mbelt@dallasexaminer.com.