By DIANE XAVIER
The Dallas Examiner
Monday Night Politics: Meet the Candidates, presented by The Dallas Examiner, concluded April 5. The forum, held online, featured candidates running for the office of the Dallas City Council District 8 seat: Tennell Atkins, Subrina Lynn Brenham, Lakolya London and Davante Peters.
During the forum, candidates introduced themselves and provided information about their platforms.
Atkins is the District 8 incumbent and was first elected in June 2007.
“My message to the voters is straightforward,” he said. “My records show that I can get things done for our district. Over the past years, you have allowed me to serve. Good things have happened. Thousands of new jobs, new companies, better infrastructure, better parks and recreation. Neighborhood cleanup, reducing animal control problems and a big mark key project to revitalize RedBird Mall, which is helping small businesses bring opportunities to our neighborhood. I love this district and I genuinely care. We have a lot more to do. We need better roads, more shopping and food resources. More jobs. I have been working efficiently to address our needs. I am willing to keep up the good work for my next term.”
“This is a campaign about demonstrating leadership for the community. During the pandemic, I was on the frontline helping distribute masks to the people, helping them to get tested and now helping with the vaccination drive. During the winter storm, I was out helping to get our power back up. Despite these short term challenges, we still keep progress going on RedBird. We repaired hundreds of streets. We improved our parks and we keep pushing on economic development. We don’t stop there. We get things done. I still have what it takes to do what it takes to keep this district strong. To make our neighborhoods safe and our environment and to serve you. I have never had more passion to help this district than I do today. I ask for your vote so we can move forward. We tried to get $5 million dollars to get a grocery store here but no one took the $5 million dollars. That is an issue we have to figure out how we can make sure a store owner can get the right people there. We are building sidewalks. We have more businesses coming to District 8 than other parts of the city because of my leadership.”
London is a local activist.
“I am the candidate that we need and we need to get rid of the career politicians,” she said. “That’s all it seems that is in our local government now, national and state. I am here because I have been working in this city for a long time and we need social justice. The reason why I am here today is because we need change at city hall. We also have a council member that said redlining doesn’t exist. It does exist. I have a problem with him saying that. And maybe not for him but it is for other people in this city. I am in this race for a reason. I was planning on showing up this time, and I want everybody to know that I will show the change that is necessary and needed in this city.”
“I am the person that will fight for you no matter what. I will not turn the blind ear to anything. Whenever you need to call me, I will respond. I will be the person to fight for your grocery stores. I will be the person to fight to satisfy your needs as well as your health. I will also do whatever I can to get police presence in the neighborhood because we need them during the daytime. I have seniors telling me that they need people during the daytime patrolling their neighborhoods, and I will fight and make that happen. If there are any issues, I will fight for it because one thing I do know how to do is fight. One thing we have to do is supply our needs. We need a grocery store. We need police presence. We need economic development.”
Brenham is a busineswoman who owns a beauty supply store and tax service.
“I lived in the district since I was three years old,” she said. “I received all my education from elementary through high school and college, Paul Quinn College where I graduated in 1996. I have been a business owner in the area in District 8 for 18 years. District 8 has many needs. We have so many disparities in District 8 and the list just goes on and on. As a community activist, I provided food boxes and have fed many families in District 8. I have provided and donated school supplies for years. And annual voter registrations I have provided also. What I am focusing on is that we have some health disparities in District 8, one of which is infant mortality. I still serve at the Community Action Network and I volunteer with Parkland Healthy Start. In that capacity, I lobbied Parkland Hospital to build a new clinic at District 8 which is now being built. I did that because of the high rates of infant mortality in District 8 and 75241 and 75232 are two of the highest areas in District 8 with infant mortality and a lot of it comes from all this environmental racism that we have with all this toxic air filling through our air in District 8.”
“Enough is enough. It is time for a change. I am seeing some things in District 8, so I want to do something. I want to get us in some good trouble for District 8 and become your next council member. With my integrity, my loyalty and my commitment, I will keep an open door policy. I will return your phone calls. And I will listen to you to make sure that I understand everything that you are talking about and not just listen and then don’t do anything. That’s not me. I will keep that transparency to prevent any disparity and all the disparities that continue to arise in District 8. My profile interest, my integrity and my leadership qualities will allow me to work with the people and make the right decisions and implement policies for the best of the people, the way of life in District 8. And also to make the stakeholders of District 8 want to stay in District 8 and live here and be comfortable and love where they live.”
Peters is a businessman who owns a health store, as well as an activist and musician/rapper.
“You are now looking at the new face of the new leadership in Dallas, Texas,” he said. “I am the youngest person on the ballot, but don’t get it twisted because I have been out here for a very long time – putting in work all the way from Highland Hills to Pleasant Grove, all over Oak Cliff. I grew up in this district, and I have really grown up all over Dallas. I am also a store owner. I own a health store in Glendale Shopping Center. I am also a community activist, a community organizer. I was a member of the Dallas 9 protest that we led for Botham Jean and to spread awareness of police brutality back in 2018. I lead a series of patrols in Highland Hill which dramatically changed and decreased the violent crimes in this area, specifically the Greens Apartments. I grew up in Oak Cliff but I also lived in Carrollton for a little while so I know what it is like on both sides of I-30 and both sides of I-45. I am here to make a difference, and I am the new face of leadership. They always say that young people need to do this, young people need to do that. Well, you are looking at a young person right now who has the ability to connect with these other young people.”
“I want you to understand that your health is your wealth. I will educate the people about health issues and the effects of living in a food desert. And educate them to understand that where there is demand for good food, the stores are going to come. I am also going to bring younger voices to the council and bring younger voices into leadership so we can go against the status quo that is holding up progress in the Southern Sector. I would also like to ask what is your council person if you cannot reach them. … I will be that candidate that will listen to you that you can call. … I run for the people. I am not a career politician. I am a “peopletician.” … I am running to support the youth. I am the people’s candidate. If you want a new day in Dallas, vote for me because District 8 needs a new leader.”
Each candidate also participated in a Q&A session during the forum. To view the entire forum, visit https://www.dallasexaminer.com or The Dallas Examiner facebook page at https://www.facebook/thedallasexaminer.
Early voting for the elections starts April 19 and Election Day is May 1.