Mayor Mattie Parker looks back on one year in office – Welcome to the City of Fort Worth

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Posted on June 16, 2022



This article was created on June 15. Listen to the audio version of this message.

A year ago today, I stood on a stage alongside my colleagues on the Fort Worth City Council as one of six new faces transforming its membership, and took an oath to serve this city. and its inhabitants as mayor.

A two-thirds turnover in the governing body and the loss of decades of city council experience in a single election could have been destabilizing, especially amid Fort Worth’s explosive growth, aftershocks from a global pandemic and national political and cultural calculations.

But it is with immense pride that I look back on the last 365 days to see what we, as a community and as a council, have been able to accomplish by truly leading with a focus on what unites us rather than what divides us.

And what unites us, above all, is our focus on the highest quality of life for residents of Fort Worth. We understand what we are responsible for as a municipal government: the most basic services that matter most, simple things like garbage and recycling picked up weekly, clean water flowing from every faucet, beautiful parks and green spaces, enriching libraries and community center services. , continuously updated and expanded roads, and safe neighborhoods for every resident and family, regardless of zip code.

Fort Worth has long been a city of excellence, built by the pioneering spirit of policy makers who have come before us and everyday leaders who thrive in Fort Worth communities: visionaries in business, education, philanthropy and community advocacy. I believe we have only added and developed this base of civility and compassion, and Fort Worth is better today than it was a year ago.

Despite unrest at all levels of government across the United States, the people of Fort Worth can be proud that their leaders are committed to positive policies and building consensus, perhaps best exemplified by the unanimous 9–0 vote to adopt a new redistricting map in subsequent months. intense and sometimes controversial discussions.

Plus, voters showed their confidence by approving a $560 million bond package that will feed our growing city by expanding streets and mobility infrastructure, building or improving numerous parks and recreation sites, public libraries, police and fire safety facilities, and acquiring open spaces.

We have implemented exciting and innovative economic development initiatives that will launch dynamic new businesses, such as the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator. We’ve connected Fort Worth’s underserved communities to funding to help businesses reach their full potential with CDFI Friendly Fort Worth. We’re showing the world that we’re open to technologies that are transforming the financial landscape by launching the City of Fort Worth Bitcoin Mining Pilot Program.

There are so many vital projects for our future that we can be proud of. The Downtown Flood Control Project has made tremendous strides and the Texas A&M University System’s Downtown Urban Research Campus takes its first steps. In addition, to serve our most vulnerable, soon 165 permanent housing units with support services will enable us to deal with chronic homelessness in our city.

We invest aggressively in the next generation, with efforts to fund early childhood educators, expand childcare infrastructure and bringing together the best and brightest thought leaders to guide our future funding with the Blue Ribbon Action Committee on Child Care.

Even as we celebrate the triumphs of the past 12 months, there are still so many challenges ahead.

We are battling an increase in violent crime and the devastating effects of gun violence, with 45 homicides so far this year after 2021 where there were 118 homicide victims, a 27-year high in Fort Worth. This is unacceptable. Addressing these issues will require a multifaceted approach that I shared in the wake of the Uvalde tragedy: leaders who champion common-sense policies, expand and fund programs that work, and lead with a mindset that is both pro-police and pro-community. I am proud that Fort Worth stands out from other big cities by having a city council dedicated to meeting the needs of its police officers. We will not back down on funding and we will support Chief Noakes’ dedication to implementing best practices that ensure his principles of safety, well-being and resilience for the police service and the community he serves.

Our students are struggling to overcome a steep academic slide. In 2021, only 28% of students in grades three to eight achieved grade level on their math and reading exams. Our children and our teachers deserve more attention, and it will take the efforts of school systems, municipal leaders and nonprofit organizations to get students back on track. Ultimately, whether your child is in public school, private school, charter school, or homeschooling, every student in every zip code deserves a high-quality education. Our classrooms must also prepare students for success in life, which is why I created the Mayor’s Council on Education and Workforce Development to help improve educational programs and career paths in Fort Worth public schools to prepare students for their future careers, even those yet to be invented.

Over the next few months, issues important to our residents will continue to come before City Council. There will be a debate on further economic development issues related to growth and a focus on how to keep taxes low in the face of rising real estate valuations. Residents who continue to face increases in the cost of living caused by inflation will need strong and compassionate city services more than ever.

A year ago like today, I am convinced that we are ready to seize these opportunities and more, emerging stronger.

Next year, your municipal council will consist of 11 members instead of nine. This will be another shakeup, but it’s definitely one we can look forward to for what we can do for our growing community.

I want to sincerely thank Fort Worth for the care and support I and my family and husband have received over the past year and for agreeing to have a mother of young children to reconcile life and public service. Thanks.

In a year, I look forward to returning to the Fort Worth that has become a better version of itself. Our greatest is yet to come.

Photo: Mayor Mattie Parker

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