Did you catch the debate Wednesday hosted by the chambers and the Fort-Worth Star Telegram? 

One of the candidates likened it to “speed dating for political candidates.”

It covered topics such as development displacing residents, rebuilding after the COVID-19 pandemic and giving everyone access to art.

Toward the end, the moderator, Ryan Rusak, asked the candidates to identify a Texan – or better yet a Fort Worthian – that they would model their approach as mayor after and explain why. We’ve collected the candidates’ responses in the hopes you find it helpful: 

Mattie Parker
Candidate for Fort Worth mayor Mattie Parker discusses city issues at the open forum held on Thursday, April 1, 2021. (Cristian ArguetaSoto)

Mattie Parker: Pete Geren, Fort Worth attorney and businessman who represented the 12th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989 to 1997 and went on to serve as the 20th Secretary of the Army from 2007 to 2009

“He truly embodies what a statesman looks like, an inclusive leader who listens and takes actions that are always solutions-oriented and gives back to our city. That is the type of leader I am and want to embody to continue to move this city forward. Pete is a great example of someone who has his feet firmly planted in our history, but also looks forward to grow this fine city into a world class place where we can have jobs, opportunity, education and all for every single child in Fort Worth.” 

Daniel Caldwell, candidate for Fort Worth mayor

■ Daniel “DC” Caldwell I: Allen Shivers, who served as governor of Texas from 1949 to 1957

“I don’t agree with him on everything he did, but he was remarkable in that he was nominated by both the Republican and Democratic parties at the same time. … He worked not just as an authoritarian, but diplomatically in establishing roles and schedules and committing power to get work done.”

Deborah Peoples
Mayoral candidate Deborah Peoples answers questions on stage at the Fort Worth mayoral open forum on Thursday, April 1, 2021. (Cristian ArguetaSoto)

Deborah Peoples: Activists Opal Lee and Pauline Gasca Valenciano (deceased)

“They have made me who I am. They are about inclusion. They are persistent and they are dedicated and they were committed. They saw Fort Worth as it could be and worked to bring everybody to the table, so those are two women that I loved and two women that I still love who were my mentors. And they loved Fort Worth more than anything in the world. They loved it as much as I do.”

Zadeh-Peoples
Candidates Deborah Peoples and Ann Zadeh listening to other candidates answers at the Fort Worth mayoral open forum on Thursday, April 1, 2021. (Cristian ArguetaSoto)

Ann Zadeh: Kenneth Barr, who served as mayor of Fort Worth from 1996 to 2004, and Sandra Dennehy (deceased), who had an architectural practice in Fort Worth and served on numerous boards and committees including as president of the Berry Street Initiative for 17 years, which helped revive a long-neglected south-side city corridor, according to her obituary

“The way he worked with his entire council and spoke with everyone and brought everyone to the table on all decisions even if he knew that someone was going to be in disagreement with him,” Zadeh said of Barr.

“She was a community advocate and a community leader who worked in neighborhoods bringing people together and improving her own neighborhood, and that is the kind of leader I’ve been in my own neighborhood, it’s the kind of leader I’ve been as an appointed official and it’s the kind of leader I’ve been as a council member and the kind of leader I would be as mayor,” Zadeh said of Dennehy.

Candidates Brian Byrd, Mylene George, Mike Haynes, Cedric Kanyinda, Steve Penate and Chris Rector were not present. 

Leroy Scott has withdrawn from the race, according to the city secretary’s website.

Early voting starts Monday, so go to vote411.org for your personalized voting information from the League of Women Voters Education Fund.

Jessica Priest is an investigative journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at jessica.priest@fortworthreport.org or via Twitter.

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Jessica Priest

Jessica Priest is Fort Worth Report's government and accountability reporter. She was previously on USA TODAY's regional investigative team. After Jessica reported that a Midland County prosecutor worked...

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