Elected in 2018, Tarrant County commissioner Devan Allen served as the only female on the court and the first African-American elected to Tarrant County Commisioner’s Court Precinct 2.
On November 23, 2021, Allen announced that she would not seek reelection.
Now, two Democratic candidates are looking to secure their party’s nomination for Precinct 2 in the March 1 primary election.
County Commisioner’s responsibilities include construction and conservation of any county road or facility in their respective precinct, and attending to the needs of people living in their area.
The commissioners are elected to a term of four years, earning an annual salary of over $188,000.
Both candidates have made it their priorities to focus on COVID-19 services, healthcare, and affordable housing for residents. The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Andy Nguyen in the November General Election.
The Fort Worth Report spoke with the two candidates to learn more about their beginnings and their goals if elected as County Commissioner Precinct 2.
Early Voting starts on Monday, Feb. 14. Election Day is Tuesday, March 1. Last day to register to vote in the Primary election is January 31. To find out more information about the upcoming election, visit Tarrant County’s elections website.
Ruby Faye Woolridge
Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Ruby Faye Woolridge witnessed her mother, a union steward, represent workers who felt they had been mistreated at their jobs. Through this, Woolridge found a passion of helping her community, self-proclaiming herself as a servant leader, rather than as a politician.
That path led her to work in civil service. She currently is the District 6 City Council member for Arlington and is seeking a seat at the Tarrant County Commissioner’s Court for Precinct 2.
“I found my happy place. Service is it, and so that’s how I evolved into what I’m doing,” she said.
In 1984, Woolridge and her family moved to Arlington, where she became active with her neighborhood, addressing issues she saw with the school system in the city. She also worked alongside a community of parents in 1990 to get the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday recognized in the school district’s calendar.
Woolridge has over 35 years of experience as a minister and worked for over 25 years as a school counselor for Fort Worth ISD.
If elected, she said, her top priorities would be to fight for affordable healthcare, and improve services for COVID-19, making it more accessible to residents.
“I’ll be pushing for more [COVID-19 services] than at the county level, I’ll be pushing for county wide,” she said. “The need is not only in Arlington. It’s everywhere.”
In addition, Woolridge wants to fight for transportation improvements, affordable housing and public safety services.
“I’ve got my ear to the ground, because I am in the community,” she said. “I am a city council member at large, so I know this city from the southern tip to the northern tip.”
Alisa Simmons was born and raised in Austin but has spent over 35 years as a resident and active member of Arlington.
Simmons is acting president for the Arlington Branch of NAACP, where she focuses on advocacy work and support for residents struggling with housing that has “real change and real results for the community,” she said. Simmons is seeking a seat on the Tarrant County Commissioner’s Court for precinct 2.
For 12 years, Simmons worked as a journalist with various news outlets in the DFW Metroplex, where she learned what she considers to be an important asset: transparency. Through this, she wants to be a leader who is available to citizens, she said.
After her career in journalism, she transitioned to over 20 years as a county 911 administrator.
If elected, she wants to focus on improving social, health and child education programs to match the growing population in Tarrant County.
“[Growth] puts pressure on our human infrastructure.” Simmons said. “Our greatest need is to expand our ability to meet our citizens’ needs without busting the budget and without raising taxes.”
Additionally, Simmons wants to focus on ensuring the federal COVID funds are best spent — lowering property taxes for residents, and making housing more affordable.
“I have a heart for the community, it doesn’t matter about me,” Simmons said. “I just cannot stand to see people struggling, and people who need help and they don’t know where to turn. I will fight for those people.”
David Moreno is a spring fellow reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.