Whoever wins the Fort Worth City Council seats in District 10 and 11 next spring will have the opportunity to shape the new districts for the next decade.
As district boundaries change, priorities shift along with them. After the city completed the redistricting process, two new districts emerged: Districts 10 and 11. Reshuffling of current district boundaries created an open seat in the new iteration of District 4. The three open seats will present a unique set of challenges for its future representatives, current council members said.
“I think it’s just important that whoever it is that (represents the district), continue to advocate at the table for what their community needs and what their neighborhoods need,” said District 9 council member Elizabeth Beck, who currently represents several majority-Hispanic neighborhoods that will be part of the new District 11.
Residents can look up exactly which district they will fall into by entering their address into this map. Lines shifted across the city but mostly in the southeast and far north portions of the city, where the two new council districts were formed.
District 10 will contain parts of far north Fort Worth. The region has faced persistent issues with growth, and contains major economic centers like the Alliance Airport and Texas Motor Speedway. The new district is set to receive millions of dollars to build new roads in the far north.
In District 11, redevelopment is a major theme. Aging roads and infrastructure, along with economically depressed neighborhoods, are woven throughout the district. The district contains politically active neighborhoods, such as the Riverside Alliance, Oakhurst, Rosemont and Meadowbrook.
Who is considering running for city council in the new districts?
- Rick Herring, president of the Carter Riverside Neighborhood Association
- Cristal Galvan, executive director of the Tarrant Transit Alliance and board member of CDFI Friendly Fort Worth
- Tara Wilson, a nurse and former candidate for District 4
- *Christopher Johnson, business owner and former candidate in District 8
- *Alan Blaylock, current District 4 representative
* = The candidates have verbally committed to running for the seat
The deadline to add a candidate’s name on the ballot for the May 6, 2023, municipal elections is Feb. 17, 2023. Candidates may begin filing for a place on the ballot on Jan. 18.
Candidates can appoint a treasurer ahead of the first day of filing, signaling a decision to run for the seat.
After a contentious redistricting process, District 11 was formed to include parts of east Fort Worth with an arm that extends into south-central Fort Worth. The result is a district that will host a constituency with a Hispanic voting-age population of nearly 59%.
The neighborhood is chiefly composed of residential neighborhoods, but it has several commercial centers in the form of La Gran Plaza and Race Street. Portions of the district, along Interstate 35, are primarily industrial.
The central and eastern portions of the district are different demographically. Rosemont and South Hemphill Heights, in south central Fort Worth, are younger and more Hispanic than its eastern neighbors. Despite demographic differences, the areas have issues in common.
The Riverside Alliance, a coalition of neighborhoods in east Fort Worth, will be united for the first time since the city established single-member districts in 1975. These eastern neighborhoods will be tied to the majority Hispanic portions of the city in south-central Fort Worth currently in District 9.
“It’s going to be a challenge to sort of unify the district and maybe let it have a common personality,” said Rick Herring, president of the Carter Riverside Neighborhood Association, who is considering running for District 11.
Aging infrastructure, such as roads and street lights, link the two areas. The district representative will also have to address the threat of gentrification, Beck, who currently represents portions of District 11, said.
Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker and Beck have publicly expressed hope the seat will be filled by a Hispanic woman.
“I think you’re going to see a fellow Hispanic member of this community sitting alongside us in our new City Hall a year from now,” Parker said at a March 23 meeting approving the final map. “And I hope it is a female, a Latina, to represent this new district.”
Despite the district being drawn to create a Hispanic majority, there are a variety of factors that work against Latina candidates, said Dora Tovar, a business owner and longtime advocate for Latina leadership.
Often, community leaders ascend to become council members because they are appointed to boards and commissions by people already in power. Those mechanisms have not been at work for Latinas in Fort Worth for decades, Tovar said.
“There’s a pattern of ascension and building leaders in that arena,” said Tovar, who has also studied redistricting in Texas. “Not having the infrastructure to do so has been our challenge.”
Latinas in positions of power also often face harassment when running for public office, Tovar said. Latinas running for public offices often don’t get the broad base of support from other Latinos that is necessary to find success in public office, Tovar said.
That being said, Latinas would be best positioned to lead District 11, Tovar said. Latino residents are often treated as an afterthought and not invited to the table when decisions are made, she added. She pointed to development in the Southside and issues with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines as examples of decisions that negatively impacted Hispanic residents.
“The stakes are huge,” Tovar said. “It’s a cultural pattern to forget us.”
Cristal Galvan, a business owner who serves on several Fort Worth boards and is considering a run to represent District 11, said the district’s representative will need to focus on improving transit and spurring economic development through investing in corridors like East Lancaster.
“It needs to have a voice of someone who can bring the entire district together, who knows the issues of the district,” Galvan said. “This district has a lot of diversity in it.”
Galvan saw an opportunity for a more diverse council when the map was announced, she said. However, she believes a record of community service is what makes her most qualified to lead.
Jeanette Martinez, an executive administrator for County Commissioner Roy Brooks, appointed a campaign treasurer in June for a run in District 11. She is no longer planning to run for the seat, Martinez confirmed to the Report.
Tara Wilson previously ran in District 4, parts of which were moved into District 11. Wilson, who is a Latina, now lives in District 11 and has not made a final decision on running for the seat.
“My goal is going to be to build unity within the Hispanic community because there will be multiple Hispanic people running,” Wilson said. “No matter what happens at the end of the day, we have to support whoever wins.”
The Polytechnic Heights neighborhood is split by the new map. Residents east of Vaughn Boulevard will fall into District 11. Christopher Johnson, who previously ran for city council in District 8, will run in District 11. His focus is on community issues — such as access to food and recreation along with infrastructure and safety.
“I’ve heard so much about the concerns about how District 11 is drawn and again, it is unique but I see this as an opportunity,” Johnson said. “Lines don’t define a community, people define the community.”
Both east Fort Worth and south-central Fort Worth are home to deeply engaged neighborhoods, Herring said. Both areas have also struggled to be prioritized by their council members in the past. The next representative will also have to make informed zoning decisions, Herring said.
“They’ve always been in the corner of some district,” Herring said. “That doesn’t mean that the council person hasn’t been responsive and everything else. But I just feel like our neighborhoods have always been an afterthought, to whomever the council representative is.”
The new District 10 is in the far north reaches of Fort Worth. The chief concern of the new council member must be roads and infrastructure, Rusty Fuller, president of North Fort Worth Alliance, said. The area will receive about $50 million from the recently passed bond package for roads and transportation infrastructure.
Still, areas of the far north remain congested. Council members can play a pivotal role in getting those fully-funded road construction projects to the finish line, said Cary Moon, who formerly represented parts of the new District 10.
“So the roads are now all financed, it’s just going to be a challenge to get those roads built,” Moon said.
The district has a potential representative in current council member Alan Blaylock. Despite representing District 4 on the dais now, his home will fall into the new District 10.
Blaylock confirmed he will run for the seat in District 10.
“We’re looking at continued massive growth in the north,” Blaylock said. “The road infrastructure and the resident needs have gotten behind, we’ve got to keep pressing to get infrastructure built to make it easier for people living in those areas.”
The district will also be home to major economic engines in Fort Worth — Texas Motor Speedway and Alliance Airport. Both entities bring in millions of dollars to the city in the form of taxes, employment and name recognition.
The city’s partnerships with major employers in the far north have been key to Fort Worth’s economic growth, Moon said. The far north is also home to Hillwood, a development company, and other major job centers that draw residents to Fort Worth.
“You’re looking at Alliance Airport, by 2025, being a larger job center than the DFW airport,” Moon said. “That’s pretty significant.”
The area used to be represented by Leonard Firestone, whose district extends over 25 miles from Fort Worth’s Cultural District to Texas Motor Speedway. A representative who is solely focused on the far north will be an advantage to its residents, Moon said.
“It’s too large of a mass to adequately cover,” Moon said. “Having one person that services those 92,000 people that live up here, whose kids go to school here, and spends time up here will be good.”
District 10 will be more cohesive compared with Districts 4 and 11, Blaylock said.
Blaylock’s decision to run in District 10 creates an open seat in District 4, which will now include parts of northeast Fort Worth. District 4 consists of mostly new growth, but there is still a number of developable properties in the area.
The next council member will have to make zoning decisions that consider the future of the district and its tax base, Blaylock said.
Moon, the former councilman, lives within the boundaries of District 4 but has no plans to run for his old seat on the dais, he said.
The new lines will shape Fort Worth’s council elections until 2032, when the boundaries are drawn again.
Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at email@example.com 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.