Joe Ashton, who serves as both the mayor of River Oaks and city manager of Pantego, is running for a seat on the Tarrant Regional Water District board of directors. 

Ashton’s tenure as mayor will end in May. He was elected in 2020 following an unopposed campaign to lead the small Tarrant County city of 7,500 people. Ashton, who previously served as a city council member and mayor pro-tem, said he has the skillset to oversee the water district’s budget and meeting process. 

“Because of my experience, I understand transparency as far as not only doing what you need to do as a district but making sure people know why you’re doing it,” he said by phone. “Water is our most important resource, and both water quality and quantity and conservation are very important.” 

As city manager in Pantego, Ashton oversees the town’s budget and all administrative departments and subdivisions. Surrounded by Arlington and Dalworthington Gardens, Pantego is home to 2,500 people.

Theoretically, Ashton would be eligible to work for a city that interacts with the water district as long as he recused himself from deliberating on matters that impact Pantego, he said. Since Pantego is completely landlocked and does not purchase water resources from the water district, that shouldn’t be a problem, Ashton said. 

Ashton is running for one of two at-large seats on the board, which has five seats. Voters select two candidates for the positions, and the top two vote getters win the seats. Board members serve four-year terms. Election Day is May 6. 

Charles “CB” Team and Marty Leonard currently occupy the two seats up for election. Team was appointed to the seat in January after Jim Lane’s death in November. Leonard has indicated her plans to retire this year after 17 years on the board. 

Candidates have until Feb. 17 to file for a place on the ballot.

Haley Samsel is the environmental reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Her position is supported by a grant from the Marilyn Brachman Hoffman Foundation. Contact her by email or via Twitter.

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Haley Samsel is the environmental reporter for the Fort Worth Report. You can reach them at Her coverage is made possible by a grant from the Marilyn Brachman Hoffman...