Both candidates for Arlington City Council District 3 want a second term representing the southeastern part of the city.
Incumbent Nikkie Hunter, who works in health care administration, was first elected in 2021. She replaced Marvin Sutton, who ran for mayor instead of a second term, then for Tarrant County Judge.
Sutton said he decided to run again after three neighborhoods in the district lost heat during freezing temperatures. Hunter initially planned a town hall with Atmos Energy representatives and the public. However, the meeting was scaled down to a discussion with city officials, the company and a neighborhood representative.
Sutton said in a phone interview he would’ve handled things differently.
“If you’re going to really try to solve problems, you’re going to try to solve it without having people yelling and screaming in the room,” he said. “And all that was going to be is people venting in that room.”
Among his platforms for the May 6 election, Sutton has listed lowering property taxes, job creation through economic development, bolstering public safety through technology and neighborhood watch groups, upgrading infrastructure and transparency in environmental policies.
During his first term, Sutton pushed for greater distances between natural gas drilling and day care centers. Before joining council, he also campaigned in favor of term limits that initially restricted council members to three, two-year terms. Voters approved a change in November that lengthened terms to three years.
Hunter, who works in health care, has campaigned on safe neighborhoods, lower taxes, street conditions, community relationships, funding law enforcement and supporting small businesses. She said in an early March interview that her accomplishments in road safety include adding a streetlight to Raglan Road and pedestrian crossings on Mansfield Road and South Collins Street.
Hunter also says she’s hosted a record number of town halls and neighborhood meetings during her first term.
“We do them once a month, and I have made house calls,” Hunter said.
Sutton said Hunter’s town hall meetings, while frequent, lacked focus.
“I don’t know if that was the best use of taxpayers’ dollars because sometimes, you’re using staff and facilities,” he said. “If you’re going to call a meeting, the meeting has to have purpose.”
Both candidates have discussed their election history. Sutton has run since 2015; Hunter won her first election for public office. She used the fact to her advantage during a March Arlington Republican Club Group forum said.
“The biggest difference between us, I’m just gonna be blunt: I ran one time, I stayed in office. My opponent has run several times, and he basically stepped down for something bigger,” Hunter said.
Sutton ran for mayor in a crowded 2021 race, Tarrant County Judge in 2022, and several Arlington City Council campaigns, said those failed campaigns have taught him how to fight.
“I learned to keep the faith and I learned to focus,” Sutton said.
District 3 covers Arlington east of Matlock Road and south of Pioneer Parkway. The district includes Arlington Municipal Airport, the Arlington Highlands and Tarrant County College. Early voting in Tarrant County runs April 24-May 2. Election Day is May 6.
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