Election Day is May 6 and the Fort Worth Report is committed to keeping you informed through our Election Central.
To help voters make informed decisions at the ballot box, we asked every candidate to respond to a candidate questionnaire intended to touch on the most pressing issues candidates may face while serving in elected office.
The candidate’s responses may be edited for grammar.
District 7 includes areas in northwest Fort Worth Fort Worth. To find out what district you live in, input your address here.
Municipal elections are coming up. Here are some key dates:
April 24: Early voting begins
May 2: Early voting ends
May 6: Election Day
Name: Jason Ellis
Occupation: Retire Military, Small Business Owner
What are your qualifications to serve on Fort Worth’s City Council?
My whole life has revolved around service and hard work. I served in the Army and deployed to Iraq on the sniper team. After my military enlistment and multiple deployments, I started a plumbing company here in Texas. I eventually sold that company and part of the purchase agreement I stayed on as a partner. District 7 in Fort Worth holds part of the Military base, with the district housing one of the largest amounts of military veterans and active-duty personnel, I am better fit to represent the men and women who wear that uniform. I built a plumbing company from the ground up and within 3 years we were grossing over 1 million in sales. I understand hard work, dedication and having a great team in place, almost 10 years later we are still profitable and growing. I know how to balance a budget and am diligent on stopping wasteful spending.
What are your top two priorities if elected to City Council? Describe briefly how you would approach these priorities.
First, we must address our infrastructure needs. In north Fort Worth, we have roads that have been neglected, largely due to a lack of representation on the council. We also have development that is growing at a more rapid pace than what our current infrastructure can support. I think we should build the roads ahead of the rooftops.
Second, I want to bring about real property tax reform. By lowering the tax rate, we can put more money in the pockets of our citizens. To do so, we will need to eliminate wasteful spending at City Hall so that the necessary city services such as police, fire, and infrastructure aren’t adversely affected.
How would you characterize the performance of city management over the past five years?
We live in the greatest city in the world, but there is always rooms for improvement. One example from the last five years is the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Department, whose primary purpose is to impose affirmative action programs. While these programs are meant to unite our city, the reality is that they do more to divide us. We as taxpayers are funding it. When this department was created it was given a one-million-dollar budget. Now, just three years later, it has a budget of $2.4 million. We should stop funding woke programs that divide and focus on things that unite us.
What is the single biggest issue your particular district faces?
Infrastructure is the biggest issue in District 7, on two fronts. First, we are one of the fastest-growing areas of the city but our infrastructure has not kept up. We need to build more roads ahead of more roof tops. Second, our roads in the northern part of the district have been neglected, largely due to a lack of representation from that area. Our council members in recent years have been from the southern part of the district closer to downtown. They often forget about north Fort Worth and our needs up in Lake Country. I will represent the entire district and not just the select few in my neighborhood.
How will you balance the concerns of your district vs. the city as a whole?
While it’s important for the Council, as a whole, to work together for the betterment of the city, it is the citizens of District 7 to whom I will be held accountable. It will be my job to be their voice and to represent them at City Hall. When they have any issue, I will have an open door to hear them and address their concerns.
How can city leadership work to ensure all Fort Worth residents have equal access to city services regardless of race, ethnicity, gender and income?
City services should never be based on race, gender, color, or creed. Our citizens are our citizens regardless of those factors and city leaders should treat all constituents equally.
Fort Worth’s annual general budget is currently around $915 million; do you feel this budget is appropriate, too large, or too small? If too large or too small, briefly describe how you would propose amending the budget.
Currently, there are no incentives for department heads to save money. Actually, it’s the opposite. They’re incentivized to spend their entire budget to ensure that they receive the same, or more, during the next budget cycle. We should look for ways to encourage fiscal responsibility within each department and pass the savings on to our taxpayers.
In 2023 the city will levy a tax rate of $0.7125 per $100 of assessed evaluation. If you would advocate for decreasing/increasing the tax rate what would you cut/add?
I would advocate for decreasing the tax rate and put more money into the pocket of our hard-working tax payers. In doing so, I would demand accountability from department heads and incentivize them to not spend their entire budget. Government should be run more like a business and that’s the experience I will bring to City Council.
As Fort Worth grows, how can the city ensure it keeps up with the pace of development?
This is a major issue for District 7 as we are one of the fastest-growing parts of the city and we have the most land that can be used for future development as well. We need a commonsense approach which would mean developing infrastructure ahead of building out more homes and businesses. Simply put, we need more roads before more rooftops.
In the last year, the city council has limited opportunities for public comment and changed meeting schedules. How would you approach community engagement as a council member?
I have put my personal cell phone on my campaign website and literature. I will be accessible to my constituents and, in turn, be their voice at City Hall.
What role does the City Council have in policing? Please describe how city council members should work to ensure the safety of their constituents.
Public safety is one of the most vital of city services. It’s important that we fund our Police Department so that they are fully equipped with the tools and training (quality training) to keep our citizens safe.
Have you ever filed for bankruptcy? If so, when.
Have you ever been convicted of a crime, in Texas or another state? If so, what crime and when.
You can find other candidates’ responses by reading our voter guide here. The candidate’s responses may be edited for grammar.