Q&A: Meet the candidates running for Fort Worth City Council District 4

Five candidates are vying for the Fort Worth City Council District 4 seat in May 2021. (Community Impact staff)
Five candidates are vying for the Fort Worth City Council District 4 seat in May 2021. (Community Impact staff)

Five candidates are vying for the Fort Worth City Council District 4 seat in May 2021. (Community Impact staff)

Learn more about the candidates running for Fort Worth City Council District 4 ahead of the May 1 election. Early voting is from April 19-27.


DALLAS-FORT WORTH



Fort Worth City Council District 4










Cary Moon*



Occupation: Small business owner


Experience: Professionally, I have served as a CEO of a bank and CFO of a $48M medical company and have built buildings and opened new businesses from Fort Worth to Keller to Roanoke to Southlake. I have a good understanding of our city finances and operations, uncovering millions of dollars in lost revenue and saved hundreds of thousands in unnecessary expenses while correcting government inefficiencies.






Why are you re-running for office?



CM: Serving since 2015, I’ve been an effective member of the Fort Worth City Council. Representing all of Fort Worth but specifically [District 4], I have been a strong voice for the 250K-plus residents north of Loop 820. As a parent, business owner and longtime resident, I enjoy serving my neighbors while working to make our city better.



If elected, what will be your top three priorities?



CM: (1) Lower property taxes: With city revenue, increasing property taxes is never an option. I have identified tens of millions of new city revenue that was not property taxes. Altering the investments in the city’s $1B investment portfolio and increasing user fees and citations for more than 300 revenue GL accounts. Maintaining the effective tax rate in each fiscal year is a top priority. (2) Fund police: I support funding police: increasing patrols, school resource officers and more. And, while recognizing the importance of our improvements to community policing. We have added crisis intervention teams, crime prevention programs, de-escalation training, and increased the purchase of non-lethal weapons. (3) Get our roads built faster. We have secured the financing for all major road improvements. We need to get our roads built faster by changing how we manage ROW acquisition, utility relocates and engineering design.



What do you see as the city's role in addressing the coronavirus pandemic?



CM: Not increasing taxes to make up for the expected revenue shortfall remains a top priority. Distribution of the vaccine. Lastly, the government needs to get out of the way of our businesses as they open back up.









Kristie Hanhart



Occupation: Business owner


Experience: Small business owner, community activist, volunteer. I have also served on many boards.






Why are you running for office?



KH I believe that we can improve on the work that has been done, and I can be a great asset to the council.



If elected, what will be your top three priorities?



KH: Bridge information gap on COVID-19 vaccines, reduce violent crime without racial profiling or excessive use of force and continued economic growth.



What do you see as the city's role in addressing the coronavirus pandemic?



KH: We need to get out as much information as possible, especially the areas of high-risk citizens that may or may not have internet access.









Tara Wilson



Occupation: Registered nurse


Experience: 10-year nursing career; A.A.S.N.- Associate Degree Applied Science of Nursing (RN); 6 years ER/charge nurse/psych management/crisis intervention; 2 years community advocate/volunteer; small business owner NOTAM Medical Aviation Consultants. My experience in having to make critical decisions under immense pressure makes me more than qualified to make crucial decisions at a city level. Being able to think a few steps ahead as to what possible outcomes, needs, and/or unexpected findings may come up, also qualifies me to have the vision for decisions that would affect the city for years to come. I manage large teams under stressful conditions and have to work across multiple disciplines to achieve the best outcomes. I also believe that through my professional work and community work that they speak to my ability to be in a service role, which is what a position like City Council should be with no expectation of anything in return.






Why are you running for office?



TW I’m running for office because I’ve witnessed firsthand the way our current City Council interacts with community members of Fort Worth. I’ve witnessed how community members' concerns for their homes, livelihoods and health have been disregarded. As a result, I believe the way Fort Worth is governed has to change. The poor way residents are given information about city matters, the lack of collaboration in decision-making, and the lack of intentional forward-thinking also serves as pressing reasons for a change in leadership in a world that is going to continue having the challenge of dealing with a pandemic, budget shortfalls and class inequity.



If elected, what will be your top three priorities?



TW: Transparency/community engagement. There needs to be more transparency in how decisions are made at the city level. There needs to be more information sharing with communities, small business owners and community partners. This is especially true when it comes to big projects or zoning issues that could change the way neighborhoods or communities look and feel on the front end and not on the back end after crucial decisions have been made and public meetings just become a formality. Community investment. Investing in communities first should be a priority. While growth is needed and it is a part of the future for Fort Worth, we can’t forget that our communities make up the city and ensuring that they have access to affordable housing, resources and strong infrastructure is what’s really going to sustain growth in the city for decades to come. Responsible budgeting. We have to ensure that the budget is allocated fairly and that oversight of the budget is in place with reviews occurring regularly to ensure tax dollars are not wasted or used inappropriately. Implementing effective metrics, (which are not currently in place), for all city departments and city businesses will help attain this goal.



What do you see as the city's role in addressing the coronavirus pandemic?



TW: As a medical professional and having to be on the front lines of COVID-19, I think the city should follow sound medical guidelines for mitigating the spread of COVID-19. So we should be leading by example and not be hosting super spreader events, or if we do, we should be enforcing strict COVID-19 guidelines at these events, which current leadership in the city has not been doing. Creating a catchphrase and then being out in public not following your own guidelines diminishes public trust, faith and confidence in the leadership of the city. Perception is very important, and residents of Fort Worth should not be lacking in confidence in their leadership. We also should be joining efforts with county and community partners to get residents vaccinated to trend upwards to achieve herd immunity. Collaboration through all public agencies should be a priority to reach high-risk populations of Fort Worth with education, information, and resource availability when it comes to all things COVID-related.









Max Striker



Occupation: Attorney


Experience: I have a business degree from the University of North Texas and a law degree from Texas Wesleyan University. I’ve been a practicing attorney in the Fort Worth area for 14 years. I also served in the U.S. Army Field Artillery from 1990 to 1994. I am also a writer. With my experience in resolving disputes, especially in resolving and negotiating civil cases or in my dealings with the city of Fort Worth, I can bring all sides to the table and end the endless bickering we have seen in the last few years by finding solutions where we, as a people, can agree.






Why are you running for office?



MS As an attorney, I think I can bring a unique perspective. I deal with and represent people in all walks of life. I also deal with the city of Fort Worth on a regular basis on code compliance and other ordinances. In my practice, I also handle criminal cases and civil cases. This background gives me a good understanding of the issues facing the city from many different points of view. I also ran in the last election. Even though I was not very well known and a political novice, I still garnered 27% of the vote, which I think gives me some name recognition and a good base to start with.



If elected, what will be your top three priorities?



MS: 1. Maximize Fort Worth infrastructure. The city’s infrastructure needs to be upgraded, the streets should be safe for cyclists, Fort Worth should be a place where people want to be seen, schools should be top-grade, and we need to create an environment where businesses can thrive and taxes stay low. At the very least, we need to be sure that our water supply is safe. We don’t need to be boiling our water in Fort Worth. There must be a backup power source if the power is cut to our water treatment facilities. 2. Maximize Fort Worth’s character. We should ensure new developments increase community value, promote the image of the city of Fort Worth, and support solutions for neighborhood involvement. Fort Worth has a southwestern character, and I think that should be embraced. 3. Maximize public safety. I don’t think we should cut the police budget. I really feel like we are returning to the '60s protest era. In the ’60s, this had to do with the rise of the Soviet Union. Today this probably has something to do with the rise of China. Even so, protestors usually center around legitimate complaints, and the best solution locally is to address these complaints by enhancing community communication, understanding the protesters' point of view and using new ideas and new solutions to resolve these issues.



What do you see as the city's role in addressing the coronavirus pandemic?



MS: The COVID-19 situation is a serious health issue. Many of my family members have come down with the virus. Although most people are mildly affected by it, vulnerable populations such as the elderly or people with pre-existing conditions can have life-threatening effects. For this reason, this virus should be taken seriously. Hopefully, the Texas vaccine distribution plan will, as promised, protect our vulnerable population first and eventually wipe out this virus by this summer. However, emergency orders should always be temporary and should be ratified by the people’s representatives after a short period of time. As the late Rush Limbaugh has said, far too many politicians got politically drunk on the power emergency orders gave them. They need to be reined in. We are a Democratic Republic; we have representatives–not rulers. I, like many of you, am very worried that if we don’t push back on this power grab, America will rapidly devolve into a Banana Republic.









Jorge L. Chavez



Occupation: Risk analyst


Experience: I grew up and was raised in Fort Worth. I understand the needs of the city. I also hold a major in business finance and economics and working in risk compliance for a nonprofit organization. I have learned to understand how to minimize losses, maintain a budget, while at the same time remaining compliant with current regulations.






Why are you running for office?



JC The reason I am running for office is simple. I want to give back to the city I grew up in while at the same time advocating and being a voice for the residents of Fort Worth, ensuring that their needs and concerns are being answered.



If elected, what will be your top three priorities?



JC: If elected my three priorities would be safety, support of small businesses, community development (COVID-19-related aid, efficient public transportation, review of permits). Fort Worth has had an increase in homicides, something not seen since 1995. This is an issue that's to be resolved, why is this happening and what can be done to get it under control. COVID-19 affected our small businesses, the backbone of Fort Worth’s economy. We need to keep supporting those small businesses and listening to what they need to keep them afloat and moving forward in a safe manner during the pandemic. Lastly, community development; we need to figure out where the aid Congress approved for local and state governments has gone and if it has been used to aid Fort Worth and its residents. Provide more efficient public transportation that can be via our buses, train system, bikes, etc. The city is growing, but public transportation isn’t keeping up with that growth. A lot of apartment complexes have been popping in recent years all through Fort Worth, and you would think rent prices would come down, but they are not. My concern is that Fort Worth is giving a lot of permits to build apartment complexes that are not affordable for a lot of Fort Worth citizens and not enough to build buildings for future local businesses, parks/green spaces, houses, etc.



What do you see as the city's role in addressing the coronavirus pandemic?



JC: The city’s role in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic is that it should keep advocating for use of masks in public or high traffic areas, social distancing, provide mask and protective gear to vulnerable citizens, have a coordinated effort with local organizations, state and federal agencies in how to minimize financial and social liabilities related to the pandemic.


By Sandra Sadek
Sandra Sadek covers the cities of Grapevine, Southlake and Roanoke as well as Carroll ISD for Community Impact. She graduated from Texas State University where she majored in journalism and international relations. She has experience working for several local papers including the University Star, the Katy Times, and the Fort Stockton Pioneer. When she's not on the ground reporting, she enjoys a good book and a hot drink. Follow her on social media @ssadek19.


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