For four years Fort Worth had the same city council, the longest period in the city’s history without a change in leadership.
But it did change Tuesday with Michael Crain, though he will not be the last new face behind the dais this year.
Crain and incumbents Carlos Flores, Cary Moon and Gyna Bivens were sworn in Tuesday for two-year terms. He replaced Brian Byrd, who ran for mayor but was unable to make it to the June 5 runoff, as the District 3 representative.
A real estate broker, Crain jokingly apologized for a long welcome speech in which he vowed to work on lowering the residential property tax burden by looking for savings and broadening the commercial tax base. He told city staff to continue working on innovative ways to improve services. He often choked up as he thanked his family and others for standing by him.
“We must meet people where they are, be timely and transparent and not expect them to find us through traditional communication channels,” he said.
Though this is Crain’s first office, he had previously served as the District 3 director for Byrd. The position involves coordinating between the council members, residents and city staff. He had been actively involved in SteerFW, a young professionals group designed to improve engagement with city business. He is the first member to be elected to office.
Other council members sworn in represent several years of experience. Bivens, who represents east side District 5, was first elected in 2013. District 4 council member Moon came to office in 2015 and Flores, the District 2 member, was first elected in 2017.
Crain will not be the only new face on the council.
Mattie Parker, a former Betsy Price aide and a nonprofit executive, faces Deborah Peoples, a former AT&T vice president and Tarrant County Democratic Party chair, in the runoff for mayor. After a decade in office, Price, the longest serving mayor, announced in January she would not seek a sixth term.
Dennis Shingleton’s decision to retire opened up District 7, where Leonard Firestone, the whiskey entrepreneur, faces Zeb Pent, self-employed.
The District 9 seat also opened this year after council member Ann Zadeh ran for mayor. Lawyer Elizabeth Beck, who ran for the Texas House last year, will be in the District 9 runoff with Fernando Peralta, a logistics specialist and president of the Rosemont neighborhood.
Two incumbent council members also face runoffs after not reaching the required 50% plus one.
For the southwest District 6, Jungus Jordan, the longest serving council member and Jared Williams, an educator and nonprofit leader, will be on the ballot. District 8 council member Kelly Allen Gray faces Chris Nettles.