Dallas swears in new city council at ceremony attended by U.S. senators
The new Dallas City Council got sworn in on June 20 with a ceremony at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center that drew political celebrities like Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker and U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.
The new city council slate was elected on May 6, but out of 14 newly elected council members, only two are actually new, with 12 returning incumbents.
The two newcomers replaced council members who'd reached the end of their terms:
- District 3 city council member Zarin Gracey, replacing outgoing Casey Thomas
- District 10 council member Kathy Stewart, replacing outgoing Adam McGough
City council members serve a two-year term, with a maximum of four consecutive terms. The first meeting of the new council will be on June 28. They'll then be off during July and return for their next meeting on August 9.
Each council member was given a plaque and a photo op, drawing rounds of applause from their fan clubs in the audience. District 6 council member Omar Narvaez's team also wielded purple neon glow sticks.
Kathy Stewart was a no-show.
The ceremony was streamlined, with performances by the South Dallas Concert Choir, but featured a few firsts:
- For the first time, city council members were not allowed to bring spouses or partners to join them.
- For the first time, Dallas has three African-Americans in its top three slots: Mayor Eric Johnson and newly appointed Deputy Mayor Carolyn Arnold King and Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins. Usually, the mayor pro tem and deputy mayor positions are a mixture between African-American, Latino, and white.
Cornyn introduced Johnson's mayoral address, calling him "my friend Eric Johnson."
"People are surprised we’re friends and at first glance we don’t appear to have much in common," Cornyn said. "We come from different generations, we come from different races, different political parties, and not only that, he holds three Ivy League degrees and I have none."
"Despite those differences, we began working together and realized we share something in common which is that we care deeply about the people we serve," Cornyn said. "In these highly polarized times, we have to work together when we can."
Both Cornyn — and later in his speech, Johnson — touted the city's low crime rate, and both celebrated the "Texodus" of people and corporations relocating to Dallas.
"Dallas is an economic giant," Cornyn said.
For keepsake value, the council lineup is as follows:
- Mayor Eric Johnson - incumbent
- Chad West - District 1 incumbent
- Jesse Moreno - District 2 incumbent
- Zarin Gracey - District 3
- Carolyn King Arnold - District 4 incumbent
- Jaime Resendez - District 5 incumbent
- Omar Narvaez - District 6 incumbent
- Adam Bazaldua - District 7 incumbent
- Tennell Atkins - District 8 incumbent
- Paula Blackmon - District 9 incumbent
- Katherine Stewart - District 10
- Jaynie Schultz - District 11 incumbent
- Cara Mendelsohn - District 12 incumbent
- Gay Donnell Willis - District 13 incumbent
- Paul Ridley - District 14 incumbent