Tyrone King, who is running for Fort Worth City Council District 8, submitted the following responses to a Dallas Express questionnaire.
Question: Can you give us a little bit of background on yourself and why did you decide to run for Fort Worth City Council?
Answer: I’m a native of Fort Worth and graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington. I’ve owned/operated a small business in Fort Worth for over 25 years, and have been active in the arts community for over 20 years, having performed in several venues in DFW and around the country.
Additionally, for more than two decades I’ve been involved in a successful youth mentoring program by using a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math)-based program. I decided to run for the city council because our city is divided and hurting. A large segment of our youth are at risk, and I didn’t hear a clear, concise message from our city leaders on how we begin the process of healing and moving forward, so I’m running on a platform of healing Fort Worth.
Q: Why should people vote for you?
A: People should vote for me because I have a clear, concise plan how we can begin to heal our city while mentoring and preparing our youth for successful futures.
Q: What are your strengths compared to your competitors?
A: A few of my strengths include conflict resolution by objectively using my ability to see both sides of an issue, as well as my ability to lead small and large groups of diverse individuals. Additionally, I’m able to demonstrate how to build/operate a successful small business in an economically challenged environment.
Q: What do you think of the proposal to defund the police and would you support it?
A: I don’t think Fort Worth should defund the police but instead should increase funding and use the additional funding to implement community-policing programs.
Q: What do you think about the Black Lives Matter movement?
A: The Black Lives Matter movement is important and useful because it helps shed light on the issue of racial disparities, which hasn’t been adequately addressed prior to the movement.
Q: The city is constantly trying to provide more affordable housing, but it faces an uphill battle. How will you address the housing situation? Will you look at it from a property tax issue, a development issue or a resource issue? Will you vote for higher taxes so the city can build more affordable housing?
A: I think Fort Worth should continue the effort to build affordable housing because it’s much-needed. I’ll look at it as a resource issue. If a small tax increase is the only alternative to provide affordable housing, I’d agree to it, but only after exhausting all other avenues. However, my plan for healing our city looks at and includes innovative ways to provide necessary housing.
Q: How will you address homelessness? Do you think the city should be providing more services to the homeless?
A: I definitely believe the city should be providing more services to the homeless population, and if elected, I’ll look into the possibility of acquiring vacant buildings for housing the homeless.
Q: City workers get a number of employment benefits not offered to every citizen. Do you think this is fair? How do we make this more equitable so that all citizens can benefit from what their tax dollars are essentially paying for?
A: Benefits are usually a part of most employment opportunities, especially those positions requiring college degrees, so I believe certain benefits are fair. However, I also believe that the city could possibly provide the necessary resources for every working citizen.
Q: How will you help the local school districts improve those schools that have struggled?
A: My plan for healing Fort Worth provides after-school STEAM-based mentoring programs for at-risk youth in grades 6-12.
Q: In order to solve a problem, it needs to be measured. So how do you measure systemic racism? How much is there, and what do you think the city’s role should be in solving it?
A: In my opinion, systemic racism can be measured in a number of ways, including but not limited to the collection of data on things such as employment/salary opportunities for people of color compared to their white counterparts, and the incarceration rate as it relates to the overall population.
For instance, I have Associates and Bachelor’s degrees, yet I was hired in a position where I was paid the exact same amount as my white counterpart who only had a high school diploma, which is one of the main reasons I went into business for myself. Healing Fort Worth encourages every citizen, from the mayor to fast-food workers, to participate in a program that addresses issues of equality from employment, education, housing, crime, youth mentoring and other pertinent areas of concern.
Q: What regulations do you think the city should cut? Which regulations do you think the city should add?
A: I feel that regulatory issues are time-sensitive, so if elected I’d have to see what’s the biggest need at the time. However, I do think environmental issues should be regulated to a certain point.
Q: If you had to cut $250 million from the city budget, where would you cut it?
A: Again, I believe budgets are time-sensitive and require an in-depth look at the needs of the moment. But I will say that the city’s use of taxpayer money to fund retreats for council members is an unnecessary expense, especially when we have citizens who are struggling to eat.
Q: How are you going to help the poorest among us?
A: If elected, I’ll advocate cutting unnecessary things like the aforementioned city council retreats and redistribute the money to implement training programs that will help our less fortunate fellow citizens. I’ll work to better educate/train our poorest fellow citizens in an effort to better their earning capacity. I believe in the saying, “Give me a fish and I’ll eat today; teach me to fish and I’ll eat for a lifetime.”
Q: What would be your first three priorities if elected to city council?
A: If elected to the city council my first three priorities will be:
a) Establishing a healing Fort Worth committee consisting of each willing candidate in every race (mayor, council, etc.) who is not elected, to address issues related to race relations, economic equality and community policing.
b) Establishing a STEAM-based city-wide mentoring program focusing on youth in grades 6-12.
c) Establishing a commission of willing clergy, community activists, etc. to address issues of affordable housing, joblessness, training, etc.