When he was elected four years ago, Chad West was a corporate litigator balancing the demands of private practice with representing the North Oak Cliff area of Dallas as a city council member.

Something had to change, and he knew where to start.

“Really, there were two reasons that were pretty clear,” West said. “The first was it was sort of the nature of what I did. Litigation is just a very antagonistic kind of profession, and I think it takes a very special person who can embrace that and thrive in that profession. I was pretty good at it, but it was a little bit soul-crushing on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis to be constantly fighting over money.”

West, 47, opted to stop practicing, although he remains licensed.

“My personality is … more of collaboration and building things — creating something new,” he said. “I gravitated more toward the business side of [owning my own firm] as opposed to the actual practice. Business was more appealing to me than practicing.”

That’s where a blue dog mascot came into the picture — literally.

“I saw an opportunity to sort of scale up the amount of money I can make,” West said. “It’s not all about money, but I can do better financially and work less hard. Car washes generate income whether I’m there washing a car or not. People know our blue dog mascot. They could care less about who I am.”

West owns three Snap Clean car washes in Oak Cliff, Ennis, and Cedar Hill.

“I’ve always been the face of everything I’ve done,” he said. “Obviously, I’m an elected official, so I have to like it to a certain extent. It’s nice to have a business where no one cares who I am.”

West is in his third term as the District 1 representative. He’s lived in North Oak Cliff for about two decades.

“It is a majority-minority district,” he said. “Approximately 77% of our population is of Hispanic origin. The remaining [are] mostly white and some African Americans. It’s a wildly diverse district in terms of income disparity and age. We’ve got a lot of aging seniors there and a lot of really young families in the district. We have a lot of wealth and a lot of poverty as well.”

District 1 is home to more than 92,000 residents, and the median household income is just over $60,000. The median age is 33.

“I’m going to keep saying this until someone tells me I’m wrong and shows me the data,” West said. “We have more entrepreneurs per capita than anywhere else in the city. Pretty much everything up and down Jefferson Boulevard is locally owned and operated. Bishop Arts is the same way. You’re not going to see a Starbucks or GAP in there.”

The most common industries in District 1 are transportation, utilities, and trade, followed by leisure and hospitality, education and health services, other services, and professional and business services.

“We are a reflection of the rest of the city from what I’ve seen in city surveys,” West said. “It is the same across the district, whether you are rich, poor, brown, black, or white and no matter what the age is. The No.1 priority is public safety. But after that comes parks, green space and streets, and road repair. That’s what we hear over and over again.”

A U.S. Army veteran and Illinois native, West was deployed to Southeast Europe during the 1995 NATO campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“I was there at the very end of the conflict,” he said. “Most of my overseas tour, which was a little under 11 months, was in Hungary. The nature of my job was medical logistics over there. It was to facilitate and just be prepared for any kind of in-country catastrophes and work with medical personnel.”

After four years in the Army, he attended Texas Tech University School of Law.

“I’m a proud Red Raider,” West said. “I started practicing law in 2006, and I officially stopped last year.”

West attended Washington University in St. Louis before being commissioned as an Army officer. He came to Dallas in 1999 and served on the Dallas City Plan Commission from 2017 to 2018. The father of two calls himself “an avid runner” who enjoys tennis and golf.