By William Barnes, NDG Special Contributor
The City of Irving’s mayoral and school board races have several declared candidates ahead of the filing deadline on Friday, Feb. 17.
Irving Mayor’s Race
Mayor Beth Van Duyne, first elected in 2011 was facing re-election this May. However, Van Duyne surprised everyone on Thursday, Feb. 16 one day before the filing deadline by declaring that she is not seeking re-election. Although not specific about her future in her press release announcing her decision, Van Duyne stated she has “decided to pursue new opportunities to improve the lives of the people of North Texas…” There is speculation she will join President Donald Trump’s team or run for a Texas state congressional position.
Elvia L. Espino’s campaign material proclaims, “Of course we can!” in her 2017 quest to become Irving’s new Mayor. Her goal is to provide a bridge between the community and those who serve the community. A challenge she looks forward to meeting. Espino recognizes change is not easy.
“Change doesn’t happen on the sidelines,” Espino declared when speaking to voters at the recent Irving Political Coalition meeting.
Learn more about Espino at http://www.elviaespino.com/ and what she plans to do for Irving.
Juan “J.C.” Gonzalez spoke at the recent Irving Political Coalition Forum and shared he is concerned for his community and small businesses due to a new Proposed Texas Budget, which could lead to a direct hit on the Irving community. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Irving Hispanic Chamber and the Vice President / Branch Manager II at Wells Fargo & Co. His leadership in the community drives him to be active in current affairs and this helps to keep his compassion and awareness high. He has not filed to run as of Thursday.
David W. Pfaff, an Irving native and the CEO of Plantronics plans on merging his knowledge of business with his passion for the Irving community. Pfaff believes the diversity of the Irving community is the key to building Irving as a progressive and growing city. Not only for the business community but for the residents who will have increased employment and recreational opportunities. Pfaff has called Irving his home for years and has spent the last 20 years leading his family owned business.
Irving City Council Races
In addition to the race for Mayor, two current incumbents are up for re-election. Dennis Webb is seeking a third term for Place 3. J. Oscar Ward is running for re-election for Place 5.
Dennis Webb was re-elected to the City Council, Place 3, in May 2014 and is serving his second term. He has lived in the City of Irving for 30 years, graduating from Nimitz High School in 1977. Webb retired as a Lieutenant with the Grand Prairie Fire Department in 2013. He served in that capacity for over 15 years and was employed by the City for over 28 years. Webb is the Senior Pastor of the Bear Creek Community Church in Irving. His numerous civic involvement includes serving a full term on the Planning and Zoning Commission and on the Mayor’s Human Relations Advisory Committee.
Oscar Ward a longtime resident of Irving, was elected to the City Council by the voters of Place 5 in May 2014 and is serving his first term. Ward has a history of actively participating in government, community, and civic organizations. He has served as the chairman of the Charter Review Committee, Chairman of the Building and Standards Commission, past president of the Greater Irving Republican Club, and past president of the Cardinal Village Neighborhood Association. Ward is a member of the Irving Sunrise Rotary Club, Ambucs, Irving Heritage Society, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce and Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
At the time of press, NDG learned that Abdel Elhassan is running against Ward. No further information available at this time.
Irving School Board Candidates
Candidates for Irving ISD School Board includes Sharon Deberry, Nell Anne Hunt and Dr. Steven Jones (Current District 1 Trustee and Board President) all have tossed their hats in the ring.
Sharon Deberry is an educator and has worked in Irving ISD for numerous years. She is running against Nell Anne Hunt to represent District 2. She is looking to re-engage the parents and the students of the Irving Independent School District. As the wife of Will DeBerry, the first African American Irving ISD School Board Trustee, Deberry has an understanding of the potential for growth for the school district.
Nell Anne Hunt, an Irving resident for more than 40 years, is a current member of the Board of Trustees representing District 2 since 2014. She was an honor graduate of Texas Tech University with a major in speech pathology and a minor in English. She holds a Texas teaching certificate and has taught in four different school districts. Hunt has been a teacher of Reading is FUNdamental and also taught English as a Second Language. Currently, Hunt is a realtor with Ebby Halliday Realtors.
As an enthusiastic community volunteer, she has served in numerous ways. She is the Founder of the Great Flag Caper which places over 40,000 American flags in Irving on the 4th of July.
Dr. Steven Jones currently represents District 1 and is the Board President, a graduate of Irving ISD. He has previously served as secretary of the Board of Trustees. Jones earned his BBA from Baylor University and his DDS from Baylor College of Dentistry. He is the founding producer of the nationally recognized and critically acclaimed Lyric Stage.
May 6 is Election Day in North Texas, with early voting starting on Monday, April 24. Don’t forget to vote, it is your chance to shape the future of your community.