The North Dallas Gazette believes Irving voters have an opportunity to push the reset button and put the city back on track with an experienced leadership team prepared to listen to the city’s diverse voices. Therefore, we extend our endorsements to Rick Stopfer for Mayor and re-election of Oscar Ward for Place 5 on the City Council.
Experienced leadership at the top sets the tone
While the mayor is just one voice on any city council, they are seen as the leader and help to set the tone and the agenda. Stopfer is a former member of the Irving City Council for 14 years, six years on Irving’s Planning and Zoning Commission, and represented the city on DART’s board for four years. He has a solid foundation and understanding of how Irving city government operates. Having institutional knowledge gives a leader the foundation to assess the strengths and opportunities for growth.
That is not to suggest it will be, or that we are in support of the “Good Ole’ Boy” way of doing things. We believe Stopfer is prepared to be a voice of reason and help the community to heal and recover from the divisive agenda pushed by the out-going mayor. Over the course of her two terms, Irving has become very polarized. In fact, we believe Irving has never really recovered from her original campaign. We are confident Stopfer will foster an inclusive environment by demonstrating his willingness to listen to those outside of his inner circle.
Irving has major infrastructure projects either in process or under consideration; now is not the time to bring in a mayor with no experience to have to interact with other governmental agencies and corporate entities.
While we believe Elvia Espino is a solid candidate, we have reservations about her attempts to start at the top. We believe Espino brings great value to the table, but prefer to see her serve on one or more of city’s boards to learn more about the process of how Irving city government works. We recognize she has worked for the Houston County Sheriff’s office and is a member of several local civic organizations. However, taking the helm of a city council, building relationships and understanding the unique inner workings of any community is vital knowledge a mayor should have in their toolbox.
Oscar Ward for Place 5
Ward has served on the city council since 2014 and NDG believes he should be returned to continue the course. He shared with us three primary goals if re-elected:
- continue funding for our infrastructure needs,
- work to secure future water needed for the Irving community
- address our redevelopment needs in South Irving and Heritage areas of the city, to match the progress that is on-going in the northern sector.
During his tenure on the city council, Ward has demonstrated a willingness to reach out to his colleagues and the citizens he serves. This is important to us because Place 5 is one of the most diverse districts in the community. Therefore a candidate willing to reach out to all sides is what Irving needs.
We welcome Abdel Elhassan, Ward’s opponent, efforts to step and provide a new and needed voice to Irving dialogue, but as we outlined in the mayor’s race, we put a high premium on experience. Therefore, invite him to become involved in one or more of the various boards and commissions to shorten his learning curve and establish partnerships within the community’s leadership.
Irving is blessed to have several worthy candidates to consider. NDG encourages voters to consider Rick Stopfer for mayor and re-elect Oscar Ward for Place 5.