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Candidates vie for city council, mayor in upcoming Denton election

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Voting for Denton’s May 7 election will begin soon, with six candidates in the running for city council places, including mayor. 

Early voting will run from April 25 to May 3, with locations and time available on votedenton.gov. Election day voting runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with location info also available on votedenton.gov.

The mayoral race is between incumbent Gerard Hudspeth and Paul Meltzer, a city council member who has held the Place 6 seat since 2018. Hudspeth was elected mayor at the end of 2020 and said he has four main focuses he wishes to continue to build on: lowering the tax rate, increasing the number of police officers, firefighters and other first responders, addressing the city’s homelessness issue and infrastructure. 

“What I bring to the table is a pragmatic leadership style and a realistic focus on getting things done,” Hudspeth said. “I was born and raised here […]. Denton needs to get back to its roots as a close-knit community and a safe community. That’s what I’m trying to get back to, I want to keep Denton its genuine self.”

Meltzer said he has a long history of community activism and has been training his whole life to be able to serve as mayor. His campaign slogan is to “make Denton better, not just bigger,” and focuses on issues such as housing, economic development, environmental sustainability and nurturing the Denton community. 

“There is a tremendous opportunity to move forward in Denton and get to really have the city live up to its full potential as a desirable place to live,” Meltzer said. “If we want to keep moving forward in terms of being a city that’s known for equality and inclusiveness, you simply must vote.”

Two candidates, Daniel Clanton and Brandon Chase McGee, are running for Denton’s at-large Place 5, previously held by Deb Armintor. Clanton has previously run for Place 2 and is currently a member of the Police Chief Advisory Board.

“The city council as it is today has, in my opinion, lost its focus,” Clanton said. “They need to focus more on the city itself and less on what other cities are doing. We have a lot of things that we need to get fixed here in Denton.”

Clanton said his areas of concern include completing road construction, keeping taxes low, making sure police and fire units are properly funded and taken care of, helping small businesses in a time of high inflation and assisting the homeless population. 

McGee is a first-time candidate and said his history of involvement in politics makes him well qualified to serve on city council. He currently serves on the City of Denton’s Zoning Board of Adjustment and the board of the New Leaders Council non-profit. 

“My opponent — he got out there early, and I was very concerned because he started talking about obstructing the progress that we’ve made,” McGee said. “That whole, ‘we need to go back’ thing, really didn’t sit right with me. We’ve made a lot of progress at the city level. I’m very proud of the work the folks on council have done and I want to continue that progress and push further.”

McGee is a self-described blue-collar worker and said every decision he makes will keep regular, working-class people in mind. 

Denton’s at-large Place 6 is being vacated by Meltzer due to his campaign for mayor. The candidates for the seat are former mayor Chris Watts and local business owner Amber Briggle. Watts said he did not intend to run, but became concerned with decisions being made at the city council level and citizens’ input being ignored.

“My platform is simple — make sure we provide the best quality of life with taxpayers’ dollars that we can as city officials,” Watts said. “I want to continue to do what the community wants us to do to make Denton a city where they want to be.”

Watts said he will prioritize public safety, getting the roads fixed, providing good electrical service, keeping taxes and utility rates low and providing parks and recreation. 

Briggle has served the city in several leadership experiences for over 12 years and said the lessons she has learned as a small business owner will allow her to help all businesses, families and individuals in Denton. 

“The world is in a different place than it was a couple [of] years ago and I have something to give and I want to help people,” Briggle said. “I want to see more support for small businesses. We are what makes Denton really cool. I also want to see Denton work for the people and not the highest bidder.”

Briggle said she is pro-equality, pro-environment and pro-small business. She said she will strive to provide a higher quality of life for residents including more affordable housing and better transportation options if elected to city council.

In addition to city council, local school board elections will take place. In Denton Independent School District, three vacant seats are available and two candidates are running for each, all of which include an incumbent. 

The last day to receive an application for ballot by mail or a Federal Post Card Application is April 26. More information on the election can be found at votedenton.gov/upcoming-election-information.

Article Originally Published by Jillian Nachtigal on North Texas Daily

Source: North Texas Daily

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