North Texas Daily

Denton elects new mayor

Denton elects new mayor

Chris Watts

Denton elects new mayor
May 11
12:30 2014

Joshua Knopp // Senior Staff Writer

In a race between two UNT alums and a current dean, 1984 graduate Chris Watts won Denton’s mayoral race with more than 60 percent of the vote. The city also elected John Ryan, Dalton Gregory and Greg Johnson to city council seats.

With four of Denton’s seven city council seats up for grabs, only 5,023 of Denton’s more than 100,000 residents voted in the mayoral election. Less than that turned out for the other council seats, including 1,496 for the District 2 election.

Voter turnout from precincts 4007 and 4008, which include UNT and most of the neighborhoods north of campus, had turnouts of 5.11 and 11.14 percent, respectively. Precinct 4008 is within District 2.

Watts’ platform is to make Denton a more hospitable environment for businesses. Watts wants to make the permit process faster, saying that the current slow process wards businesses off.

“Economic development and quality of life are inextricably linked. To get a good quality of life, you need to have good economic development,” Watts said in an April interview with the NT Daily. “There’s a lot of good things we all want to do, but we’ve got to have the money to pay for them.”

Watts also said he would support an ordinance to ban fracking if it hits his desk.

Associate dean of academic affairs for the college of arts and sciences Jean Schaake received 35 percent of the vote, according to Her campaign focused on preparing Denton for a growing population, though she was also in favor of improving the permit process.

Donna Woodfork, who attended grad school at UNT in the early ’00s, received 3.84 percent of the vote. Her campaign focused on making sure the Interstate-35 construction went as smoothly as possible. She had also run for mayor in 2012 and for Denton Independent School District school board in 2013.

Of the available council seats, two were at-large and the other was for District 2, which contains the Northeast corner of Denton along with outlying environs north and east of loop 288 and Precinct 4008, which is in the middle of the city. Gregory and Johnson won the at large seats.

Gregory has served in the District 2 seat since 2007, and resigned from it to continue serving past the three-term, six-year limit. This is a common practice in Denton’s city council. Johnson, the CEO of Verus Real Estate, was running unopposed.

Ryan owns Vigne Wine Shop and Delicatessen on East Hickory street. Both he and Johnson were concerned about mobility in Denton.

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