North Texas Daily

UNT should vote in the city council elections

UNT should vote in the city council elections

UNT should vote in the city council elections
March 09
23:48 2015

The Editorial Board

The North Texas Daily encourages all students and faculty to participate in the upcoming city council election. The candidates have all officially filed, and you still have time to register to vote before the April 9 deadline. Early voting begins on Monday, April 27, and Election Day is Saturday, May 9.

Voting in citywide elections is often overlooked, likely due to the fact that national and statewide topics demand the attention of news consumers, enhanced by the political reality that without party money, people just don’t know about candidates.

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A city website reports less than 4,000 out of the 115,000 Denton citizens voted in the most recent city election. Those numbers are unsatisfactory, especially considering that this town seeks home-rule laws and regulations on several issues. When voters banned hydraulic fracturing in the city, two lawsuits on behalf of the state of Texas ensued. As a city wrapped up in these legal battles — battles that could result in years of political tension — voters in the town need to be more observant of its elected officials, and play a more active role in legislative and directional decisions.

If you are uneducated on the civics of city government, listen up. The city council is made up of seven members, each serving up to three two-year terms. There are four representatives from individual districts. The other three members represent three at large places. In Denton, you have Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4. The remaining councilmen reside over At Large Place 5 and At Large Place 6, while the mayor represents At Large Place 7.

The district that encompasses UNT is District 3. The incumbent there is Councilman Jim Engelbrecht, whose third term expires this year. His successor will either be Amber Briggle or Kathleen Wazny, both of whom are active voices in the move against fracking.

Briggle is a member of the activist group, Frack Free Denton. She has experience with the city council as a member of the Community Development Advisory Board for two years. She is married to UNT professor Adam Briggle, also a board member of Frack Free Denton. Wazny has remarks in several news reports regarding the fracking movement.

In District 1, Robert Doyle Cain challenges incumbent Kevin Roden, who is running for a third and final term. Roden corresponds regularly with UNT, and is the most known member of the city council. Most recently, Roden is credited with rallying citizens behind public transportation and pedestrian safety following the death of TWU student Brenna Taylor, killed when she was struck by a car in January.

John Ryan is the incumbent against Keely Gilchriest-Briggs in District 2. In District 4, incumbent Joey Hawkins is unopposed.

To reiterate, the concernment of voting in this city election is high. The state of Texas traditionally rejects federal government oversight, but is adamant about overruling the wishes of a lower-level municipality, Denton, setting up a big government versus home-rule fight. Vote in this election and be sure to follow its movements and rulings.

As the infrastructural and procedural functions of the city catch up to the immense swelling of Denton, citizens will need to guide the leadership in its decision-making.

From left to right: District 4 Councilman Joey Hawkins, District 3 candidate Amber Briggle, District 1 Councilman Kevin Roden, District 2 Councilman John Ryan

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