|Job description||There are five members of the Commissioner’s Court, which is the governing body of the county (not a judicial court). Term is four years.|
|Duties||Builds and maintains the county’s roads and bridges.
Sets county tax rates and approves the county budget.
Manages all county facilities; builds, maintains, and improves county facilities, including jails.
Provides for hospitals, public welfare, and veterans assistance.
Establishes voting precincts and appoints precinct judges.
Appoints county officials, hires personnel, manages county contracts and payments.
|Andy Nguyen (incumbent)|
Note: Candidate answers are shown alphabetically by last name.
What is your current occupation? Educational background? What experience makes you the best-qualified candidate for this office?
Devan Allen: Devan serves as a Realtor and principal of Allen Realty Advisors, in partnership with the Tierney Jordan Network | exp. Prior to launching her small business, she built a solid career as a public service staffer, serving as a District Director in both the Texas Senate and House, and most recently served as Campaign Manager for State Representative Chris Turner, chair of the House Democratic Caucus. She also served as a Council Aide to a Fort Worth Mayor Pro Tem, and as Senior Director of External Affairs for the University of Texas at Arlington. Once headed for a career in the healthcare field, including serving as a nationally and state certified Emergency Medical Technician, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from UTA, including undergraduate coursework at Tarrant County College.
a. I am working as Senior Data Scientist for a large fortune 500 company in Grapevine Texas.
b. I am an Economist by training with three Master’s degrees in Economics. My research paper in the field of Urban Economics was published in international journal which was cited by many research studies. My second masters had “Public Finance” as my core field where my research was focused on “Taxation Justice” area. The other areas I covered was in the field of “Statistical Inference” which focuses on mathematical modeling for predictive analytics as well as economic estimation.
c. I have an extensive experience in planning and budgets. I worked for several airlines as business planner where I worked on budgets and operating plans. I had direct planning responsibilities for the budget of $2.4 Billion. In addition, the long-range planning and fleet plans budgeting were worth several billion dollars
d. I am a Democratic precinct chair, for last two decades where my precinct went from a red district to 67% BLUE. I have helped all Democratic candidates for last two decades with time, money and my analytical skills.
e. I along-with my fellow activists started Muslim Democratic Caucus of Texas in 2004, which organized Muslim community behind Democratic Party in Texas. From the success of our Texas experience, then Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean asked us to organize the group nationally, so we started American Muslim Democratic Caucus which currently has chapters in six states in the nation, bringing new voters to Democratic Party in these states
f. As a peace and justice activist, I have organized several local and international conferences including a major Civil Rights Conference in 2003, where Martin Luther King IIIrd was the keynote speaker. Other conferences included:
i. “Gendercide and Women Empowerment” addressed by Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen,
ii. Women in war zones” at SMU, addressed by several affected women from war zones in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Uganda and other countries.
iii. Status of Minorities in South Asia
iv. Cost of conflicts in South Asia
v. Human trafficking in natural disaster regions
I believe my educational background has prepared me well to consider complexities of matters relating to scarcity and choices, this is the skillset needed in budget preparation. My predictive analysis and data science background will be quite helpful in my vision for the county. My extensive work experience in planning will be very useful in a well-planned county budgeting process. My passion and experience as a peace and justice and community activist provides me the emotional attachment to people in need, which is an essential for public service. I believe I am the most qualified candidate in the run for the Commissioner Precinct 2 office. I believe the qualified candidate is needed to bring the desired change from status quo.
What percentage of your campaign donations comes from individuals? What percentage comes from PACs?
Devan Allen: At the time of completing this questionnaire, 100% of Devan Allen Campaign contributions are from individuals.
Syed Hassan: The only PAC money I received is from Muslim Democratic Caucus, which raise money from individual membership.
What are the transportation issues facing your precinct and how do you propose to address them?
Devan Allen: The transportation issues facing Precinct 2 include the need for increased funding from the state, decreased mobility, increasing traffic congestion and a lack of options that would allow students, those with lower income and seniors to travel affordably and efficiently. The major reasons residents in Southeast Tarrant County need transportation are to get to school, work and to medical services – these are basic needs that significantly affect quality of life for hard-working families. We must approach these issues with long-term solutions that include increased funding and a regional transportation system.
Syed Hassan: As an Urban Economist and transportation planner I have worked most of my professional life in working on transportation networks and in providing mobility to people. I served Transportation Advisory Committee in Arlington which added to my perspectives in this issue. I am strongest advocate of public transportation from equity as well as economic efficiency.
It is imperative that we cater to people in need to develop our society. The issue of growth vs. development is a longstanding debate in development economics. We cannot meet economic development objectives without addressing the income disparity and poverty issues. Following are seen from lack of public transportation in the Southeast Tarrant County:
- Seniors are leaving independent living and opting into assisted living, in many cases even leaving to other urban areas which offers public transportation
- Students are seeing fewer opportunities to take advantage of multiple campuses, thus limiting their options
- People with disability don’t even think of looking for jobs because of lack of mobility and access
- People in disadvantageous economic strata driving marginal vehicles which breaks much often and at risk for accidents
- Families with one car usually is used by men to get around and usually reduces women mobility which limit their income potentials as well as career goals
Mobility boosts economic growth as well as social cohesion in society. Public transportation increases mobility and reduces motor vehicles. Following are economic reasons in support of public transportation:
- It reduces cost of road maintenance as a result of reduction in number of motor vehicles on roads
- Public transportation reduces the needs of additional lanes due to reduction in vehicles
- It reduces the commute time, reduces congestion, pollution at the same time increases mobility
- Increased mobility options move people from welfare to work and add to productive labor force
- Public transportation reduces risks of accidents from reduction in traffic, releases police and first responders to shift focus to other law enforcement duties.
What initiatives do you propose to attract and retain businesses to your district?
Devan Allen: As Devan has visited with business owners throughout Precinct 2 they’ve shared their concerns about business growth and retention, including a lack of infrastructure, the need for more business development training and access to affordable and competitive healthcare benefits to offer employees. Devan would begin by evaluating and making needed adjustments to current initiatives to work more efficiently, as well as creating needed initiatives that address these issues while continuing to gather input so as to remain knowledgeable of the issues and potential solutions.
Syed Hassan: The lack of 21st century urban infrastructure is the main reason where we are not attracting new businesses in Tarrant County. The lack of 21st century skills in our workforce is forcing our businesses to bring workers from other countries. We are not attracting new businesses for this reason, while they are finding locational advantages in other communities in Metroplex including Dallas and Collins counties. The progressive vision offered by Travis County and other growth communities are what 21st century businesses are seeking. Tarrant County economic development is centered around old vision of tax abatements and public contracts. On the other hand, the 21st century economies are centered around innovations and inventions. The biggest challenge our society is facing and will increasingly face will be of “Technological Unemployment”. This year online sale surpassed brick and mortar store sales. While our traditional job sector is shrinking, opportunities with jobs in information technology are on rise. If we don’t equip our society with 21st century tools then we will lose our competitive advantage to other economies who are better prepared for it. So, I propose 21st century economic development initiatives around:
i. Technology Training Centers in the county, preparing current workforce to current challenges and prepare future generations to future technological challenges.
ii. Public WIFI system to boost economic development, improve educational achievement, boost tourism, increase efficiencies in public services and in first responder’s preparedness. At the same time, it will save on communication expenses in various public and private institutions
iii. Twenty First Century Public Transportation system, which adds to mobility options to people. This would also add to the workforce availability for businesses in the county
iv. Twenty first century public health system, which focuses on efficient health delivery system using modern technology in patient to doctor communication
v. We must address the alarming levels of “Infant Maternal Mortality Rate” in Tarrant County. The rate is at highest level in African American community.
We must exhibit a progressive mindset to attract businesses to Tarrant County. We need qualified leadership which understands the urgency in addressing contemporary challenges and carry our society into future leadership.