Fort Worth Mayoral Candidate Mattie Parker and her husband David, a lobbyist, have addressed questions about potential conflicts of interest should Parker win the June 5 runoff.
As previously reported by Texas Scorecard, David Parker is a lobbyist with Longbow Partners, a lobbying firm his LinkedIn profile—a social media network for work professionals—shows he joined in January 2015. “I am registered with the Ethics Commission,” he told Texas Scorecard. “Most of my work tends to be communications, strategy, advising clients, some out of state, some here.”
In 2014, Longbow signed a one-year contract with Fort Worth to work as their taxpayer-funded lobbyist firm. In May 2015, Mattie Parker was hired as Mayor Betsy Price’s chief of staff, a position Mattie held until April 2020.
Texas Scorecard asked Mattie Parker about this situation.
“While I was working at a local law firm, David was hired in late 2014 as a local liaison to assist the city with some of their state advocacy and bill monitoring,” Mattie Parker told Texas Scorecard in response to a press inquiry on this subject. “However, the city charter expressly prohibits a city employee or elected official’s spouse from being a city contractor so we immediately terminated that arrangement in April 2015 when I was selected to go to work for mayor and council.”
Mattie and David also responded to questions from Texas Scorecard about what wall of separation they would create to avoid any potential conflict of interest should she win the June 5 mayoral runoff.
“His firm has had no other employee arrangements with the City of Fort Worth and will not if I’m selected to lead the city,” Mattie stated.
“Most of my stuff is either federal or state level primarily, so that hadn’t been an issue,” David said. “But we also know the scrutiny of it, and that’s okay.”
David Parker also currently sits on the board of one of Fort Worth’s Tax Increment Fund districts. TIFs are a public financing tool to use increased property tax revenue for development projects. Both were asked if he’d remain on this board should Mattie win.
“As for the Lancaster TIF #8 board, the Mayor and Council approve by resolution these TIF appointments,” Mattie replied. “No, I will not recommend that David be reappointed, and candidly, I think he will promptly write me a thank you note for giving him back some of his time to spend with other volunteer civic service.”
“I haven’t even thought about it,” David said. “In full candor, I used to be AT&T’s president for the area, and so because they have that big building there, I just kind of carried that over through this term until it either expires or I think they’ll appoint somebody else.”
“Candidly, I appreciate serving. Probably don’t have the bandwidth to do a whole lot of that anyway, so I could see that probably coming to an end,” he continued. “I sit on a variety of boards. Some of those I’ve scaled back.”
Mattie Parker said citizens can expect her and David to make ethical practices their goal.
“David and I have lived under a high level of scrutiny since our first date in 2006 in Austin, through my time with both [Congresswoman Kay] Granger and the City of Fort Worth, and I’m incredibly proud of my 17-year track record,” she said. “We will both continue to go above and beyond to prioritize ethics, because the reality and public perception of our integrity is the foundation of whether we are individually successful in our respective civic and professional roles.”
“We live a pretty transparent life in a fishbowl anyway, and we’re comfortable with that,” David said. “But the trade-off of that is you even have to overcorrect, and over scrutinize, and overstep away, [and] be careful what you say to somebody. We’re okay with that.”
Citizens will decide between Mattie Parker and former Democrat County Chair Deborah Peoples on June 5.