Days after Congresswoman Kay Granger (R–TX) endorsed Councilman Brian Byrd to be the next mayor of Fort Worth, candidate Mattie Parker published a list of endorsements that include many of the city’s most powerful players.

On Thursday, Parker’s website published a list of individuals who “enthusiastically endorse” her to replace outgoing Mayor Betsy Price. Among them are businessmen Sid, Edward, and Lee Bass, and attorney Dee Kelly Jr.

A 1995 D Magazine article explained in depth the Fort Worth power structure, how it operates, and how deeply the Bass brothers have been intertwined in the operations of the city.

Kelly Jr.’s father, Dee Kelly, was the Bass’ lawyer and considered a “gatekeeper.”

Also among Parker’s list of endorsements are State Rep. Craig Goldman (R–Fort Worth), Councilman Dennis Shingleton, former Councilman Zim Zimmerman (whom Byrd defeated in 2017), and Republican Mona Bailey.

Parker’s endorsements come after U.S. Congresswoman Kay Granger (R–TX) endorsed Byrd earlier this week. Because of Granger’s connection to Panther Island—the $1.2 billion taxpayer-funded real estate redevelopment project disguised as flood control, which remains unfinished after over a decade and $383 million spent—her endorsement raised questions on Byrd’s plans for the project.

Byrd did not respond to a press inquiry on the subject. Texas Scorecard has sent a similar press inquiry to the Parker campaign.

In early January, Mayor Betsy Price abruptly announced she would not run for a sixth term. Later, Kelly Jr., who was largely expected to run, surprised everyone when he announced he wouldn’t.

Since then, Councilmembers Byrd and Ann Zadeh, Tarrant County Democratic Chair Deborah Peoples, Mike Haynes, and Chris Rector have filed to run for mayor, as well as Mattie Parker (Price’s former chief of staff and former Granger staffer and campaign manager).

Parker’s husband is a lobbyist who sits on the board of a body that manages some local taxpayer dollars, and the firm he works for was once hired as taxpayer-funded lobbyists to represent the city government’s interests to the Texas Legislature.

Among the issues Parker emphasizes on her website are education, “strong police and fire services,” a small business-friendly economy, and “a unified effort to protect the health of Fort Worth families and the stability of businesses as we continue to face down COVID-19.”

Those interested in running for mayor or another city council position in the May 1 election can file between January 13 and February 12. Candidate filings and finance reports may be tracked at the city secretary’s elections website.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.

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