Ex-lawmaker Jason Villalba is now Dallas mayoral candidate Jason Villalba, raising the number of entries in the race to eight.
“I am announcing that I am running to be the next mayor of the great city of Dallas,” Villalba told a small group of supporters and media on Tuesday, officially joining the crowded field of hopefuls to replace term-limited Mayor Mike Rawlings.
Villalba had been hinting at a mayoral run since losing his Republican primary last March. The former state representative for North Dallas made the announcement surrounded by family outside his grandmother’s home in Oak Cliff.
Democrat State Rep. Poncho Nevárez of Eagle Pass was on hand to introduce and endorse Villalba, who touted his bipartisan appeal.
“I don’t serve the right, I don’t serve the left, I serve my community,” Villalba said. “And I was kicked out of my own party for doing just that.”
In his three terms in the Texas House, Villalba, a financial lawyer, earned failing scores on the Fiscal Responsibility Index and became known for his “inappropriate” Twitter rants and changing policy positions.
As mayor, Villalba pledged to freeze property tax valuations for people on fixed incomes, strengthen crumbling infrastructure, spend $1 billion to revitalize the southern sector of Dallas, and attract a “major league franchise” to Fair Park.
He also promised to provide competitive wages and fortify pension plans for public safety officers. Jim McDade, President of the Dallas Fire Fighters Association, attended the press conference.
Villalba didn’t miss a chance to go on the attack. “You’re sure as hell not going to find a new mayor from the same old city council that’s been keeping Dallas from reaching its potential,” he said in a jab at Dallas City Council member Scott Griggs, a strong contender in the race.
Also running are Dallas Independent School District trustee Miguel Solis, real estate developer Mike Ablon, businessman and former Dallas Housing Authority chair Albert Black Jr., former city attorney Larry Casto, philanthropist Lynn McBee, and longtime Democrat operative Regina Montoya.
The filing deadline for the May 4 municipal election is February 15.