Peoples elected to lead Dems in Tarrant County

Posted Saturday, Apr. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- The Tarrant County Democratic Party has a new leader.

After hours of voting Saturday in Fort Worth, more than 130 local Democratic precinct chairs elected longtime party activist Deborah Peoples to replace Steve Maxwell, who recently stepped down after five years.

Peoples is the first African-American woman to lead the party in Tarrant County -- one of the most Republican communities in the country.

"I am absolutely humbled by the faith Tarrant County Democrats put in me," she said shortly after the election. "This has been life-changing.

"I am absolutely ready to go to work."

Peoples says at top on her agenda is delivering a key message.

"One thing I have to do is let Democrats know we've got a vibrant, alive party," she said, adding that she plans to recruit more precinct chairs, register new voters and work to ensure that current officeholders are re-elected. "We're getting ready for 2014. We have some great Democrats on the ballot ... and we are looking to make sure they continue to serve."

Precinct chairs went through two rounds of voting Saturday to choose Peoples -- aunt of former Fort Worth Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks, who is running for her former seat on the council -- from a field that also included Dick Abrams, a fundraiser who picked up endorsements from a number of local elected Democrats, and Randy Daniels, a Democratic organizer.

After the first round, Daniels trailed with the third-most votes. Peoples won the second round over Abrams.

Maxwell said the contested race for party chair is good for the party.

"I think that a political party that goes through this process goes through a cathartic moment," he said. "At the end of the day, I'm delighted we had the participation and that so many precinct chairs showed up.

"This is a challenging and demanding job and Deborah has the personality to handle it just fine," Maxwell said. "I think she's going to do a great job."

Anna M. Tinsley,


Twitter: @annatinsley

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