It was 1993. Mary Lib Saleh, 61, a grandmotherly homemaker, always ready for a challenge but quite happy as an expert in ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, had served on the Euless City Council for four years, the last two as mayor pro tem.
When 18-year Euless Mayor Harold Samuels decided not to run for re-election, Saleh ran for the office.
So did businessman Glenn Walker, 55, and attorney Neal Adams, 47.
Saleh and Adams went on to a runoff, which she won handily with more than 55 percent of the vote.
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Adams has remained active in local and state politics. For Saleh, it was her last serious political challenge. She’s been the mayor of Euless and one of the most respected leaders in Northeast Tarrant County ever since.
Now she says it’s time to step aside; her name is not on the May ballot for the first time in 25 years. Her simple explanation: “I want to go out while the city is in such good shape.”
In fact, Euless has seen mostly smooth sailing with Saleh at the helm. A supportive council and a succession of strong city managers has helped, but her calm demeanor has set the tone for steady progress.
Economic development, one of her strongest platform planks in 1993, has taken off of late, especially along Texas 121. Park and recreation facilities, notably the Texas Star complex, have made Euless a magnet for visitors.
The Euless library, a Saleh love from the beginning, is going strong.
Just a year into her first term as mayor, a local resident with a grudge took advantage of a provision in the city charter that made it easy to file a recall petition against Saleh.
Not many times have the people of Euless seen her get mad, but that was one of them. A waste of time and money, she said.
She was right. The recall election went more than 5-1 in her favor but cost $5,000.
That vote also served to lock Saleh’s grip on the mayor’s chair. People in the city of nearly 53,000 just like her. They’ll be sorry she’s leaving.