City Councilman Sal Espino announced early Monday that he would not seek a seventh term for the District 2 council seat next spring and then threw his support behind North Side Neighborhood Association President Carlos Flores to replace him.
Espino called his time on the council “a great honor and privilege and one of the highest honors of my life.”
In May, Espino will have served 12 years on the council, and is one of the longest-serving members. District 6 Councilman Jungus Jordan was also elected in 2005. He is seeking re-election in 2017. Espino served under two mayors and along side 17 different council members.
The late Chuck Silcox was the longest-serving council member with 17 years, followed by the late Louis Zapata (14 years) and Becky Haskin (13 years).
However, after much deep reflection and thought during Thanksgiving week, the decision became clearer to me. Therefore, rather than wait, I am announcing today that I will not seek a seventh term.
Sal Espino, Fort Worth councilman
“I was going to wait until the first of the year to make a final decision,” Espino said. “However, after much deep reflection and thought during Thanksgiving week, the decision became clearer to me. Therefore, rather than wait, I am announcing today that I will not seek a seventh term.”
Espino said Monday he called Mayor Betsy Price Sunday night and told his council colleagues Monday morning. He said he is “deeply moved by the outpouring of gratitude” from them.
“I don’t want to be one of those elected officials in there forever,” Espino said. “It’s been a great run. There’s always something more to do, but it’s time to pass the baton. I love this city.”
Flores announced his bid for the seat via Facebook following Espino’s announcement. Flores said he had been mulling running for the council seat for some time, but out of respect for Espino had been waiting for him to make up his mind about seeking another term. Espino initially said he would announce his decision in January when filing for office begins for the May 2017 election.
Flores already faces two opponents in retired firefighter Steve Thornton, who nearly unseated Espino in the 2015 race, and Jennifer Trevino, a vice president at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, who announced her intentions in October. Trevino is Espino’s appointee to the City Plan Commission.
‘He’s given so much’
Price commended Espino for his long service to the city, saying he has done a good job for his constituents. Espino served two years as mayor pro tem under Price.
“If nothing else, Sal always has the city’s best interest at heart. He’s given so much,” Price said. “He’ll be sorely missed. Sal is always pleasant, upbeat and positive. I’ve always admired that about him.”
District 6 Councilman Jungus Jordan also praised Espino for his hard work and commitment to his community and city, saying the council will miss him.
“Sal and I came on the council at the same time,” Jordan said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve on the council with him. Our passions have been parallel when it comes to transportation and infrastructure. He did a good job. He had some tough issues with the Stockyards, North Main and the Trinity River Vision.”
Espino said he is proud of his council tenure and his work in improving public safety and infrastructure, and in particular the economic growth in District 2, which stretches into far north Fort Worth and the Alliance corridor. He said he’s disappointed the City Council has not been able to improve the city’s transit system with street cars and challenges to the council to work toward 21st century mass transit.
The city also needs continue improving its technology and offering more services online, he said.
“It’s been a remarkable journey,” said Espino, who grew up on the north side. “There’s still hope for optimism.”
Filing begins in January
Candidate filing for all council seats and mayor begins Jan. 17 for the May 6 election.
Flores, a north side native and engineer at Parker-Hannifin Corp., also is chairman of the Zoning Commission, and has a long list of community and civic service. He is a past president of the Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods, and has served on the Building Standards Commission and the Crime Control & Prevention District, among others.
He was involved in the City Charter Review Task Force, the Historic Stockyards Design District Task Force, the Master Thoroughfare Plan Task Force and the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Infrastructure.
Flores said his platform will include issues involving public safety, making sure infrastructure keeps up with demand, development on the north side resulting from the Trinity River Vision project and the ongoing Stockyards redevelopment project.
He said his community and civic service so far gives him the “depth and scope of experience” needed for the council seat. “I’m not a newcomer,” Flores said.