City Council and school board candidates squared off at the Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum on Thursday, and in at least one race, the gloves came off.
“I’m not in favor of keeping the status quo, I’m about change,” said Tamera Bounds, who is challenging incumbent Cory Hoffman for Place 5 on the Mansfield City Council. “Many people don’t vote here because they feel like their vote doesn’t count.”
Hoffman, who is seeking his fourth three-year term, likes the direction the city is headed.
“We are riding a tremendous amount of momentum,” he said. “We need to keep the momentum going. I want to ensure that Mansfield continues to be a city where my kids and your kids want to live.”
Larry Menendez Jr., who is also running for Place 5, said he isn’t looking to change anything, but does see room for improvement.
“We need more youth facilities,” he said. “The gym by the library is not big enough. With the area we have, there’s no reason we can’t build our own sports places. Our youth are not going to come back to a place without a shopping mall or with only three basketball courts.”
Bounds wants even more changes.
“We need better recreation for our children to play sports, better upscale shopping and restaurants,” she said. “We need to make sure as we grow, we don’t forget infrastructure.”
Hoffman took aim at Bounds, too.
“We have a tremendous (gas well) ordinance in place, one of the toughest in the state,” he said. “If one of my challengers had her way, we would have a 3,000-foot circle around (every well). Do you think we would have any more economic development? All of our development would dry up as fast as west Texas.”
Incumbent Stephen Lindsey, who has served on the council since 2010 in Place 3, and Anthony Gonzales, who is challenging Lindsey, were unable to participate in the forum. Incumbent Darryl Haynes is unopposed for his fourth three-year term in Place 4.
In the school board race, Michelle Newsom and Nicole Wooldridge, both running for Place 1, agreed on almost every issue.
“Standardized testing needs to be looked at,” Newsom said. “I’m in complete support of anything that changes standardized tests. It’s broken in my eyes. Students should not be held accountable to the student next to them. They should be compared to where they were before.”
Wooldridge sees problems with state testing, too.
“Standardized testing curbs creativity,” she said. “The Arlington ISD sent a letter to the legislature, asking to opt out of high-stakes standardized testing. It would behoove Mansfield to also opt out. I am definitely not in favor of standardized testing.”
Wooldridge and Newsom are running for Place 1, which is being vacated by Terry Moore, who chose not to run for re-election. Beth Light, who is running for her fourth three-year term in Place 2, is unopposed.
Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451
Early voting runs through May 5. Election Day is 7 a.m.-7 p.m. May 9. Go tohttps://gisit.tarrantcounty.com/VoterLookup to find your polling place.