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Interview: Casie Pierce, candidate for District 7

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By Michael Hubbard

Dallas South News contributor Michael Hubbard conducted an email interview with District 7 city council candidate Casie Pierce.  The contents of the interview can be viewed below.

Michael Hubbard:  Ms. Pierce, you have stated that unity within District 7 is essential to making progress in the district. What will you do differently from the incumbent to unify your constituents?

Casie Pierce

Casie Pierce: There are many different neighborhoods in District 7. The district encompasses a wide slice of Dallas, from East Oak Cliff and Cedar Crest, to Fair Park/South Dallas, to Parkdale and Buckner Terrace, and then all the neighborhoods along Ferguson Road north of I-30 that feed participate in the Ferguson Road Initiative, all the way northeast toward and into the Harry Stone area and east toward Mesquite and Eastfield College.

All of the neighborhoods contained in District 7 are unique. Yet we all need to realize that our needs are similar: we all want great parks, good schools. smooth roads, safe neighborhoods, great shopping amenities and good jobs. We all have that in common and I think that if we draw on those things that bring us together, we can have a better, more vibrant district.

MH: Can you elaborate on the statement you made that the key to the future of Dallas lies within District 7?

CP: District 7 is a great cross-section of Dallas. We have the spirit of Oak Cliff, the soul of South Dallas/Fair Park, the funkiness and beauty of East Dallas and all parts in between. We also have a great deal of vacant land, empty and under-used warehouse/manufacturing facilities and commercial real estate, and a ready work-force of people who can work at good paying jobs near their homes. We just need to get those jobs in the area, and then we can look forward to attracting other economic investment, as well as middle-class folks back into South Dallas.

MH: District 7 has been arguably the most neglected district in the City of Dallas when it comes to significant business development. How do you plan to reverse that trend?

CP: Jobs. District 7 has been driven away from its more prosperous history, of good, manufacturing jobs, that paid good wages, benefits, pensions and on-the-job training. Those things now lie in the outer suburbs like Garland, Richardson, Grand Prairie, Irving.

Why aren’t we promoting District 7 to manufacturing businesses as a good place to locate?  Why aren’t we promoting the fact that we are close to downtown, near highway and railway corridors with a willing and able workforce? We have got to give businesses a reason to come here and that is the first and foremost important item I will focus on as council member for this district.

MH: District 7 has no shortage of government subsidized housing. How will you help bring quality single family housing developments to the district? What plans do you have to attract the middle class back to District 7?

CP: I am encouraged by the nonprofit sector and their willingness to come in and fill the housing void left by current and past city councils. The housing sector is the same as all business. Create a demand for housing and developers/contractors will be there to supply the housing.

Bottom line is that we must create a demand for single family housing. In order to do that we must attract those families back to our district. We can do that with a focus on job creation, promoting the great schools we have, attracting small and mid-size businesses to the area, and committing to true investment in the infrastructure of our community.

MH: What are you thoughts on how District 7 should be handled during the redistricting process?

Pierce – Again, District 7 is a very spread-across district. It stretches from East Oak Cliff to West Mesquite. I-30 chops it in half. When looking at the geographical area and the demographics of the neighborhoods, it would make more sense to take the southeastern part of Dallas- which includes the Piedmont neighborhood, the rest of Buckner Terrance and Pleasant Grove/Kleberg- and make one single district. There are parts of District 7 north of I-30 that again, looking at a map, makes more sense if they were in District 9.

DSN: Why do you believe you are the best candidate to represent District 7?

CP: As a business woman, founder of a non-profit, executive director of a PID and homeowner in the Parkdale neighborhood, I believe that I represent a greater cross-section of the district. While I know what it means to manage day-to-day operations, I also know that being a city council person is more than attending committee meetings and ground breaking ceremonies.

I believe that due to decades of neglect and injustice the future council members of the districts in the southern part of the city are going to have to work twice as hard to attract development. My professional background and life experience makes me the best candidate for this district.

MH: Why do you want to represent District 7?

CP: I am running because I have seen very little progress in my community over the past decade. We have a huge opportunity for growth in District 7, but there is a lack of ingenuity and ability to plan comprehensively. We are at a disadvantage because of decades of injustice, but we have a great deal of potential and I think it’s time we stopped settling for mediocrity. The people of District 7 are ready for a new direction and I believe that I can bring in much needed change.

Michael Hubbard is a freelance writer and blogger.  A native of Dallas, TX., he is a proud graduate of James Madison High School.  Michael brings a unique, hometown perspective to his political and social commentary.  You can follow his opinions at blog.mikeondallas.com Mike can be reached at Mhubbard23@aol.com

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