District 3 has a new councilman — Dr. Brian Byrd. The good doctor is ready to serve, and we’re ready to learn more.
On May 6, 2017, Dr. Brian Byrd replaced longstanding District 3 councilman Zim Zimmerman. To learn more about our new representative, we spoke with Dr. Byrd about his experience in the race, inspiration for running, and stance on various issues.
What inspired you to throw your hat into the ring?
Brian: Former councilman Bill Garrison spent a lot of time with me before he died. He encouraged me to think about running for the council some day. The way he saw it, when you have the privilege of growing up in a great city, you need to give back and take care of it. I began to learn about serving the city from him, but then my wife and I kind of tucked it away, because our kids were young and we were building our business.
After we sold our business in 2013, we started looking again at the city council as a place to serve. This latest round felt like the best time for us to at least bring a good challenge to our district. The previous official had never had a challenger, after all, and we believe that competition makes us all better. I felt like I had something special to offer, coupled with organizational leadership experience and board experience. Also, my wife and I both grew up here. We love Fort Worth and love being here. It’s just a great place, with great people.
Describe the vision that drove your campaign.
Brian: The vision that I had for running had to do with, number one, just doing a really good job as city councilman. I will strive to represent the people who elected me, solve problems, and be there for our neighborhoods. I aim to protect our neighborhoods and businesses, and will look hard at the property tax rate in an effort to get it back to a level that’s commensurate with cities our size.
How do you want to see Fort Worth develop in the future?
Brian: I want to see a lot more families come to Fort Worth, and I want to see more young entrepreneurs come to Fort Worth. Even though my number-one job is to keep everyone safe, I also feel as if Fort Worth needs better roads and streets to aid in the operation of enterprise. We also need improved trails and park spaces, because the younger generation loves those things and is eager to utilize them. Lastly, we need a transportation system that looks ahead to what our needs will be as the population increases.
What was your experience of the election? What was unexpected, and what was a pleasant surprise?
Brian: I was surprised at how many people were willing to open the door and talk to me. We had over 40 percent of the doors I knocked on opened. I was surprised and grateful for that. One other fascinating thing I learned about District 3 is that it’s a large geographical area with very diverse problems. The range of what people think the problems are is extremely wide, and it presents a significant challenge to represent all those people well. In my opinion, it means that we really need a city council office with a service mindset. We also need good systems and processes to follow up on constituents’ concerns.
Which issue are you most excited to tackle?
Brian: Transportation. Cities around the world have begun to use autonomous vehicles, mostly buses, and the value there is that you don’t have to pay someone to drive. When it comes to public transportation expenses, that’s where most of it lies. These vehicles don’t look like a typical city bus, but more look like an airport transit vehicle. I think people will be more likely to ride them. The key is this: we have to work with the market. The only reason that someone would choose to take the bus is if they knew that it would be faster than sitting in traffic. We’re not quite ready yet technologically, but we’re moving in the right direction very quickly.
With your election, how do you expect your life to change?
Brian: I really enjoy learning new things. You can tell this from my career, as I started off in business, went into medicine, back to business, and have now entered politics. I love the process of taking on something new. I’m excited to learn how to use government to shape the city and benefit District 3 – that’s the challenge I’m working on now.