Source: NBC DFW
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The growing suburb of Mesquite, east of Dallas, made history on election night.
Voters elected the community’s first Hispanic mayor.
Daniel Aleman bested Ron Ward with 59% of the vote. Ward also would have made history as the city’s first Black mayor.
The city is preparing to usher in a new era on November 15.
“I’m actually the first Latino mayor for our city of Mesquite,” said Aleman. “Third-generation Mexican-American. My grandparents came from Zacatecas, Mexico.”
The longtime pastor and current city council member will soon lead the city where, although more than 60% of the school district’s students are Hispanic, Latino representation has long lagged behind.
“I’m all about building relationships and that’s what I want to do. I want to do it across the board. I want to do it with our businesses, our government, our schools, our neighborhoods. I want to get more of our Hispanic culture with our city government,” he said. “For anyone that knows Spanish they know ‘pastor’ means shepherd, ‘Aleman’ means German, you put that together you got ‘German Shepherd. But I tell people I don’t bite.”
Aleman does, however, pledge to be aggressive when it comes to economic development to help boost the city’s tax revenue.
He wants to continue increasing business parks near the city’s metro airport.
The city currently counts 12 housing development projects that will bring 10,000 homes to the area in the coming years.
“We have 635, Highway 80, Interstate 20, Interstate 30, it’s great for our Metroplex, so we’re open for business,” he said. “We want folks to consider our city and bring their business to our city.”
Aleman’s platform included a focus on public safety. The mayoral candidate received endorsements from the police and fire unions. He supports recruiting more police officers and adding a new fire station in the city’s southeast sector.
“I want to continue to be aggressive in recruiting, training, putting officers out on the streets, making sure that we stay up with our growing populations. We’re a city of 150,000 now,” he said.
Depending on one upcoming runoff, the Mesquite City Council could be represented solely by white leaders.
The city’s 27th mayor hopes more minorities step up.
“We’re constantly saying: hey, get involved come and be a part of one of the boards, one of the commissions,” said Aleman.
The husband, father and grandfather promises to be a mayor strong in his faith and ready to serve all.
“I have a slogan that I’ve used quite often that we are better together for a better Mesquite,” said Aleman.
He says he will keep his full-time job as a pastor, pointing out that the mayor makes $100/a month. City council members receive $50/a month.
The mayor-elect will be sworn in on November 15 at city hall.