Words By Brianna Patt

When scrolling through Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s social media, you may get the idea that some of the issues affecting Texas stop at Dallas. 

To gain an understanding of what has been happening in Texas and where Mayor Johnson has stood on them, we put together a timeline of the past few months and what has (or has not) been said via his social media. 

A Timeline of Events

What Was Taking Place:

  • Around June 7, the Texas Tribune reported that Gov. Abbott had signed a bill penalizing businesses from asking for proof of vaccination (meaning they will lose their work license or permit if they do so).
  • At that point, out of 83 percent of eligible vaccinated people, only 51 percent were vaccinated.

 Where Was Johnson:

  •   On June 10, Johnson posted an article he wrote discussing the Dallas public safety program titled, We Must Make Policing Better Without “Defunding” or “Dismantling.
  •   On June 17, Johnson posted several retweets promoting his Mayoral vaccination raffle.

What Was Taking Place:

  • On July 12, it was reported by the Texas Tribune that Texas House Democrats had evacuated Texas and were staying in Washington D.C to stop SB1 (better known as the “Voter Restriction Law”) from going into effect until the end of the special session, which was originally on August 6.

Where Was Johnson:

  •   Via his Twitter account on July 12, Mayor Johnson posted, discussing increasing the budget of Dallas police and services.
(Photo Credit: City of Dallas)

Other Politicians: Where Was Mayor Sylvester Turner (non-partisan Houston city Mayor)?

  •   Posted July 26 via Instagram, Turner discussed the Texas Special Session regarding Senate Bill 1, referring to the bill as “Jim Crow 2.0.”

What Was Taking Place: 

  •   On August 31, Senate Bill 8 (also referred to as the “Abortion Ban Bill”) went into effect, which limits the timeframe to receive an abortion to when a fetus’s heartbeat is detected in the womb. This bill has a disproportionate effect on members of poor and rural communities (according to the Texas Tribune).

Where Was Johnson:

  • On August 30, he posted to inform people about his Mayoral Back to School Fair Partnership to offer the COVD-19 vaccine to people.

Other Politicians: Where Was Adam Bazaldua

  •   On August 29, Dallas District 7 Mayor Adam Bazaldua posted via his Twitter in support of Roe vs. Wade, addressing the Dallas Republican legislation “political pandering and attacking the rights of many Texans, especially women.”

What Was Taking Place:

  •   Around September 20, photos of Haitians at the border being assaulted with whips via horseback with Gov. Abbott placing a barricade of cars at the border.
  •   This was also the month the abortion ban went into effect by Abbott, a bill that largely impacts the low-income Black and Brown districts that can’t afford access to affordable reproductive care.

Where Was Johnson:

  •   On September 20, Johnson posted “Iron Skillet Week” proclamation, a show of support for Southern Methodist University.
  •   On September 20, Johnson posted a tweet in support of the Pepperdine School Public Policy.

Where Was Mayor Turner?

  •   Via a retweet on September 23, Turner posted about the African American Mayor Association urging Biden to speak up about the abuse of Haitian migrant crisis at the Texas Border along with 500 other Black mayors.

From the Mayor’s Office

When asked about the work Mayor Johnson has been doing for underserved Black and Brown communities to impact these issues, Chief of Communications Tristan Hallman stated that in terms of Senate Bill 1 (also known as the voter suppression bill) this is an issue in the hands of the county. As for vaccination efforts, Johnson’s administration advocated for the state [Texas] to give a direct allocation of vaccines, which were given to tens to thousands of people along with the vaccination raffle conducted by Johnson. There is also a legislative agenda placed in Austin by Johnson’s administration, which Mayor Johnson helped pass. As for the Mayor speaking up on legislative changes, he states that there is only so much that can be done by members of the local government.

“Having a legislative agenda in Austin is about the extent of what the city can do. We sign various letters, we’ve taken positions but he’s [Mayor Johnson] not someone who grandstands for its own sake,” Hallman said.

How are Fellow Politicians Feeling?

As for how other local politicians feel Johnson helps the underserved communities in Dallas, according to Dallas District 7 representative Adam Bazaldua, there are crises’ that have long impacted the Dallas community that he believes are finally being addressed under the Mayor Johnson administration. He points to the investment via an equity lens over two or three years of the school budget to tackle disparities in Brown and Black communities. Some of the struggles of where Dallas is today, he attributes to a history of systemic racism.

“Where we are, and I can confidently say this as a representative for District 7, is not by accident. It’s by the intentional policy of the past, systemic racism essentially, that has resulted in one of the most segregated cities that we know in the country,” Bazaldua said.

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Recent Work by The Mayor:

  • It was recently announced that Johnson’s proposed $500,000 budget for lighting improvements for the South Dallas area was approved.
  •   A projected 76 new lights will be installed.

According to Johnson, the introduction of this new lighting setup is to “make our wonderful South Dallas community safer.”

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