Pillow Talk – We Count

by Perry Pillow, AATC's Director of Government Affairs

Every ten years, the United States conducts the constitutionally mandated census.  This year, 2020, is a census year.  Demographers project Fort Worth’s population to approach 900,000 and Arlington’s to be close to 400,000.

Our industry is part of a key factor in ensuring that everyone is counted. AATC is partnering with local census officials to ensure a complete count. You can help by encouraging your residents to complete their census forms online.

Population determines congressional representation in Washington—more representatives equals more influence Texas will have. The population also drives federal grants and expenditures.

Making sure everyone is counted is extremely important. Consider this:  we all know that everything is bigger in Texas! But did you know that more than 7 million people live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex—2.5 million in Tarrant County alone—making this area one of the largest urban regions in the world? D/FW is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States? The census will confirm these projections

With more than 3.5 million jobs in energy, technology, financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, logistics, and a $510 billion annual gross domestic product (GDP), D/FW is the tenth-largest economy in the world! More than 20 Fortune 500 companies headquartered here. D/FW competes with Seoul and Paris, not Charlotte and Philadelphia, for jobs and corporate relocations.

Land-wise, if you have ever driven from Granbury to McKinney or Mesquite to Weatherford, then it is no surprise that D/FW is bigger than the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined!

Most importantly, D/FW has more than 700,000 multifamily units. D/FW is the largest garden-style multifamily market in the world.

Bottom-line: D/FW is huge!  You and your industry are a significant part of D/FW’s success! Let’s make sure we continue to be a world-player.  Let make sure we count!

2020 PRIMARY CANDIDATE FILINGS– The field of Texans running for president, congress, state senate, state representative, county commissioner, judge, and constable in 2020 is set. More than 100 candidates filed for places on the March 3rdTarrant County primary election ballot. Unlike recent elections, Democrats are running a very broad slate of qualified candidates.

For the first time, in a long time, Fort Worth incumbent congress member Kay Granger (R – TX 12) has picked up a primary opponent, former Colleyville city council member Chris Putnam who has put more than $500k into this race.  Michael Burgess (R TX 26) has three primary opponents and incumbents Roger Williams (R TX 25) and Marc Veasey (D TX 33) each have token primary opposition.  Ron Wright (R TX 6) does not have a primary challenger.

The congressional races to watch in Tarrant County are the U.S, Senate seat and the open district 24 race.  In the Senate contest, Republican incumbent John Cornyn has three opponents and twelve Democrats are running to replace Cornyn including Dallas-area State Senator Royce West.  Both parties have numerous candidates vying for the seat vacated by Kenny Marchant. Former Irving Mayor and HUD Regional Administrator Beth Van Duyne are the strongest of the five Republicans and Kim Olsen is the best of the seven Democrats contesting this HEB Grapevine-Irving-Coppell- Carrollton seat.

Interestingly, none of the Tarrant County Republican incumbent state representatives have primary opponents which is especially good news for AATC member State Representatives Stephanie Klick (HD 91) and Craig Goldman (HD 97).  Republican incumbent state representative Charlie Geren (HD 99) and Democrat incumbents Nicole Collier and Chris Turner have neither a primary nor general election challenger.

The state representative race to watch is the open district 92 seat. Retiring far-right state representative Jonathan Stickland won in 2018 with less than 50% of the vote.  On the Republican side, former Bedford Mayor and AATC nemesis Jim Griffin are facing AATC friendly Jeff Cason and newcomer Taylor Gillig. Steve Riddell won faced Stickland in 2018 is joined by attorney Jeff Whitfield on the Democrat slate.

Significant down-ballot races include all Tarrant County Constables, Tax Assessor-Collector and Sheriff. Long-time AATC friend incumbent Democrat Constable Michael Campbell (P 8) has four opponents.

AATC’s Government Affairs Committee will meet in January 19thto make candidate contribution recommendations to the AATC Political Action Committee (PAC) trustees.

Even the most reliable, data-driven pundits increase the margin-of-errors in Presidential election years. The Trump factor looms over all these races.  Post-primary, you can expect approximately 50 candidates vigorously vying for your vote again in the November 3, 2020, general election.

Now until November 2020 AATC proactively engages in the election process.  AATC approaches the election cycle in a slow, methodical method; thereby, minimizing the debilitating effect of election fatigue.

Is it November 3, 2020, yet?

JOIN AN AATC ADVOCACY TEAM– Our Advocacy Teams are hard at work on your behalf in cities throughout Tarrant County. Advocacy team members meet and vet candidates for public office.  This personal engagement enhances AATC’s GAC & PAC trustees’ candidate evaluation process.  Advocacy teams host property tours, attend city council meetings, and engage in local issues that affect our industry. If you live, own, or operate properties in Arlington, Bedford, Burleson, Euless, Fort Worth, Grapevine, Haltom City, Hurst, Mansfield, North Richland Hills, our Advocacy Teams need you. If you know elected or government officials, our Advocacy Teams need you.  If you would like to be on an advocacy team, contact Perry Pillow at ppillow@aatcnet.orgor (817) 616-0354.

2020 AATC MUNICIPAL FEE SURVEY – Property taxes and municipal fees are significant expenses for AATC members. Cities and school districts annually enact new tax rates and fees. These new rates and fees are effective October 1. AATC annually updates this information on our website (https://www.aatcnet.org/local-fees–taxes.html).

Perry Pillow is AATC’s Director of Government Affairs. For more information, contact Perry at ppillow@aatcnet.org or call 817-616-0354.