Earlier today, my Fort Worth City Council colleagues and I passed an ordinance calling for a May 10th Special Election and possible June 21st Run-off Election to fill my seat on the Fort Worth Council.
By now, I’m sure you are aware of the big announcement I made last week at Council.
Surrounded by family, friends and supporters in the council chambers I submitted my resignation so that I am able to attend a special year-long Mid-Career Masters in Public Administration program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Classes begin July 16th.
I shared reflections on my years in office and the future ahead with several of the local stations:
KERA 90.1 (NPR) interview with Bill Zeeble
WFAA Channel 8 (ABC) “Joel Burns on his legacy and his future”
NBC-5/Dallas Morning News “Lone Star Politics” Show
There are so many of you who have profoundly inspired me and made an unforgettable mark on my 6 1/2 years of Council service. I could not adequately thank all of you in my comments last week, nor will I in this email. I will not only spend the rest of my term, but the rest of my life trying to thank the many who made better my service, and make better this world of ours.
I am mindful of J.D., my parents and others, who continue to give me lasting examples of what can come of kindness, hard work, serving freely and good humor. I think of the countless friends, and strangers who became friends, who joined me week after week on our first campaign in 2007. Every time I pass a school, park or neighborhood, I am reminded of the Fort Worth neighbors who gave generously of their time to serve as my board and commission appointees, on community projects and in their neighborhood associations. And I marvel daily at the courageous youth and adults across the country, and the world, who have stood up to bullying and sought to create safe spaces for our children to learn and grow.
You all continue to inspire me and give hope to all of us.
MY SERVICE IS NOT OVER
I will continue to serve as the District 9 Council member with tremendous pride and every bit of energy I have until my successor is elected and duly sworn. That day will either by June 3rd if a candidate wins the May 10th Special Election with more than 50% or, more likely, July 15th following a June 21st Run-off Election if needed. (More election details: PDF)
You might have noticed I will likely serve until the July 15th evening Council meeting in Fort Worth and my Harvard program begins the morning of July 16th. Logistical challenges aside, I can’t imagine a more fitting coincidence, for while I will no longer be a Council member, I plan to never take a break from working for a better Fort Worth.
There is still much work to be done. I will be working aggressively for the passage of the May 10th Bond Package and to find long-term funding to overcome our decades of transportation disinvestment. A healthy Fort Worth is one that protects employees and patrons from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke regardless of whether the establishment serves an old fashioned breakfast or an old fashion cocktail. And we must act quickly to protect threatened historic treasures like downtown’s Heritage Park Plaza and the Historic Downtown Post Office.
EVEN AFTER HARVARD MY SERVICE IS NOT OVER
I’m not yet sure of what lies ahead past my time in Cambridge, but one thing for which I am certain is that I will never stop loving our great city and Fort Worth is where I intend to return. J.D.’s work to elect our next Governor will keep him in Texas for the 11 months I’m at Harvard, but one or two weekends each month one of us will rack-up some miles on Fort Worth-based American Airlines as we conclude our 21st year of marriage and start our 22nd during this time.
COME WITH ME (OR IF ALREADY IN BOSTON, CAN YOU COOK?)
While Harvard will keep me busy, trust that it will not dampen my penchant to over-share. Join me in going back to school via Facebook and Twitter. There I will continue to post the inspiring and the strange, occasionally themelancholy or mournful, and frequently the funny. I will share the experiences that are humbling and those for which I’m proud and sometimes very proud. And even when apart, you’ll find the conversations won by J.D., those won by me, those where we both succeed, and especially the ones he asks me not to repeat.
Please update your address book to include my personal email address email@example.com (this is the one even J.D. uses) and feel free to (respectfully) use my contact information listed at www.joels.info .
I am truly fortunate. Thank you for allowing me to serve the city and people I love, but to also leave it, grow, and return.
Fort Worth City Councilmember