About Joel Burns

An honest and trusted leader who never stops working for the citizens of Fort Worth, Joel was elected to the Fort Worth City Council in 2007.  Joel effectively advocates for open and accessible government, successful partnerships for quality economic development, and safe school environments for our children.

Open and accessible government
Joel is committed to expanding city public process and civic engagement, working with the Fort Worth City Secretary to increase electronic availability of all council agenda information to improve transparency and reduce costs to the city and public.

Joel stands up for neighborhoods, giving residents better access to negotiations and more time to review proposals that impact their communities.  He is focused on bringing the needs of neighborhood residents to the council agenda to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table.

“We have the opportunity to have great public engagement.  Our city is full of smart citizens generous of their time and talents. We must be certain that when citizens show up, they know they are a meaningful part of making the decisions and that their input and opinions matter.”

Joel knows that this type of collaborative environment that encourages citizens and public officials to think outside the box are a great asset to the future of District 9 and Fort Worth.

Quality economic development
With the help of neighborhood associations, Joel brings people together to ensure Fort Worth benefits from smart economic development.  Joel’s work

to revitalize and attract businesses to Fort Worth’s Near Southside neighborhood was recognized when he was given the 2009 Kline-Watts Award by the board of Fort Worth South, Inc.

“We must continually prepare for the future so that our economy can grow in a way that lifts the burden off the shoulders of individual taxpayers and keeps commitments to citizens and public servants.”

As the former District 9 Commissioner on the Fort Worth Zoning Commission and as a council member, Joel led the re-zoning process of Hemphill Street.  By teaming with the neighborhood, he developed a plan that promotes small business diversity and brings well-paying jobs to the area.  To build upon the community partnership that he started, Joel is working to make the Hemphill-Lamar connector a reality that will further link downtown with nearby Southside


Safe and secure schools 
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Joel partners with parents, teachers, administrators, and students, both in Fort Worth and nationally, on ways to end bullying in our schools.

“No child should be made to feel like they are without worth.  It is not the responsibility of the child to put a stop to bullying.  It is our responsibility and obligation as adults to ensure that every child can grow and learn in a safe environment.”

For his efforts to end bullying, Joel was honored with the 2011 Elected Official of the Year award from the National Association of Social Workers in North Central Texas-Fort Worth Area Branch.  Joel’s commitment to Fort Worth youth also earned him the 2011 “Believing in Youth” award presented by Santa Fe Youth Services.

Joel supports strong anti-bullying legislation that gives teachers access to the tools they need to prevent, identify, and report bullying.  He also supports federal legislation, the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would direct schools and districts to adopt codes of conduct to prevent bullying and harassment.

In the face of parks and recreation budget cuts, Joel saved and raised private donations for the Summer Mobile Recreation Program, a program that helps low-income kids in District 9 build self-esteem and character through summer recreational activities.

Forward thinking transportation solutions
Joel is a leader who knows that modern, forward-thinking transportation options for Fort Worth will build a strong economy and a livable city for generations.  Joel has played an active role in the development of the TEX Commuter Rail Corridor which will expand rail service to connect Fort Worth to DFW airport and includes planned Medical District and Berry Street/TCU stations to directly address critical needs in District 9.

Always with an eye to future opportunity, Joel supports installing a modern street car system in Fort Worth – a system that will bring new development to the city, grow businesses, revitalize neighborhoods, and pave the way for a comprehensive, fully-connected transportation system for Fort Worth residents.

A lifetime of service
Joel was born at the Gladney Center for Adoption, just blocks from where he now lives.  Joel grew up southwest of Fort Worth on the O.C. Armstrong Ranch.  He

attended Texas Wesleyan University, is a licensed Real Estate agent with Virginia Cook Realtors in Fort Worth, a member of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors, and an alumnus of Leadership Fort Worth.

Prior to his election to the City Council, Joel served as the Chairman of the Fort Worth Historic and Cultural Landmark Commission and was the former Board Secretary for the Tarrant County Housing Partnership.
As a council member, Joel serves on the Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, Housing and Economic Development Committee, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee, the following Tax Increment Finance District Boards: Downtown, Lancaster, Southside Medical District (Chairman) and Southwest Parkway. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau and Fort Worth South, Inc.

Joel and his partner of 18 years JD Angle live in the Ryan Place neighborhood of Fort Worth in a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark home they restored together.

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