On May 4, 2019, the city of Dallas will hold an election to choose the next mayor. One of the running candidates, Mike Ablon, is an experienced real estate developer who has hopes to revitalize Dallas neighborhoods and see every community prosper. We sat down with Ablon to hear about his decision to run for mayor, his future plans if elected, and much more.
What made you decide to run for mayor?
The world knows Dallas by our skyline, but great cities are defined by the vitality of their neighborhoods. That’s what I want to do as Mayor – help strengthen and revitalize neighborhoods so they are safe and prosperous. We can only do this if we come together as a city and do what’s right for the future success of every part of Dallas, starting with improving the basic city and education services that make a lasting difference in our everyday lives.
How would you say your experience as a real estate developer informs the decisions you would make as mayor?
At heart I am a builder. I build neighborhoods and communities where families can live, work and play. I build companies that provide jobs. And I build bridges to connect people. With my experience, I understand firsthand that the fabric of great American cities starts with great neighborhoods. And Dallas is already filled with some great neighborhoods. But as Mayor, I want to see every neighborhood in every part of our city prosper, especially the communities left behind by City Hall.
Are there certain neighborhoods in Dallas where you plan to make more changes than others?
I have said from the day I announced my candidacy that we need to take better care of every community in every part of our city. Of course, there are many neighborhoods that feel forgotten and I want to take a comprehensive look at each of them. As Dallas has grown and developed, the jobs and investments have not touched all areas, and City Hall has fallen behind on taking care of the infrastructure in South Dallas. I want to work to encourage investment and growth in those areas and make sure their infrastructure needs are met with the highest level of service.
What would you say are the hallmarks of your mayoral campaign?
Honesty. One of the worst things that my opponents can say about me is that I am not a politician. That’s okay. I think our city deserves better than political squabbling. I am a consensus builder and I want to rise above our differences to get things done for all citizens of Dallas.
How do you plan to improve city and education services in the city?
The future of Dallas rests on the success our teachers and parents have in educating our next generation of entrepreneurs, skilled workers and professionals. As Mayor, I will focus on getting our students they help they need outside of our schools, starting with academic assistance and tutoring after the bell rings in a safe and productive atmosphere. Making sure our young people receive the academic instruction through
various afterschool programs, especially for children of working parents, could be the difference between dropping out or graduation.
Regarding city services, we need to start with improving transportation and providing more support for our police officers and fire firefighters. Let’s first talk about transportation. We can accomplish anything in Dallas, it seems, except fill potholes, improve alleys, and smooth our roads. This lack of attention to basic city services adds time to your commute, keeps working parents away from their families and takes money out of your pocket for car repairs.
We have spent billions of dollars on DART but more than 30 years after its start, families in South Dallas still have a tough time getting to work, buying groceries or seeing their doctors. It’s time to revisit our public transportation options to make sure we no longer leave behind working families, handicapped residents and senior citizens who struggle to get around our city.
We also need to make public safety a priority. Due to bad decisions by City Hall, our police department is short 1,000 officers and our firefighters often go without the tools they need. As Mayor, I will fight for better pay, a stronger pension and smarter benefits for the men and women who risk their lives each day to make Dallas a safer place. And, if we’re going to depend on police and firefighters to keep us secure, they deserve a seat at the table when we write the city budget.