Dallas District 9’s Paula Blackmon Rejects Easy Fixes for Progress

Dallas City Council District 9 incumbent Paula Blackmon is running for re-election against Kendra Madison, a first-time candidate. Blackmon, who has been on the council since 2019 and previously served as chief of staff under former Dallas Mayors Tom Leppert and Mike Rawlings, said that serving on the council has shown her that democracy isn’t a system where things happen overnight, especially given Dallas’ city manager form of government. City government, she explained, is vastly different from state, federal, and county government, and there are things that can be controlled, and things that can’t.

Madison, according to The Advocate, has lived in Dallas for eight years and has worked in human resources and as a volunteer for multiple organizations. She did not respond to interview requests from the Observer. In a written questionnaire, Madison stated that she believes crime prevention and homeless intervention are top priorities and that the spike in crime is a significant challenge for the city.

For Blackmon, the fact that she has been in her seat for a while is a positive. Positive changes, according to Blackmon, take time. She said she’s already started making progress on some critical issues, even if the results aren’t always immediately noticeable. One example is road safety. Blackmon said she often receives questions about how she plans to stop speeding, but the solution isn’t simple and requires a combination of enforcement, education, and engineering improvements.

Another issue that has caught Blackmon’s attention is the use of fentanyl, a drug that has been on the rise in Dallas. She said she’s been placing a lot of focus on combating fentanyl since last August, and is prioritizing providing clarity to families to keep kids safe from the drug. Although she’s waiting for a decision from state lawmakers on whether fentanyl testing strips will be legalized, the city is working on other programs, Blackmon said.

Blackmon also acknowledged issues beyond public safety, such as mental health concerns among children related to drug use. While it’s alarming, she believes that the city can help by finding ways to help children cope without using drugs. With election day on May 6, Blackmon is hoping the voters in District 9 will give her the opportunity to continue working on these and other issues.

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