Fort Worth

‘Be Frank:' New Fort Worth Council Member Chris Nettles Making His Mark

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Part of a new generation of Fort Worth city leaders, Chris Nettles hosted his first community meeting Wednesday, urging citizens to get to the point and not to be afraid to make people mad – even him.

"The only way we can deal with issues and concerns is if we hit it head-on and be frank with each other,” he said at the beginning of the meeting on Berry Street.

Not that long ago, the minister and business owner was on the other side, asking questions, pushing for change.

Then he got elected in a runoff with longtime council member Kelly Allen Gray.

"I decided to take the back seat and come to the front seat,” he said.

The 33-year-old is still pushing for change, but now he's learning he has to be more than just a rebel.

"You have to work within the system and work with people and be nice and try to actually get things done,” he said.

Nettles represents District 8, an area that runs generally south of downtown along Interstate 35 and is known for its low income and high crime.

He's lived in the area all his life.

"Over the years we have seen this district fall behind in development, number one in crime,” he said.

This is Nettles’ first time to serve in public office. He ran for mayor in 2017 but lost to then-Mayor Betsy Price.

One of his first acts after getting elected as a council member was to push for justice for Atatiana Jefferson, the woman killed by a Fort Worth police officer while she was inside her own home.

Nettles delivered a letter to the judge, urging him to set a trial date for former officer Aaron Dean, accused of her murder.

Last week, the judge finally did.

"I mean it's huge,” he said. “It's a breath of fresh air."

On the city council, Nettles is working with new Mayor Mattie Parker and several other new council members after years of little turnover at City Hall.

Nettles is complimentary of his new relationship with Parker, saying she is open to hearing his views and allowing him to express them fully.

"I'm representing the community,” he said. “And so my voice has to be bold and loud."

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