Dallas District 14 Candidates Square Off in Debate

Beginning on Monday April 24th, voters will head to the polls to cast their vote in races that could change how North Texas cities are run.

More than a dozen mayoral seats and even more city council seats are up for grabs across the region.

One of the more heated races is for the council seat representing Uptown and much of downtown Dallas.

Two of the three candidates in that race squared off in a debate Sunday evening.

Dozens of eager residents crowded in and around a gazebo at a Dallas restaurant to hear from the Incumbent: Dallas councilman, Philip Kingston and one of his challengers, Attorney Matt Wood.

Many in attendance know who they want leading District 14 the next four years, but not everyone.

“I came here not knowing how I was going to vote,” said Richard Morgan.

Emmalee Vernon is also an undecided voter.

“I came here today to try and figure out the difference between the two candidates,” she said.

Vernon says she initially was set on voting for Kingston. However, she received a mailing that detailed many people she respects who also support Wood.

Wood challenged Kingston on his support of using DART money to help solve a public safety pension crisis.

“I think that creates two problems out of one,” said Wood. “I think that’s a bad idea. I think it puts the burden on the people who need DART the most.”

”The DART plan is necessary because the numbers don’t work otherwise,” responded Kingston.

After the hour-long debate, both candidates feel voters saw fundamental differences between them.

“I’m a transactional attorney, I bring people together,” said Wood. “He’s a litigator, he fights. That’s a difference.”

“I have a long track record of making positive improvements and fighting for their interests and stopping really bad projects and essentially what’s being said on the other side is: I want to work with those who seek to harm us,” said Kingston.

Morgan still left feeling ‘torn’ mostly over Kingston’s support for a 2-way conversion project on McKinney-Cole.

“I like a lot of what Kingston had to say but that McKinney conversion project is really hard to get over,” he said.

Candidate Kim Welch, a magazine publisher, was not in attendance.

Welch told NBC 5 that he received the invitation with very little notice and had a prior commitment out of town he could not get out of.

Election Day is Saturday May 6th.

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