Full Text: Mayor Johnson's
For William and George, June 17, 2019
Thank you. Thank you very much. What a wonderful day. Thank you so much for being here.
Mayor Rawlings, Members of the City Council, City Manager Broadnax, city staff, distinguished guests, family, friends, and my fellow Dallasites:
I am honored, beyond all possible description, to serve as the 60th elected Mayor of the City of Dallas, Texas. I thank God for this incredible opportunity. I have known for a long time that public service would be my life’s work, and I am grateful to the people of Dallas for allowing me to serve as their mayor.
And speaking of service, I would like to thank Mayor Mike Rawlings and his lovely wife, Micki, for the past eight years. Mayor Rawlings, you’ve been a good friend to me. But you’ve been an even better friend to Dallas. Thank you so much for your leadership. Because of it, we are a better city than we were eight years ago and I know that everyone here deeply appreciates you and your family for that.
[Pause for applause]
I also want to say “thank you” to my family. I am truly blessed to have the love and support of my wife and best friend, Nikki. Nikki you are my rock, my partner, and quite often, my reality check. None of this would be possible without you. Thank you, Nikki. I love you so much.
And to our two boys, William and George: I am so proud of both of you! Today I will be taking on a new job title. But I want you boys to know that my two most important job titles will always be “husband” and “dad”.
My friends, as with all ceremonies such as this, today represents a new beginning, not just for me and the City Council members seated behind me, but for our entire city. Dallas voters did more than cast a vote on June 8th, they cast a vision. They made a clear choice about who they want to be and where they want to go.
Our mission in the coming years will be to fulfill this vision for our city. To create a brighter future and to build an even better Dallas: a Dallas that works for every person, in every neighborhood.
I promised the people of Dallas that I would seek consensus. And I will.
I pledged that our new City Council would unite to find common ground and common-sense solutions to our problems. And we must.
Today, we officially begin the work of unifying our city behind a single, powerful
Dallas will be a place where anybody can do anything. Take me, for instance. I grew up in very modest circumstances in West Dallas and Oak Cliff, the son of a working class family. But with the love and support of a single Dallas ISD teacher, Miss Faris, my world was opened up to endless possibilities and dreams. And because of a family, a neighborhood, a church, and non-profit organizations like the Boys and Girls Club that supported my dreams, I stand before you today doing something that, at one time in my life, even I would have told you was impossible.
We MUST build a Dallas where every child has the tools, including the love and support, they need to dream big dreams and to accomplish what might at first appear to be impossible.
And every single day we must work to transform Dallas from what it is into what it can and ought to be.
Today is a new day for our city. And it is a fresh start for our new City Council and our entire community. It is a day where we must work together, and we must explore new ways of doing things in order to achieve the greatest possible results. Campaign season is officially over and I am hereby extending my hand to every member of our new City Council. I promise to work with each and every one of you to do what is best for Dallas.
A new day for Dallas means a new culture of civility at City Hall. We can attack problems without attacking people. As mayor, that is exactly what I am asking our city leaders to do, whether we are dealing with each other, city staff, or the public. The challenges facing this city are simply too big for us to act small. When we disagree on an issue, we need to do so with a spirit of grace, a tone of civility, and from a posture of friendship. After all, we all want what is best for our city. So, to the members of our new City Council—my door is open. And so is my mind.
Let us work together to build a friendlier and more respectful city government.
A new day for Dallas means a new focus on ethics. I’ve served in elected office for nearly a decade. One principle I have never wavered on, and will never compromise on, is that there is no place in government for corruption. I am committed to working with our new City Council to rewrite our city’s Code of Ethics. We must end the corruption at City Hall immediately, completely, and permanently.
Our city government should be as honest and hard-working as our city. As a husband, a father, a lawyer and an elected official, honesty and integrity have always been my guides and they will continue to be my guides as your mayor.
Let us work together to build a more honest and ethical city government.
A new day for Dallas means a new focus on data and innovation.
A 21st century city must have a 21st century government. As a legislator, I pushed hard for more data-driven policy making, particularly in the areas of early childhood education and public safety. Data can help our city government become more innovative and efficient by directing taxpayer dollars toward those programs and initiatives that are most likely to yield results. With lower revenue caps being imposed on cities like Dallas by my old friends in the Texas Legislature, it is now more important than ever that we learn to do more with less. We simply cannot afford to fund programs or initiatives whose effectiveness is not, or cannot be, supported by data.
We should also do a better job of harnessing the power of technology to deliver services to the residents of Dallas and to make more data more readily available to the public. We must provide a higher level of customer service, transparency and accountability to our residents if we truly want Dallas to be a 21st century city.
Let us work together to build a more innovative, data-driven city government.
A new day for Dallas means a new emphasis on education and workforce. The Dallas of tomorrow is being created in the classrooms of today. And so we need to do everything we can to ensure that we are delivering the high-quality education that our children deserve and our parents demand. We will continue to partner with our friends in the education community and support them in their work. And we will push for common-sense ideas like expanding full-day public Pre-K, aligning our public schools with 21st century workforce needs, and improving access to affordable child care.
I know firsthand the difference a quality education can make in a person’s life. I would not be standing before you today were it not for the incredible education I was so blessed to receive. I am proud to announce that over the next four years, there will be even greater support from the mayor’s office for both improving our public schools and for enhancing our city’s workforce. In the coming weeks, I will be creating a new City Council committee focused on our city’s education and workforce needs and I will also be appointing an Education and Workforce czar or czarina to help Dallas become known as quickly as possible as the “Education and Workforce Capital of Texas”.
Improving our public schools and our workforce is going to take all of us. We definitely need support from City Hall, but we also need support from the business community, neighborhood and community organizations, and of course, the education community -- from our local school districts to our community college district. Supporting our public schools is an investment: an investment that will allow us to reap benefits far into the future in the form of a more skilled workforce that will, in turn, strengthen our economy.
Let us work together to improve our public schools. And let us work together to develop a more skilled workforce to help lift our fellow Dallasites out of poverty and make our city more prosperous and equitable.
Finally, a new day for Dallas means a new approach to fighting crime.
Nothing a government does is more important than protecting its residents. Like all major cities, Dallas sometimes faces challenges when it comes to public safety. We are facing such a challenge right now, and it is a serious one. But, like we have every single time we have faced such a challenge in the past, we will rise to meet the current challenge and we will ensure that Dallas remains one of the safest large cities in the country.
I will encourage our Police Chief to strengthen our partnerships with our friends in law enforcement at the federal, state, and county levels in order to increase the number of licensed peace officers on our streets immediately. I have been assured by the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety that his agency stands ready to help Dallas by deploying the same strategies his agency used to help the City of San Antonio reduce its crime rate by nearly 20 percent last year when they were dealing with a similar public safety challenge.
I will also work with our new City Council, our City Manager, and our Police Chief to address, in a sustainable way, our police officer shortage, by tackling the issue of officer salaries and benefits and also the issue of low morale within our police department. And we need to address head-on the fact that we have a long way to go when it comes to police-community relations. We have to work even harder to encourage young men and women from every neighborhood in Dallas to pursue careers in law enforcement and to become Dallas police officers.
Let us work together to build an even safer Dallas.
So, here is my agenda for the next four years:
Institutionalize civility and a culture of respect at City Hall.
Eradicate corruption in all its forms.
Increase the use of data to foster greater innovation.
Develop a workforce that is recognized as one of the most skilled in the nation.
Ensure that Dallas remains one of the safest large cities in America.
Is this an ambitious agenda? Yes.
Will it be easy? No.
But will we get it done? Absolutely.
And get it done, we must. Because our future, and more importantly our children’s future, depends on it.
We can and we will create a brighter future for Dallas.
My friends, today I promise you that we will challenge the status quo and that, when we do, we will change this city.
Those of us seated up here on this stage need help from all of you. This is YOUR city. We are YOUR government.
I am asking each of you to work with us. None of this can happen without you. If you have an idea, call us. If you have a question, come see us. We are a government for the people. And we want your involvement. No, we need your involvement.
The work ahead of us will be challenging, but rewarding. So, let us begin today.
It is indeed a new day in Dallas. And together, we can be…
One Dallas, with one vision.
And we can be one people, with one incredibly bright future.
That is our mission, and this is our moment.
May God bless you and may God continue to bless the great City of Dallas, Texas.