Most people I know can tell you, down to the hour, when they plan to vote Donald Trump out of office but have no idea who is even running for Dallas mayor in the May 4 election.
I selected the person who will get my vote about a year ago when I asked my friend, Albert Black, a simple question: “What makes you, you?” His answer was brief: “My desire to be responsible for something and for people.”
To truly understand the depth of his answer, one has to go back 49 years to a young, African American boy, born into indigent care at Parkland Hospital and raised with six brothers and sisters on top of a landfill in the Frazier Courts housing projects. At just 10 years old, he wanted to buy his own school lunch so he grabbed two buddies and started Best Friends Lawn Service, employing up to 50 other kids in the neighborhood so they could also buy their own school lunches. He felt responsible for his friends.
In 1982, Albert started On-Target Supplies & Logistics in Oak Cliff. After working all day on the business – while his children toddled around the office – he’d close up the office to head downtown and moonlight as a doorman all night, in order to make ends meet. He felt responsible for the success of his family.
In 2008, when the market crashed and the business took a downturn, he refused to lay off employees – against the advice of his board. Instead, Albert pulled from his personal savings for the next three years to ensure his 300+ employees were able to keep their jobs. He felt responsible for his employees and their families.
In 2009, as Chairman of the Board of Baylor Health Care System, Albert learned that the zip code where he grew up had one of the highest diabetes rates in the entire country. He subsequently helped build the first ever healthcare facility in the area, changing the trajectory for the Frazier Courts neighborhood for generations to come. He felt responsible for his community.
Last April, I ran into Albert’s wife, Gwyneith. As I sipped my Grande coffee in the late afternoon, I told her I was exhausted after a long day of working to get my new business off the ground, but that I still needed to pick up my daughters from preschool. I asked what Albert was up to and she explained that he had received a call from an elderly resident who was having trouble putting food on the table. She then smiled sweetly as she informed me that Albert was out buying her groceries… and flowers. He felt responsible for the elderly woman.
A few months later, Albert invited me to his home to ask if I could help him launch his campaign and discuss an idea I had to address gender inequality in Dallas. It was late afternoon once again, and I walked in to find Albert unwrapping a brand new coffee pot. I knew most people didn’t drink coffee this time of day, and when I asked him what he was doing, he just replied, “I heard you drink coffee late in the day so you have enough energy to build your business and play with your children, and I understand what that’s like.” He didn’t need to, but that day, Albert Black felt responsible for me.
I want a mayor who not only has risen to the highest levels of business success and civic engagement, but who also feels a deep-rooted responsibility for the people who live in this city and for our success as a whole. That’s why after serving as his launch consultant during the summer of 2018, I am honored to now serve as chairwoman.
In a world of political chaos and government shutdowns, I am ready for the predictability and steadiness of a mayor who views every problem as something he can solve – whether it’s the immense responsibility of making payroll for more than 35 years – or ensuring access to healthcare and economic opportunities – or serving as a catalyst for change to address gender inequality in our city.
My vote goes to the guy who does all that...while remembering this working mama’s afternoon coffee. And that man is Albert Black.
Chairwoman, Albert for Dallas Campaign