Dallas businessman Albert Black Jr. on Wednesday filed his candidacy to become the next mayor of Dallas, getting the jump on more than a dozen contenders considering campaigns to succeed Mike Rawlings.
Black, 58, has appointed a treasurer, Nicole Knox, for his fundraising committee. It's the first official step in any municipal campaign. He'll kick off his mayoral bid at the Frazier Community Center Saturday in South Dallas.
"I'd like to be the kind of mayor that inspires people and gets them to believe in the economic opportunities we all desire," Black told The Dallas Morning News. "There's a real opportunity to bring about inclusion."
Black was the longtime president and CEO of On Target Supplies & Logistics, a company he founded in 1982 with his wife, Gwyneith. He was the first African-American Chairman of the Dallas Regional Chamber, where his bio says he "worked closely with former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk to develop and fulfill international joint trade missions, building productive and sustaining business partnerships for the city of Dallas."
He starts his campaign very early in the process, with most Dallas County politicos captivated by the upcoming midterm elections in November.
Generally candidates begin officially lining up for the May city elections in late fall or winter, but Black has been laying the foundation for a campaign for nearly 10 months.
Albert Black Jr., Dallas Housing Authority Board Chairman, deliverers remarks during a ceremonial ground breaking for the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. (Special Contributor/Brandon Wade)
He'll have to develop a coalition that includes strong support in northern and southern Dallas, a difficult task in a city that often features fractured politics. He lives in Oak Cliff and says "since October I've talked to about 100 people. I'm learning something new every day."
"I am running for mayor because I believe in Dallas," Black said. "I believe Dallas can and should be a place where everyone who wants to find a good paying job can get one, and where they can afford to stay, live and raise their families, just as I was able to do."
Rawlings, the former Pizza Hut CEO, was first elected mayor in 2011 and is finishing his second term.
The field to replace him is expected to be crowded, with an array of council members, neighborhood leaders and business executives contemplating mayoral campaigns.
In 2011 there were four candidates for mayor. Eleven contenders were on the ballot in 2007, when Dallas businessman Tom Leppert was elected to the post. The May election for the open seat could attract numerous candidates.
Black, with strong ties to the city's business elite, has been mentioned as a mayoral contender for previous contests. He says the timing for his bid is ideal, though some analysts say his window may have closed.
"My father knew the leaders of Dallas and he thought one day his boy would be one of them," Black said. "I want to develop leaders in communities that need it the most ... I'm excited about what we're doing."
Campaign Treasurer Nicole Knox, Albert Black & Campaign Chairwoman Lauren McKinnon