Familiar faces join Arlington City Council with these issues as top priority

Voters added two familiar faces in city and community leadership to Arlington City Council in May and June.

Nikkie Hunter, a health care administrator and community advocate, will succeed council member Marvin Sutton as District 3 council member. The district covers southeast Arlington east of Matlock Road and south of Pioneer Parkway.

Hunter has spent the days after her Saturday runoff win in the District 3 council race scheduling meetings with neighborhood groups, Arlington police and city leaders. She said she is making good on her campaign promise to hit the ground running.

A first-time candidate, Hunter centered her campaign on neighborhood safety and advocating for southeast Arlington. She previously told the Star-Telegram she decided to run after noticing her four competitors did not initially mention addressing rising crime rates and neighborhood safety in their priorities.

“I want to use this spot as a way to advocate more for our community and District 3,” she said in a phone interview.

Hunter won 55.65% of the 3,303 votes cast in the runoff, defeating Diana Saleh.

Before seeking a council seat, Hunter was a member of the city’s Unity Council, which finalized a 132-page equity study in February. She was also a member of the Community Relations Commission and the Term Limits Advisory Committee.

Outside of city groups, Hunter is a district governor overseeing Rotary clubs in the city, and serving on the Friends and Foundation of the Arlington Public Library. She has also served on the YMCA board of directors.

Hunter said she plans to hold a district town hall in July, but residents in District 3 can call or text her at 682-386-1114. She and Mayor-Elect Jim Ross will be sworn into office June 29.

May election

New District 5 council member Rebecca Boxall has been similarly busy meeting with neighborhood groups, acquainting herself with the job and responding to citizen concerns since her May 18 swearing-in.

Boxall, an architect, has previously served on Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Downtown Master Plan Advisory Committee and Downtown Arlington Management Corporation board. She is also a member and former president of Heart of Arlington Neighborhood Association.

Council work thus far, Boxall said in a phone interview, has been an extension of her neighborhood and city involvement.

“I’m going to be doing pretty much a lot of the same sort of things that i was already doing when I was on the HANA neighborhood group as far as meeting with citizens and talking about issues,” she said.

The first-term District 5 council member can be reached at [email protected]. District 5 generally covers downtown and east Arlington between Bowen Road and city limits, south of Division Street and north of Pioneer Parkway.

Boxall won her race against Kennedy Jones, a pastor and engineer, in May. She campaigned on improving neighborhoods, meeting housing demand, growing businesses and strategic use of city resources.

Council members Andrew Piel in District 4 and Dr. Barbara Odom-Wesley, an at-large councilmember in District 8, won their re-election campaigns, each for second terms.

Boxall replaced Dr. Ignacio Nunez, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist who did not seek a second term representing east Arlington in District 5. He cited work-life balance in his farewell address May 18 as the main reason for stepping down. He said at the council meeting he approached the seat with the work ethic he applied as a physician.

“I can’t keep this pace up, and that’s mainly the reason I’m stepping down,” Nunez said.

Odom-Wesley said during her swearing-in ceremony May 18 she was especially proud of the city’s formation of the Unity Council, which she initially suggested to leaders. Implementing the task force’s recommendations, as well as improving regional mobility and protecting livable neighborhoods were among her top priorities in her re-election campaign.

“I’ve found it more rewarding than I even thought,” Odom-Wesley said after taking her oath at the meeting.

Piel, a construction law attorney, ran on public safety, neighborhood quality, lowering taxes and supporting Arlington’s business community.

“We have a lot of work to do, so let’s get to work,” he said at the meeting.