Mayor of Dallas
|Mayor of Dallas|
Seal of the City of Dallas
|Term length||Four years, renewable once|
|Inaugural holder||Dr. Samuel B. Pryor|
|Formation||Dallas City Charter|
|Website||City of Dallas - Mayor Eric Johnson|
|Elections in Texas|
The Mayor of the City of Dallas is the head of the Dallas City Council. The current mayor is Eric Johnson, who has served one term since 2019 and is the 60th mayor to serve the position. Dallas operates under a weak-mayor system, and a board-appointed city manager operates as the chief executive of the city.
Duties and powers
The city of Dallas operates under a council-manager government type, putting the city of Dallas in a unique position as being one of the largest cities in the United States to utilize this municipal government structure. Unlike the more common form of government used by large cities known as the mayor-council government - where the mayor serves the chief-executive position of the city - the council-manager government of the city of Dallas gives the chief-executive position to the appointed City Manager. As a result, the mayor is elected at-large and serves a largely ceremonial position fulfilling a handful of key duties. The mayor serves as a member of the city council, presides over city council meetings and official ceremonies, and serves as a representative to the City of Dallas at a local, state, national, and international level. Likewise, it is not uncommon for mayors of the city of Dallas to simultaneously serve as members or heads of other committees while in office, further representing the interests of the people and city of Dallas in organizations and committees.
The Office of Mayor was created with the formation of the Dallas City Charter in 1856, also providing for the mayor six aldermen, a treasurer, recorder and a constable. In the charter, it was stated that each office would be elected for a term of one year. In the reorganization of 1876, the mayor was elected to the office for a term of two years. The office was first elected in the election of 1856, in which Dr. Samuel B. Pryor defeated A. D. Rice for the position. A. D. Rice would run for office again and go on to serve as the 4th mayor of the city.
For much of the 19th century, mayors of the city of Dallas only served as much as one term, even after the reorganization of 1876. This precedence was broken at the end of Winship C. Connor's term, who – after serving three consecutive terms from 1887 to 1894 – was the longest-serving mayor of the city at the time. His success was accredited to the development of the city's first water, power, and streetcar systems.
The municipal government of Dallas underwent two significant changes in its structure during its history. The first change was made in 1907 where the city voted to change from an alderman structure to a commission form of government. Stephen J. Hay was the first mayor elected in this new form of government, demonstrating the success of the highly debated commission form of government and contributing to the development of White Rock Lake in response to a water shortage in 1910. The second major government change was made in 1930, altering the commission form of government to specifically be a council-manager form. The mayor to serve following that change was Tom Bradford, a successful grocer who was a significant financial contributor to the Bradford Memorial Hospital for Babies, the preliminary institution to the Children's Medical Center Dallas. He died after suffering a major heart attack in 1932 and was the first mayor of Dallas to die in office.
Woodall Rodgers was mayor of Dallas from 1939 to 1947, with his tenure as mayor being one of the longest in the history of the city. He was mayor during World War II and ran during the rampant manufacturing of aircraft and weapon goods in a rapidly industrializing Dallas, along with the neighboring city of Fort Worth. At the time, Dallas Love Field was used as a joint USAAF base and training ground and saw expansion of its hub and runways at the end of the war to soon become the major jet-age airport of the city. He was also mayor when the Mercantile National Bank Building was constructed, which was the only highrise structure built in the United States during World War II and was the tallest building in the city of Dallas until the completion of Republic Center Tower I in 1954. The economic success contributed by his work in office is commemorated today by several namesakes throughout the city, most notably the Woodall Rodgers Freeway that passes underneath Klyde Warren Park and over the Trinity River along the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.
The image of the city of Dallas was immensely tarnished by the assassination of the President. Following Earle Cabell was Mayor J. Erik Jonsson who funded and supported the then proposed Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. As mayor, he went on to support and open public works such as developing the new Dallas City Hall, the Dallas Convention Center, and the Dallas Central Library which is now named in his honor. He was followed by Wes Wise who went on to further improve the city's image during his term from 1971 to 1973. However, he stepped down to pursue a political career in United States Congress before the end of his term. His pro-term mayoral successor, Adlene Harrison, stepped in and became acting mayor for the remainder of his term. She was the city's first female mayor, and the first female Jewish mayor in the United States. Although Dianne Feinstein is officially recognized as the first female Jewish mayor in the United States, Adlene Harrison's position as acting mayor predates Feinstein's start in office by almost two years. Adlene began serving as acting mayor on February 11, 1976, while Feinstein began her mayoralty on December 4, 1978. Adlene would go on to serve as a member of several environmental committees and organizations after her short tenure, including the Environmental Protection Agency. The city's second female mayor, Annette Strauss, coincidentally was also the city's second female Jewish mayor. She was also the first woman to be elected mayor in her own right.
Ron Kirk was the first African-American mayor of the City of Dallas and served two terms from 1995 to 2002. As mayor, he led several efforts advocating for race equality and social welfare, mitigated tension between City Council and the controversial Dallas School Board, advocated for economic development, and oversaw the construction of the American Airlines Center. He would later step down to pursue a seat in the US Senate, where he lost in the 2002 election to John Cornyn. After his defeat, he went on to become a lobbyist before being nominated and appointed by President Barack Obama to served as United States Trade Representative from 2009 to 2013.
This is the list of people who have held the office of Mayor. Note: municipal elections in Texas are non-partisan. The party affiliation of the Mayor is listed here for informational purposes only. [a]
|#||Mayor||Term start||Term end||Terms|
|1||Samuel B. Pryor||1856||1857||1||None|
|2||John McClannahan Crockett||1857||1858||1||Democratic|
|4||A. D. Rice||1858||1859||1||None|
|5||John M. Crockett (Second term)||1859||1861||1||Democratic|
|6||J. L. Smith||1861||1861||1||None|
|7||Thos. E. Sherwood||1861||1862||1||None|
|-||Military governor (American Civil War).||1862||1865||None||None|
|8||John M. Crockett (Third term)||1865||1866||1||Democratic|
|9||John W. Lane||1866||1866||1||Democratic|
|10||George W. Guess||1866||1868||1||None|
|13||Benjamin Long (Second term)||1872||1874||1||None|
|14||William Lewis Cabell||1874||1876||1||None|
|15||John D. Kerfoot||1876||1877||½||None|
|16||William Lewis Cabell (Second term)||1877||1879||1||None|
|17||J. M. Thurmond||1879||1880||1||None|
|18||J. J. Good||1880||1881||½||Democratic|
|19||J. W. Crowdus||1881||1883||1||None|
|20||William Lewis Cabell (Third term)||1883||1885||1||None|
|21||John Henry Brown||1885||1887||1||None|
|22||Winship C. Connor||1887||1894||3||None|
|23||Bryan T. Barry||1894||1895||½||None|
|24||F. P. Holland||1895||1897||1||None|
|25||Bryan T. Barry (Second term)||1897||1898||1||None|
|26||John H. Traylor||1898||1900||2||None|
|27||Ben E. Cabell||1900||1904||4||None|
|28||Bryan T. Barry (Third term)||1904||1906||2||None|
|29||Curtis P. Smith||1906||1907||1||Democratic|
|30||Stephen J. Hay||1907||1911||2||Democratic|
|31||W. M. Holland||1911||1915||2||None|
|32||Henry D. Lindsley||1915||1917||1||Democratic|
|33||Joe E. Lawther||1917||1919||1||Democratic|
|34||Frank W. Wozencraft||1919||1921||1||Democratic|
|35||Sawnie R. Aldredge||1921||1923||1||Democratic|
|37||R. E. Burt||1927||1929||1||None|
|38||J. Waddy Tate||1929||1931||1||None|
|40||Charles E. Turner||1932||1935||1½||Democratic|
|44||J. R. Temple||1947||1949||1||Democratic|
|45||Wallace H. Savage||1949||1951||1||Democratic|
|46||Jean Baptiste Adoue||1951||1953||1||None|
|47||Robert L. Thornton||1953||1961||4||Democratic|
|49||J. Erik Jonsson||1964||1971||3½||None|
|Acting (51)||Adlene Harrison||1976||1976||less than 1||Democratic|
|51 (52)||Robert Folsom||1976||1981||2½||None|
|52 (53)||Jack Wilson Evans||1981||1983||1||Republican|
|53 (54)||Starke Taylor||1983||1987||2||Republican|
|54 (55)||Annette Strauss||1987||1991||2||None|
|55 (56)||Steve Bartlett||1991||1995||2||Republican|
|56 (57)||Ron Kirk||1995||2002||3½||Democratic|
|57 (58)||Laura Miller||2002||2007||2½||Democratic|
|58 (59)||Tom Leppert||2007||2011||2||Republican|
|Acting (60)||Dwaine Caraway||2011||2011||less than 1||Democratic|
|59 (61)||Mike Rawlings||2011||2019||2||Democratic|
|60 (62)||Eric Johnson||2019||incumbent||Democratic|
- Term lengths changed many times during the multiple reorganizations of the Dallas City Charter.