The Austin Chronicle

Eastside Kickoff for Candidate Pierce

By Michael King, February 24, 2006, News

Place 6 City Council candidate Darrell Pierce formally kicked off his campaign Monday night at Nuevo Leon, the popular East Sixth Street Tex-Mex venue that has become an obligatory stop on the local political trail (making more than a little curious a couple offhand jokes by the evening's speakers about "Mexican restaurants"). A couple hundred supporters crowded the interior dining room for quesadillas, stuffed jalapeños, and light jazz, until the speeches were kicked off by a large group of "the coach's kids" – a couple dozen youngsters chanting, "We will, we will … help the town … Darrell Pierce is Number One!" Pierce, who runs his own management consulting business, has volunteered as a girl's soccer and basketball coach for several years.

The evening's emcee was Aaron Demerson of Gov. Perry's development office, and among the speakers lauding Pierce were Greg Reeves of the national organization of Blacks in Government, former Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Goodman (co-chairing the campaign with Ada Anderson, who was ill), and Pierce's wife Denise, a local attorney. Reeves spoke of Pierce's "demonstrated leadership over many years," and Chris Harrison of the southwest-side Western Oaks Property Owners Association (where Pierce lives and has been a board member) enthusiastically praised his "statesmanship" and "caring, good ideas." Goodman said that Pierce's previous service on the Planning Commission had been both a hands-on education in city government and demonstrated his "ethics of fairness, caring, and his work ethic. … He knows what the city is all about." Goodman also called attention to Pierce's sartorial trademark, declaring him election-worthy "not just because he can pull off the bow-tie." She ended by describing Pierce's campaign slogan, "One city, one dream" as "not hype, that's reality." Pierce is hoping to replace term-limited Mayor Pro Tem Danny Thomas, who is running for mayor; also declared for the seat are attorney Sheryl Cole and risk manager DeWayne Lofton.

When Pierce took the floor, he said he wants to act as a "servant-leader" for a "good city that can become a great city." He's emphasizing four issues: government efficiency, affordability, public safety, and building a diverse regional economy. He said he is troubled that too many local issues seem to be argued on "divisive" grounds, and throughout emphasized a need for city leaders to "collaborate and build relationships."

In addition to Goodman and political consultant partner and husband Jack, Monday's crowd included Eastside political matriarch Willie Kirk, consultant Peck Young, former City Council member Ronnie Reynolds, and former mayor Lee Cooke (campaign co-treasurer with Charles Urdy, another former council member), nonprofit consultant and local pol Celia Israel, and former Travis Co. Judge Bill Aleshire. Also prominently listed among Pierce's supporters are former Texas Sec. of State Myra McDaniel, Capitol lobbyist Cal Varner, and public-relations maven Kerry Tate.

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