First Hispanic Council Member In Farmers Branch Elected | KERA News

First Hispanic Council Member In Farmers Branch Elected

May 12, 2013

Ana Reyes will make history in the city of Farmers Branch when she is sworn in as the first Hispanic member on an all-white city council. Reyes defeated William Capener 63 to 37 to win the district one seat.

When Ana Reyes walked into Coquitas restaurant on election night, dozens of people put down their sangria to greet her.

Reyes, whose parents are Mexican immigrants, got involved in politics after the city passed an ordinance in 2006 making it a violation for landlords to rent to undocumented immigrants.

Kay Lynn Lyon has lived in Farmers Branch for over fifty years. She believes Reyes will improve the public’s image of Farmers Branch.

“A lot of damage has been done, and we were put on the map for all the wrong reasons (…) I don’t mind us being on the map but I want to now be on the map as a friendly community that listens to their citizens where everyone has a voice.”

Last year, a voting rights suit on behalf of ten Latino plaintiffs brought Farmers Branch its first single-member district elections – and this district, which has a majority of Hispanic citizens. Reyes worked hard to increase historically low voter turnout, going door-to-door dozens of times. And it paid off.  

“I’m honestly in disbelief,” Reyes says, “It may be the highest participation we’ve had in years.”

Reyes says she’s ready to get to work. Top of the list: repairing sidewalks and streets and creating curbside recycling, and increasing government transparency.

“I have committed to holding bilingual town hall meetings so that everyone is able to participate in key discussions on budget and items that affect their welfare.”

Reyes learned the ropes from Texas State Representative Rafael Anchia, who she’s worked for since 2006.

“This is Ana’s time, and I would immediately put her in the upper echelon of not only Latino leaders in the metroplex but just in leaders in general because she has a heart for public service, she’s genuinely selfless, and she’s smart. She’s going to be great for Farmers Branch.”

That’s not to say it’s going to be easy. When Reyes takes the city council seat, she’ll be at a table with five white men, some who voted against the very district she’s representing.