These mayoral candidates are your neighbors in the 109

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Her grandkids call her Tootsie.

His favorite meal is breakfast – any way you can cook it.

She biked with Lance Armstrong.

He wrote science fiction under a pseudonym.

They’re two of your best-known neighbors in the 109 and they have one thing in common: They both want to be mayor.

Betsy Price and Dan Barrett have sides to them most won’t see during the mayoral campaign. When they aren’t at official campaign functions or working in the community, Price as the Tarrant County tax assessor, and Barrett as a litigator, they each return home to their families.

Price, a Fort Worth native, has been married to Tom, a State Farm agent, for 39 years. They have three children, a daughter and two sons and two grandchildren, who call her and her husband Tootsie and Pops.

Barrett’s family consists of his wife Debra, who is a Realtor, two sons and their first grandchild, born Feb. 2. Both Barrett’s parents are alive and live in an assisted living residence.

Both have animals. Price keeps two English Pointers, like her father used to train. She also has a Labrador and a cat who rules the roost. Price said her father used to say he would trade her for a good bird dog if she misbehaved – and she believed him.

Barrett has one dog and his parents keep two. All of the dogs are rescues, something he said he believes in very strongly.

Work

When they aren’t running for mayor, both have other full-time jobs. Price has been tax assessor for the last 10 and one-half years. Each year, she collects $3.3 billion in taxes.

She said people are often curious why they have to write their tax check to her rather than to the city. Price said she is held liable for the $3.3 billion each year – a clause in the Texas Constitution meant to prevent workers from stealing money.

Her kids also tease her about her name being on every liquor license in the city because her office is the one that approves them.

She and her office have received the State of Texas Best Practice Award four times.

Barrett is a litigator for Taylor, Olson, Adkins, Sralla & Elam and represents cities. Prior to that, he did medical negligence work, representing both patients and doctors.

“I’m the only lawyer that I know of…who has served on the statewide board of directors for both the plaintiff’s bar and the defense’s bar,” he said. He also wrote a layman’s guide to medical malpractice cases.

Hobbies

When she’s not working, Price said, she loved to bike. She has ridden in France, Austria and in the Hotter’N Hell race and once rode with both Lance Armstrong and Robin Williams in the Ride for the Roses five years ago.

While most bikers wear black shorts and white tops to keep cool, Price said Williams had on all red.

“He’s just as crazy in person as he is in movies,” she said.

The two even signed each others’ bike numbers.

Price said every year she and her husband bike what they call the “Tour de Tarrant” at the same time as the Tour de France is occurring. They ride at least 22 miles every day and celebrate the end with French food and champagne.

She would still love to bike through Italy, and would stop only to fill up on Italian food.

“I like the stress relief,” she said. “I like getting out and seeing nature.”

Barrett used to sing in the choir at Unity Church of Fort Worth, but he had to resign because of the time it took to run for mayor.

Both share a love of reading and landscaping. Price retains her membership in a book club while Barrett said he reads anything from fiction to non-fiction to journal articles. He even delves into reading quantum physics to relax.

He also writes – one of Barrett’s short stories was published in a sci-fi anthology e-book. He wrote under the pseudonym Knight MacAfee and his story, which was about an alien who becomes addicted to a very common earthly substance, led the anthology.

But he doesn’t use a pseudonym in all his hobbies – he has also been an actor.

“When I moved to Fort Worth, I was one of the founding members of a theater company called “A Little Bit of Broadway,” Barrett said. “And that company is now, eventually it would…move out to Bedford and became “Bedford: Onstage.”

He starred in the company’s first production: Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park.”

109 involvement

Although she was born in 76107, Price moved to the 109 in March of 1978 and has lived in three different residences since then. She has attended the University Christian Church for more than 30 years

Barrett has lived in the 109 off and on for 32 years and in that time, he has moved his residence about 20 times. He and his wife purchase houses and redo them before reselling them.

Barrett grew up all over the world. His father was in the Air Force, so he spent part of his childhood in Europe. But since moving to Fort Worth, Barrett said he’s never felt like leaving.

“I think the people in Fort Worth are really wonderfully friendly and have an appreciation for culture, as well as Western heritage, and it’s just – it’s an easygoing place to live and really, since I’ve moved here, I haven’t considered going anywhere else,” he said.

Retirement and beyond

Price said she isn’t setting much in stone for after retirement. She wants to bike, of course, and play with her grandchildren. She’s also thinking about travel.

“You know, I’d like to go, gosh, there are lots of places, but Africa, to go on a camera safari,” Price said. “It’s so pretty. I love the animals and seeing them outdoors in the wild.”

In 2009, Barrett and his wife won a trip to Hong Kong. He was fascinated by the public transport system and the way different religions would share facilities.

“I think it’s so enlightening to see how other people live and just really enjoy that kind of thing.”

He said he would love to return to visit Thailand.

Barrett said he would love to write full time after he retires. Price also has leisure on the calendar, but said she isn’t setting a particular date for when that leisure will begin.

“You never know how long you’re going to serve,” Price said. “God calls you – it’s a calling.”

 

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