Mayoral candidates visit campus

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    The five Fort Worth mayoral candidates stopped by TCU on Thursday morning to interview one-on-one with Bill Zeeble, a radio personality of KERA, the local PBS affiliate, for an upcoming television special.

    Each candidate was asked a series of questions to give the citizens of Fort Worth an opportunity to hear their opinions and platforms on various local issues. The election will take place May 14.

    Candidates include former state Rep. Dan Barrett, former Fort Worth City Council members Cathy Hirt and Jim Lane, Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Betsy Price and filmmaker Nicholas Zebrun.

    Zeeble said KERA came to the university to conduct the interviews because the location is important to Fort Worth and for the opportunity to interact with students in the Schieffer School of Journalism.

    Another reason Zeeble said the network decided to record the program at the university was because of the recent renovations to the news studio, where TCU News Now records its broadcasts.

    “We not only needed audio, but we needed video as well,” Zeeble said. “And TCU is a pretty state-of-the-art broadcast facility. We like having a relationship with journalism schools. We like the relationship with TCU.”

    Zeeble said he believed the time the journalism students had to interact with the candidates would help them out in the real world.

    “I don’t know that a student could be any better at it than I am or any other experienced reporter,” he said. “But experience makes it look like I know more.”

    During one interview, Zeeble asked questions regarding issues such as the city public education system, how to balance the budget, the future of public transportation and how to deal with the population growth that occurred over the past decade.

    The next mayor will take over for Mike Moncrief, who in February announced that he would not seek another term as mayor. Moncrief had an active involvement with the university and the TCU football team.

    After TCU’s defeat of Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl in January, Moncrief was one of the people who spoke at the victory celebration. In addition, Moncrief made several Fridays “Go Purple” days, for which he encouraged citizens to wear purple to show their support for the university.

    Zeeble said the students should have a vested interest in the election because they interact with the city of Fort Worth on a daily basis.

    “Well, they live here,” he said. “If there’s a problem with the Barnett Shale, that may affect them. In addition, if there’s a budget shortfall, that may affect them as people who live in the community or go shopping every week.”

    Barrett said the university was an important and vital part of the city of Fort Worth despite the school’s small size.

    “Its importance of the university is certainly felt beyond its student size,” Barrett said. “TCU has a huge part of the cultural picture of Fort Worth. It brings diverse talent, and I’m very impressed with the quality of TCU’s faculty.”

    Check the Daily Skiff next week for individual profiles of each candidate.