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Mayor of Dallas facts for kids

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Mayor of Dallas
Seal of Dallas.svg
Seal of the City of Dallas
Mike Rawlings 2012.jpg
Mike Rawlings

since 2011
Style The Honorable
Term length None
Inaugural holder Dr. Samuel B. Pryor
Formation Dallas City Charter
Website City of Dallas - Mayor Mike Rawlings

The Mayor of the City of Dallas is the head of government for the city. The current mayor is The Honorable Mike Rawlings, who has served as mayor for two consecutive terms since 2011 and is the 59th elected mayor to serve the position.

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-largeserves a largely ceremonious 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.

Earle Cabell served as 48th mayor from 1961 to 1964 and was mayor during the Assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The image of the city of Dallas was immensely tarnished by the assassination of the asdf 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 after her election in 1977, 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 first term on December 4, 1978. Adlene would go on to serve as a member of several environmental committees and organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency. The city's second female mayor, Annette Strauss, coincidentally was also the city's second female Jewish mayor.

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 the 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.


Samuel B. Pryor, the first mayor of Dallas.
S J Hay 001
Stephen J. Hay, the first mayor elected under commission government and advocate for the White Rock Lake project.
Earle Cabell
Earle Cabell, the mayor of Dallas at the time of President Kennedy's assassination.
Ron Kirk official portrait
Ron Kirk, the first African-American mayor of Dallas and the former US Trade Representative.
Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas (26279225405)
The incumbent Mike Rawlings speaking at the WTTC Global Summit 2016 hosted in Dallas.

This is the list of people who have held the office of Mayor.

# Mayor Term start Term end Terms   Party
1 Dr. Samuel B. Pryor 1856 1857 1 None
2 John McClannahan Crockett 1857 1858 1 Democratic
3 Isaac Naylor 1858 1858 1 None
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
- No Mayor due to American Civil War and the military governor. 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
11 Benjamin Long 1868 1870 1 None
12 Henry Ervay 1870 1872 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
36 Louis Blaylock 1923 1927 2 None
37 R. E. Burt 1927 1929 1 None
38 J. Waddy Tate 1929 1931 1 None
39 Tom Bradford 1931 1932 ½ None
40 Charles E. Turner 1932 1935 Democratic
41 George Sergeant 1935 1937 1 Democratic
42 George Sprague 1937 1939 1 Democratic
43 Woodall Rodgers 1939 1947 4 None
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 None
48 Earle Cabell 1961 1964 Democratic
49 J. Erik Jonsson 1964 1971 None
50 Wes Wise 1971 1976 None
Acting (51) Adlene Harrison 1976 1976 less than 1 Democratic
51 (52) Robert Folsom 1976 1981 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 Democratic
57 (58) Laura Miller 2002 2007 Democratic
58 (59) Tom Leppert 2007 2011 2 Republican
Acting (60) Dwaine Caraway 2011 2011 less than 1 Democratic
59 (61) Mike Rawlings 2011 incumbent 3+ Democratic
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