From left, Shirley McKellar, Pamela Phoenix, and Dalila Reynoso, candidates for Tyler City Council District 3. (Sarah Miller and Chelsea Purgahn/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

For the first time in more than a decade, Tylerites who live near Jones Elementary School, John Tyler High School and Texas College have an opportunity to choose in a contested election. 

Three candidates are running for the District 3 seat on Tyler City Council, the government board that decides the future of the city’s roads, parks, buses, drinking water and sewer system.

District 3 includes most areas in Tyler that are north of Texas Highway 31, west of Parkdale Drive and north of Harmony Street. The eastern boundary is East Gentry Parkway.

The last time there was a contested race for this seat was 2007, when Ralph Caraway defeated Rodney Atkins. Caraway served until 2013, and current City Council member Ed Moore ran multiple times uncontested. Moore cannot run for re-election again because of the city’s term-limits law. Council members can serve a total of three two-year terms. 

And in a historic moment, all three candidates to succeed Moore are women. Two are African-American and one is Hispanic. They have varied backgrounds and different visions for how they would represent the district.

The winner will be the second woman to hold the seat since it was created in the 1970s, and the seventh woman to serve on City Council, excluding former Mayor Barbara Bass.

The first woman to sit on City Council was Gladys Square, who represented District 3 from 1989 to 1995. The first and only Hispanic person to sit on City Council was Gus Ramirez, who served from 1987 to 1993.

The candidates are Shirley McKellar, a retired nurse and businesswoman who has run for Congress; Pamela Phoenix, a legal professional and member of the Tyler Planning and Zoning Commission; and Dalila Reynoso, an immigration advocate for Justice for Our Neighbors.

TWITTER and INSTAGRAM: @_erinmansfield

Government Reporter

Erin came to Tyler from Vermont, where she worked for VTDigger.org and previously the Rutland Herald. She received her B.A. in Economics and Spanish from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she also attended journalism school.

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