Dec 10, 2022 - News

5 power players in North Texas

Illustration of two rows of dominos falling with text overlaid that reads Power Players Dallas.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

We're rounding out the year with a "power players" list of a few individuals who made headlines, advanced major projects or worked behind the scenes to shape our region.

Why it matters: Whether you like them not, there's no doubt these individuals are influential.

Methodology: We selected these power players using our own expertise, polling readers and through interviews with influential people.

  • This unscientific list is produced entirely by the Axios Local editorial team and is not influenced by advertising in any way.
  • People who made this list weren't told of their selection prior to publication.

Mattie Parker: Fort Worth Mayor

Photo: Taylor Hill/WireImage

Mattie Parker succeeded Betsy Price, her former boss, to become the only Republican mayor of the five biggest cities in Texas.

  • She was part of a bipartisan group of 13 mayors who wrote a letter asking Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special legislative session to pass stricter gun laws in the wake of the Uvalde massacre.
  • The 39-year-old mayor was added to Time's 100 Next list of emerging leader.

Biggest move of 2022: Parker called out state GOP leaders this year for becoming "so partisan."

  • She pushed for Medicaid expansion and defended transgender children and their families after the governor directed the state's child welfare agency to investigate parents who allow their children to access gender-affirming care.

What we're watching: Fort Worth is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country and Parker's leadership could help it outshine Dallas, which has been losing residents.

Mark Cuban: Entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner

Photo: Robin L. Marshall/Getty Images for AFROTECH

Mark Cuban has become a household name through the reality TV show "Shark Tank," owning a competitive basketball team and launching a low-cost online pharmacy.

  • Under his ownership, the Mavericks won the National Championship in 2011 and had an exciting playoff attempt last season.
  • The self-made billionaire is one of the richest men in America.

Biggest move of 2022: Cuban launched his Cost Plus Drug Company in January, a direct-to-consumer model to offer generic prescriptions at a flat 15% fee and a $3 pharmacist fee.

  • The company's manufacturing facility is being built in Deep Ellum.

What we're watching: Cuban could soon begin lobbying for a new arena for the Mavericks, whose lease at the American Airlines Center is up in 2031. This may be an opportunity for the Dallas mayor's sports committee to earn its keep.

Anurag Jain: Businessman and cricket investor

Photo: Courtesy of Major League Cricket

Anurag Jain is often associated with his business partner, Ross Perot Jr., but he has earned a lot of goodwill of his own through business and philanthropic ventures that include the North Texas Food Bank and the U.S.-India Chamber of Commerce's North Texas chapter.

  • During the 2020 COVID shutdown, Jain co-founded a North Texas initiative that hired laid-off restaurant and hospitality workers to take shifts at nonprofits.

Biggest move of 2022: Jain and Perot invested millions to establish a local franchise for Major League Cricket, which launches next summer.

  • Local cricket leaders have been so happy with Jain's support, some of them call him "bhai," the Hindi word for "brother."

What we're watching: Cricket is taking inspiration from Major League Soccer to expand a globally popular sport within the U.S. — but it's too soon to tell if it can compete with more established American sports.

TC Broadnax: Dallas city manager

Screenshot: YouTube

Most Dallas residents are likely more familiar with the mayor than the city manager, but it's TC Broadnax who's responsible for the daily operations at City Hall, much like a chief executive of a company.

  • Broadnax joined the city in February 2017 and has weathered several controversies, including complaints about former police chief Reneé Hall's performance in 2019 and the city's massive loss of police data in 2020.
  • The city manager has been praised for his hiring of Chief Eddie Garcia, who has overseen a seemingly successful campaign to reduce crime.

Biggest move of 2022: Broadnax successfully skirted being fired after several council members privately — and then publicly — called for a review of his job.

  • And then he was given a 3% raise, though five council members, including the mayor, voted against the measure.

What we're watching: Broadnax has the biggest job in the city and has managed to stay in power, but if he doesn't follow through on his improvement plan, that may change.

Leigh Wambsganss: Executive director of Patriot Mobile Action

Screenshot: YouTube

Leigh Wambsganss runs the political arm of a Christian conservative wireless provider that has funded the campaigns of school board members across North Texas.

  • Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon has told conservatives that to "save the nation," they need to target school boards, repeatedly spotlighting Patriot Mobile.
  • "The school boards are the key that picks the lock," Bannon said during an interview with Patriot Mobile's president Glenn Story at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas in August.

Biggest move of 2022: Patriot Mobile helped elect 11 new school board members in four suburban North Texas districts, including Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, which adopted strict policies on books and pronouns this year.

What we're watching: Wambsganss told conservative talk show host Mark Davis this summer that her group hopes to "expand to other counties, other states and be in every state across the nation."

Did we miss any local power players who should be on this list?

Go deeper: See all 200 of Axios Local's Power Players in 2022

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Dallas.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Dallas stories

Dallaspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Dallas.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more