During Class Six’s first Corporate Meeting, we listened to a Q&A with Commissioner John Wiley Price conducted by MSC alumnus, Matt Houston. We learned about Price’s history and role on the Commissioners Court, and that he has also served Dallas County for 41 years. 

Included among Price’s responsibilities are overseeing the building of roads and bridges, setting the tax rate, and governing health care initiatives, like Parkland Hospital and the Health Advisory Board, in District 3.

Dallas County spends 65 percent of its time on public justice, said Price, as well as some public health issues. Price mentioned that he has tried to put himself on as many boards and councils as he could so he could ensure the right decision is made. 

I felt like the man that spoke to us that night was very different from the way that he has been depicted on TV or in the newspaper. You could hear the passion and dedication in his voice as he spoke about how little has changed in the City of Dallas over the last 40 years. 

While we learned about Price and what the County does, we also received a history lesson about some of the older neighborhoods in Dallas, like Uptown’s West Village, Deep Ellum, and South Dallas. These neighborhoods originally were inhabited by the Jewish and African-American communities, he said. Price touched on the migration south of the “Divide” (Interstate 30) and said that most African-Americans actually started living in the northern parts of the city. The lack of resources such as water, food, and mobility in the South are what Price counts as motivators to stay involved and work as long as he can. Correspondingly, Price said he advocates for health, education, and policy reform because he views those as the source of enacting long term change. 

Learning about some of Dallas’ issues provided us an honest insight into the challenges and barriers that keep real change from happening in Dallas. I, for one, hope to understand more deeply in the coming months all these issues and ways in which we as a class can enact change together.    

– Jesse Trevino, Mayor’s Star Council Class Six