DALLAS- As the race for the next Dallas Mayor begins to heat up, about a dozen pastors and civil rights activists in the Southern sector of Dallas gathered Thursday afternoon to endorse former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle.
At the South Dallas Cafe, civil rights activist Reverend Ronald Wright among who said Kunkle is the best candidate. He said as chief of police Kunkle changed the culture of the Dallas Police Department. Wright believed the former chief had shown he is "of and for the people."
Kunkle thanked the crowd of about thirty people for their support. He said as Mayor he would be committed to creating more jobs in the southern sector, which he believed is the key to its economic success.
He also said he would invest in the area in the same way already seen in north Dallas.
"I am not anti business at all, but my campaign will be around neighborhoods and small businesses and directed at the people," said Kunkle.
Reverend Wright says his relationship with Kunkle dates back to when he became Dallas Police Chief.
Wright said he petitioned against the police department's controversial use of the choke hold, which led to the death of a Pleasant Grove man at the time.
Wright said Kunkle did the right thing in doing away with the practice when he became chief.
"I’ve kinda given him more trouble than anybody, but he has been an admirable guy, an upfront guy and he has done the right thing," Wright said.
Wright said he has been pleased with Kunkle’s leadership and believed he is the person who should be named the next mayor of Dallas.
News 8 contacted mayoral candidate Mike Rawlings for his reaction to Thursday's news conference.
Rawlings said he, too, has support in the southern sector, namely through the support of city council member Tennell Atkins and council member Vonciel Hill.
Rawlings said his business experience as a CEO gave him the skills and relationships to make economic development happen here.
News 8 also contacted Mayoral candidate Ron Natinsky for his response.
Natinsky said he is very excited about the support he has received in the Southern sector.
He said one reason for that support is the number of jobs that have been created through his work as chairman of the Dallas City Council Economic Development Committee.