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District 3 hopefuls turn in candidacy papers

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe and Britney Tabor
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe and Britney Tabor

Two women filed for Denton City Council District 3 on Wednesday morning, the first day candidates could file for a place on the May 9 general election ballot.

Amber Briggle, 36, a business owner and massage therapist, and Kathleen Wazny, 64, who is retired, had announced they intended to run. Incumbent Jim Engelbrecht has served three terms and is no longer eligible to serve under the city charter.

Incumbents in two other districts, John Ryan in District 2 and Joey Hawkins in District 4, also filed for the ballot Wednesday.

All four council districts are up for election. Candidates have until Feb. 27 to file for a place on the ballot.

Briggle recently updated her campaign finance paperwork, appointing Jack Thomson, a former council member from District 3, as her campaign treasurer. She also reported $365 in campaign contributions, which included $100 from Thomson and $100 from Calvin Tillman, the former mayor of Dish.

Briggle has already launched her website,, and has been seeking support through social media.

“It’s been something I’ve worked towards for a long time,” she said.

Wazny appointed former Mayor Elinor Hughes as her campaign treasurer, but she has not filed any additional finance reports. Wazny said she has been meeting with neighborhood and community leaders, beginning a foundation with residents who care.

“Citizens need a seat at the table,” Wazny said. “I never thought I’d be here, but it’s the right thing to do at the right time.”

Her family is helping her build a website, which should be launched soon.

City Secretary Jennifer Walters said that thus far no one else has picked up an application packet. But semiannual campaign finance filings from earlier this month offer hints on whether others may file.

In District 1, Kevin Roden appointed Eric Pulido as his campaign treasurer and confirmed recently that he intends to run for re-election. This would be his third and final term under the charter.

Ryan reported maintaining a little more than $600 in funds leftover from last year’s campaign to finish an unexpired term. Hatice Salih, a local businesswoman who ran unsuccessfully last year for Place 5, also reported maintaining about $900 in campaign funds.

District 1 includes much of central and southeastern Denton. District 2 encompasses a bit of the central city along with northeastern Denton. Much of Denton’s west side, including the Robson Ranch retirement community, sits in District 3. Residents in southern Denton are represented in District 4.

A nonpartisan website,, offers a search tool to help Denton voters check which district they live in.

Denton school district

The three-year terms for the Place 1 and 2 Denton school board seats, currently occupied by Barbara Burns and Jeanetta Smith, are on the ballot this May. Both incumbents were the only candidate filings received by the district Wednesday, according to a Denton ISD official.

All Denton school board seats are at-large elections.

Burns, 60, said the district is doing “exciting things” and she wants to continue being a part of Denton’s growth. In her three years on the board, the retired teacher said the district has opened a middle school and elementary school and broke ground on a new high school.

“When I ran three years ago, a high school on the 380 Corridor was just in the dream stages ... and now the high school is taking shape, and I’m excited to be a part of that,” the Place 1 incumbent said. “This is a legislative year. There are a lot of new faces in Austin, and I want to be able to relay the needs of the district and our students to our legislators.

“Doing what’s best for all of our students is something that I want to continue to do.”

Smith, 74, intends to seek a fourth term in Place 2. The retired teacher said she feels she has “something to bring to the table,” including an understanding of what’s necessary in providing children a good education. She said she also wants to ensure the district has the best teachers for students and that salaries are equitable with others in the state.

“My background is what encouraged me to want to do this and just be a helper in the district,” Smith said.

Area school districts

The Aubrey, Krum and Sanger school districts will each look to fill unexpired terms on their school boards this May. The Krum and Sanger districts each have unexpired one-year terms on this year’s ballot and Aubrey has an unexpired two-year term.

The Argyle, Krum, Lake Dallas, Lewisville, Little Elm, Northwest, Ponder and Sanger school boards each have two full three-year terms on the May ballots. Aubrey and Pilot Point each have three seats with full terms on the ballot in the upcoming board elections.

As of Wednesday, incumbent R. Joey Saxon had filed for the Place 1 seat in Aubrey; Lewisville Place 2 incumbent Trisha Sheffield filed, and Kronda Thimesch filed for the Place 1 seat in Lewisville, currently occupied by Kathy Duke. Officials with all other Denton County school districts said no candidates filed for places on the May ballot Wednesday.

Area towns and cities

Several candidates have already announced mayoral runs in area cities.

Janet Meyers will run for mayor in Aubrey and Bill Heidemann will run in Corinth. Longtime Mayor Paul Ruggiere announced he will not run again in Corinth. Little Elm Mayor David Hillock and Double Oak Mayor Mike Donnelly will run again.

Municipal officials in Argyle, Aubrey, Cross Roads, Justin, Krum, Lake Dallas, Oak Point and Pilot Point have said no one has filed yet for council seats. Jeff Traylor has filed for Place 1 in Bartonville.

Early voting for the May 9 election begins Monday, April 27. Voters who will be out of the area may apply for a ballot by mail between March 10 and April 30. Voters age 65 and older, as well as voters with a disability, may also apply to receive all election ballots by mail.

Voters who received their ballots by mail last year must re-apply this year. Mail-in ballot applications are good for one year only.

For more information on ballots by mail, contact the Denton County Elections Administration at 940-349-3200. The office is at 701 Kimberly Drive, Suite A101, Denton, and online at

Staff writer Christian McPhate contributed to this report.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.