Race for D1: George Ferrie
George Ferrie, owner of Wine Squared, has just announced his candidacy for City Council District 1, currently held by Gerard Hudspeth. A statement on his official Facebook page went up Thursday afternoon.
As a business owner, Ferrie said he strives to make each event and experience the community has a successful and enjoyable one, which comes with a specific skill set.
“Being passionate, a good listener, being able to delegate and multitask and problem solving are key,” Ferrie said. “Our city council should be a group of individuals that can come to the table and decide together what changes the citizens of Denton need and want.”
Ferrie was most recently nominated to Denton’s Friends with Benefits non-profit Board as a Co-Director of Awesomeness. Ferrie is also on the Parks and Recreation and Beautification Board, the OUTReach Denton Steering Committee and the Denton Main Street Association Board. In addition to working with several different non-profit boards, Ferrie also helped start Sundown Collaborative Theatre in Denton. With the many hats Ferrie currently wears, he said he is looking to bring something different to city council.
“I'm a collaborator at heart,” Ferrie said.
Ferrie said one of the biggest needs for the city is to have more comprehensive and thorough policy on inclusive protections for the LGBTQIA+ community. He said obtaining a non-discrimination policy that extends to these individuals across the board is important. “By pushing the envelope, we open our city up to the possibility of more businesses wanting to come here, and invest in our loving town,” Ferrie said.
His specific goals for District 1 are also focused on the infrastructure problems, an affordable housing project and stronger resources for renters.
With 53 percent of Denton residents being renters, there is a large part of that renter population that is not informed on their rights as tenants.
“We have all of these renters who should know where their resources are and what their resources are but we should expand upon that also by requiring landlord to give out packets so tenants know what the laws are and understanding their rights as a renter,” Ferrie said.
Deep dig into Ferrie’s community involvement
Wine Squared has been open since 2005 but Ferrie, who was a longtime employee, became an owner in 2017. Although he holds a lot of positions in town, Ferrie said this title has taught him a lot.
“I would say owning a small business put a lot of things into perspective for me,” Ferrie said. “I've lived and worked in this town for over a decade, and I've managed places as well, but having to deal with everything as an owner makes you think about the bigger picture.”
Ferrie also said his position at Friends with Benefits shares a resemblance to city council that will benefit him if he wins the seat.
“The entire organization’s sole purpose is to highlight underserved organizations in the community that need need money, need the help, and the marketing and volunteering aspect we do so well,” Ferrie said. ”Kind of like the purpose of city council, that's why we all get together from different districts and we talk about what's going on in our districts, what they need, where resources can be allotted.”
Ferrie has been on the Parks Recreation and Beautification Board since June and he said it has been a great learning experience for what that board entails. As a citizen appointed by council, he has been able to give feedback about where money should be spent and what services aren’t being met.
Ferrie said his position with OUTreach Denton has allowed him to help the community in a very specific way. OUTreach Denton is an organization which works to advocate and provide resources for LGBTQIA+ youth and adults in Denton.
“It's a privilege to be on that board because you really get to dive in deep with a diverse group of people who come from different factions in our town,” Ferrie said. “We come together for the solitary goal of ensuring that the LGBTQIA+ community, specifically kids 13-18, have outlets, have a space to commune, to be expressive, to explore,” Ferrie said.
The Denton Main Street Association works with the Downtown Development Department and city council, but all funding for the association related to advertising and events is sourced through memberships and sponsorships.
”I would say my favorite part of being on the board is kind of understanding what it takes to put on an event,” Ferrie said. “[Understanding] the size of the events we do, the amount of time, the amount of resources, how we work with city council and ensuring that we are giving other peoples spaces, giving back, raising money for others, and giving people exposure, all within the downtown area.”
“I think as a queer, renter, & small business owner, I bring a specific skill set to the table that is currently lacking on our city council. I think we need more resources for renters and artists in this town. We have two amazing universities that produce incredible local artists who are hungry for more opportunities within our city.”
City Council will see all 4 district seats up for re-election in 2019. Currently, Ferrie is the only candidate who has announced to challenge Hudspeth for District 1. District 3, held by Don Duff has two challenging his incumbency: Matt Farmer and Diana Leggett. This election will take place on May 4, 2019 and early voting will be held April 22-30.
Follow The Dentonite for updates for more profiles and updates on the candidates running this election season.
Header image and design by Tori Falcon.