Axios Dallas Power Players: Mark Cuban, Mattie Parker, Anurag Jain and more

Axios Dallas Power Players: Mark Cuban, Mattie Parker, Anurag Jain and more

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

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

We close out the year with a “power players” list of some individuals who made headlines, advanced major projects or worked behind the scenes to shape our region.

Why it matters: Like them or not, there is no doubt that these individuals are influential.

Methodology: We selected these power players using our own expertise, reader voting and interviews with influential people.

  • This unscientific list is produced entirely by the Axios Local editors and is in no way influenced by advertising.
  • People who made this list were not told of their choice before publication.
Mattie Parker: Mayor of Fort Worth
Photo: Taylor Hill/WireImage

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

  • She was part of a bipartisan group of 13 mayors who wrote a letter Asking Governor 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 leaders.

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 ordered the state’s child welfare agency to investigate parents who give their children access to gender-affirming care.

What we watch: Fort Worth is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and Parker’s leadership could help it surpass Dallas, which has been losing residents.

Mark Cuban: Entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner
Photo: Robin L. Marshall/Getty Images for AFROTECH

Market Cuban became a household name through the reality TV show “Shark Tank,” ownership of a rival basketball team and the launch of a low-cost online pharmacy.

  • Under his ownership, the Mavericks won the National Championship in 2011 and had an exciting playoff effort 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 of offering generic prescriptions for a flat 15% fee and a $3 pharmacist fee.

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

What we watch: Cuban may soon begin lobbying for a new arena for the Mavericks, whose lease at the American Airlines Center expires in 2031. This could be an opportunity for the Dallas Mayor’s Sports Committee to make its money.

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 much goodwill of his own through business and philanthropic ventures that include the North Texas Food Bank and the US Indian 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 have invested millions to establish a local franchise for Major League Cricket, which will launch next summer.

  • Local cricket leaders were so happy with Jain’s support, some of them called him “bhai,” the Hindi word for “brother.”

What we watch: Cricket is taking inspiration from Major League Soccer to expand into a globally popular sport in the US – but it’s too soon to say whether it can compete with more established US sports.

TC Broadnax: Dallas city manager
Screenshot: YouTube

Most residents of Dallas is probably more familiar with the mayor than the city manager, but it is TC Broadnax who is responsible for the day-to-day operations at City Hall, much like a CEO 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 was praised for his hiring of Chief Eddie Garcia, who oversaw a seemingly successful campaign to reduce crime.

Biggest move of 2022: Broadnax successfully fended off being fired after several board members privately — and then publicly — called for his work to be reviewed.

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

What we watch: 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 could 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 told conservatives that to “save the nation” they must target school boards and repeatedly put Patriot Mobile in the spotlight.
  • “The school boards are the key that picks the lock,” Bannon said during an interview with Patriot Mobile 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 watch: 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 country.”

Did we Are you missing any local powerhouses that should be on this list?

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

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