The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Haltom City’s mayor leads double life as part-time history instructor on NE

By Tabitha Redder/managing editor

One faculty member can be found cutting through red ribbons when he isn’t teaching U.S. history on NE Campus.

Adjunct Richard Hutchison has been teaching at TCC for 32 years and has been the mayor of Haltom City for almost four.

Hutchison’s political career began in a unique way.

“I challenged my night class students to register for their voter registration card and told them if I could get 100 percent participation, then I’d do something,” he said. “I just threw it out there that I may run for city council or something like that, so they surprised me and got 100 percent participation, and they made me fulfill that promise.”

Hutchison ran for Haltom City council in 2004 and was elected. He served as a city councilman until 2010 when he had to sit out a year as the city charter only

Mayor Richard Hutchison
Mayor Richard Hutchison

allows three consecutive two-year terms, and then ran for the office of mayor in 2011.

But his political status hasn’t gone to his head.

“I figure I get paid to be an instructor of history, so I teach history, and that’s what I do,” he said. “Now if someone asks me, I’m not going to lie to them. I’m just another teacher as far as I’m concerned.”

Hutchison is a busy guy. He says time management and balancing his responsibilities is key to maintaining his double life.

“We have city council meetings twice a month, and we vote in ordinances or resolutions,” he said. “I go to a lot of meetings in the region and meet with other mayors and with the NE chamber of Tarrant County.”

The mayor is a nonvoting member on the council, but he can break a tie if there is one on a specific vote on a resolution or ordinance that has passed. Then the staff takes the policies that win the council’s vote and manages the city with public services like police and fire, libraries and parks and recreation.

Haltom City business development coordinator Susan White said although council members in larger cities like Dallas and Fort Worth are paid positions, they are volunteer positions in smaller cities like Haltom City.

City manager Tom Muir praised Hutchison’s humble personality.

“He has a regular Meals on Wheels route where he delivers meals,” Muir said. “He does not look for the limelight.”

NE sociology instructor Cheryl North recently asked Hutchison to co-sponsor NE Campus’ SPAC (Student Political Awareness Club) with her.

“He is really knowledgeable about city government, and he could definitely add something interesting to the club,” she said. “He brings a new element.”

Hutchison obliged and added this onto his already large stack of credentials.

“There’s a number of students who want to be involved but don’t know how,” he said. “We need more young people to get involved in government, not just with federal and state representatives but municipal representatives too.”

When Hutchison is grading his student’s finals at the end of this semester, he will also prepare to run for re-election when his office is up in May.

“There’s a lot of criticism that goes with it and a lot of challenges, but there are rewards also,” he said. “By far, the rewards outweigh the criticism and challenges.”

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