The filing period is officially under way for municipal elections in Dallas, Fort Worth and other cities across North Texas. Those who’ve already filed this morning include openly gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns, who held his campaign kickoff on Friday night and is seeking re-election to his District 9 seat. Burns is running for a second full two-year term on the council, after first being elected in 2007 when Wendy Davis stepped down to run for state Senate. Below is a press release that just came across from Burns’ campaign. We’ll keep you posted on other filings of significant LGBT interest throughout the day.

Councilman Joel Burns Files for Re-election
Renewed Public Process and Strong Economic Development Focus

February 14, 2011 – Fort Worth District 9 City Councilman Joel Burns filed for reelection this morning on the first day applications can be accepted by the City Secretary for the May 2011 election.  Burns kicked his campaign off in conjunction with his 42nd Birthday celebration Friday among a crowd of over 500 family, friends, volunteers and supporters at the Historic Masonic Temple.

“I will work toward preparing for the future so that our economy can grow, we can reduce the burden on our taxpayers and keep our commitments to our citizens and our public servants,” Burns said.

When discussing the city’s toughest challenges ahead, Burns committed to work toward expanded city public process and civic engagement and transparency.

“We have the opportunity to have great public engagement,” Burns said. “Our city is full of smart citizens generous with their time and talents. We must be certain that when citizens show up, they know they are a meaningful part of making the decisions and that their input and opinions matter.”

Burns shared a few proud accomplishments including maximizing public investment in public-private partnerships like development along West 7th Street and Magnolia Ave which help small businesses start, create jobs and thrive.  He also spoke of the creation of small community gardens on abandoned city property, Hemphill Street rezoning and expanded electronic availability of all council agenda information to improve transparency and reduce costs to the city and public.

Burns’ campaign kick-off featured District 9 locally owned and operated businesses including the city’s only winery, Times Ten Cellars, Flowers on the Square, Dutch’s Burgers, Lambert’s, Lisa’s Fried Chicken, Red Cactus, Reata, Sweet Sammie’s and Teresa’s Catering Service.

Burns was first elected in December of 2007.   He previously served on the Zoning Commission, the Tarrant Housing Partnership and the Historic Fort Worth board as well as chaired the Historical and Cultural Landmarks Commission. Additionally, he has taken a leadership role in neighborhood and professional organizations.

As a council member, Burns serves on the following boards and committees: Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, Economic and Community Development Committee, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee, Downtown Tax Increment Finance District Board, Lancaster Tax Increment Finance District Board, Southside Medical District Tax Increment Finance District Board, Southwest Parkway Tax Increment Finance District.