GRAPEVINE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate may be one of the longest serving mayors in the Lone Star State.
He has been in office for 42 years and is featured as CBS11’s The Ones For Texas this week.
“When people are happy, they don’t want change,” Mayor Tate said.
Voters aren’t showing any signs they want a change and at age 76, Tate says he isn’t slowing down.
He was just re-elected for another three-year term. “I was just a kid when I was elected in 1973, with the airport getting ready to open. Now, my hair’s turned gray. I’ve given the city the best years of my life.”
Back then, Richard Nixon was president.
Tate served as city attorney for three years before becoming mayor.
He would have served longer had he not lost re-election by 73 votes in 1985.
After promising he wouldn’t run, Tate changed his mind at the last minute, but voters had already made up their minds.
But residents returned him to office in 1988, when George H.W. Bush became president.
“The greatest thing that motivates me is the encouragement of the people, the people stopping me on the street and thanking me for what we’ve done in our community,” said Tate.
He said he’s proud of what the small farming community has been able to accomplish and cites many of the developments: The Gaylord Texan resort, The Great Wolf Lodge, Grapevine Mills Mall, to preserving historic Main Street.
When asked what his legacy is, Mayor Tate said, “It’s up to the people to say what my legacy is. I hope people say you’ve got a wonderful town and we’ve loved living here.”
While you may have never heard of Mayor Tate, chances are you’ve seen his name if you’ve ever been to Grapevine.
William D. Tate Avenue, a major thoroughfare, is named after him.
The mayor though says people joke with him that he was named after the road.
The truth is the Tate name is synonymous with Grapevine.
His dad, Gordon Tate, led the town from 1948 through 1952. “My father was mayor before me when they built the lake (Grapevine Lake). He was a merchant on Main Street. City Hall was across the street from the store, and I grew up in that store around civic leaders.”
The lake opened in 1952, when Tate was a child.
He shared a photograph of him helping release the first fish into the lake when the state started stocking it.
Tate was also there when they dedicated the dam.
The home he grew up in is the same one he raised his children in and today, one of his five daughters lives there and is raising her family.
Tate says, “Yeah, we’ve been here for a long time. It’s in my blood.”
His daughters all became teachers and he says none has political aspirations. “They have seen the trail I’ve blazed and that satisfied them. It’s been a great ride, a great career, and a great life.”