BEAUMONT — Editor's note: The original article incorrectly reported Howard's marital status. This version has been amended.
After three years as Jefferson County Tax Assessor and Collector, J. Shane Howard is moving on to the next chapter.
Howard will effectively step down on Feb. 3, before moving to West Texas to accept a business opportunity in the private sector.
“This opportunity accomplishes long-term goals and short-term needs, and only so many opportunities like that come along in your lifetime,” Howard said. “It would have been foolish for me to pass it up.”
A Port Arthur native, Howard’s roots are in Jefferson County. After graduating from Stephen F. Austin High School, he served six and a half years in the Air Force, including a stint in Saudi Arabia during Desert Shield/Storm.
Howard moved to Missouri after his service ended, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis before beginning a career in management for a national insurance company.
Howard moved to Beaumont in 2003 to serve as senior vice president of a local bank-owned insurance agency managing commercial insurance and finance, according to his website. Two years later, Howard joined a local engineering firm as director for business and finance, and in 2010, he formed a consulting company for both the private and public sectors.
In November 2010, Howard became the first Republican to hold the Tax Assessor Collector’s office in Jefferson County, when he filled the spot left open by the retirement of Miriam Johnson. He was re-elected in 2012.
“We have accomplished some extraordinary things, and I have a deep appreciation and affection for my staff,” Howard said. “It's been a wonderful three years.”
The Jefferson County Commissioners’ Court will appoint an interim to fill the vacancy left by Howard’s departure. If the situatiuon follows the precedent set by Johnson’s retirement, each political party will then choose a candidate to run on the November ballot, Chief Deputy Theresa Goodness said.
It was a tough decision to make, but Howard said he feels it was the correct one for him.
“I've been thankful to serve this county not only in this office, but in my 10.5 years back,” Howard said. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”