PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

March 22, 2013

Council candidate: 'We need to be unified'

PORT ARTHUR —  Linden-Queen has gone from cowering in bunkers in a desert on the other side of the earth to a desert of casinos before returning to Port Arthur. She said she knew she would always return.

As a retired, disabled veteran of the Gulf War, Linden-Queen is not afraid of dirt. She hurt her back during the war while transporting injured soldiers from helicopters through a rain of bullets. Was it not terrifying?

“It really wasn’t,” Linden-Queen, 61, said. “The only time it was terrifying was lying in a bunk while bombs were falling, and the bunk was jumping off the floor. That’s when you know you’re really in a war.”

But her war days might not be over just yet. These days, Linden-Queen has been filling her desert-less days campaigning for the District 4 position on the Port Arthur City Council.

Currently, she serves on the Port Arthur Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals and the Beautification Commission on a volunteer basis only.

“Those experiences have taught me to really get along with the city council now because we go to the city council. They give us our budgets,” Linden-Queen said.

Does she have any experience in politics?

“Not unless you want to call being in the military politics,” she said with a chuckle.

Ever since Linden-Queen returned to her hometown from Las Vegas in 2004, she has refused to work for a single penny. Everything she has done has been on a volunteer basis.

“I taught at [Dick Dowling Elementary School] for a year for free, and people looked at me like ‘Have you lost your mind?’” she said, again her face split into a grin.

Linden-Queen taught and tutored at the school for four years, but that was three years ago. Lately, she has been paying attention to City Council meetings and her other volunteer commissions, she said. But it did not feel like enough, and she did not like what she saw.

“I need to get more involved,” she said. “I’m not one of those people who are easily intimidated, and that’s easy for me to say having been in the military. It seems like a lot of intimidation goes on up there on that city council, and I think that needs to stop.

“We’re representing a group of people who sit back and look at us and say ‘What have we done? What is this city doing?’”

And what this city needs to be doing is working together, Linden-Queen said.

“When you become a council member, your district votes you in,” she said. “But you’re working for the whole city, not just your district.”

The problems that plague Port Arthur — unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, a blighted downtown — could be resolved through cooperation.

“We need to be unified. This city cannot grow without some type of unity,” she said. “You can’t bicker and fight constantly and be separated. We should stay unified. We should be friends.”

Like soldiers huddling together in a bunker, sometimes it takes a good fight to create good friends. And Linden-Queen has proved she would sacrifice her skin.

“I’m just doing what I believe I should do,” she said.

Linden-Queen is a Port Arthur native with a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s in business organizational management. She also earned a doctorate in theology through the Lord’s Outreach International School of Theology.

email: bcrum@panews.com

twitter: @broocrum

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