PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

February 22, 2013

PA native aims to lower unemployment as mayor

Brooke Crum
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Lowra Reado-Harrison wants to run for mayor of Port Arthur because she wants to serve the people of Port Arthur. And as a native of this city, she believes she is perfectly equipped to do just that.

“I just know the issues,” the 52-year-old environmental specialist said in a telephone interview Wednesday morning. “I think that I can make a big difference here.”

Small differences would do little to deter the high poverty and crime levels that plague the city of Port Arthur — two issues Reado-Harrison identified as in need of mending. No, it would take a big difference — like a significant drop in the unemployment rate — to remedy those problems, she said.

“It would have a domino effect on everything else,” Reado-Harrison said.

Growing up in Port Arthur, Reado-Harrison did not experience the blight that seems to have overrun the city, she said. She did not recall that image from her childhood.

“It looks poverty-stricken,” she said.

Lowering the unemployment rate would reduce both poverty and crime, which would in turn drive more business and people into Port Arthur, Reado-Harrison said. And the city would benefit from that.

But with infrastructure problems — like poorly maintained roads — and drainage problems — like poorly maintained pipes, the city looks starved, she said.

“Many left the area because it’s not going anywhere,” Reado-Harrison said. “Somebody has to step up to the plate and try to fix it.”

Some of those who currently hold office have made little progress in their time of service, she said.

Reado-Harrison left Port Arthur for many years while she served in the military and worked as an environmental specialist. For five years, she held the position of heavy artillery specialist in the U.S. Army, serving during the Persian Gulf War. While she was not allowed in combat due to her gender, she served in the rear, maintaining supply stocks.

For the past sixteen years, Reado-Harrison has worked as an environmental specialist. She was the plant environmental manager at Louisiana-Pacific Corp. and an environmental specialist at Ashland Inc. She also ran for mayor in 2010.

Ever since she returned to Port Arthur in 1992, Reado-Harrison has observed a series of “down periods” in the city, she said. But she is done observing. Now she is mature enough, old enough and has been through enough to do something about it.

“My biggest concern is how people feel,” she said. “You can’t run a city without the people.”

email: bcrum@panews.com

twitter: @broocrum