PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Nederland

February 5, 2014

Three file in Ned City Council elections

NEDERLAND — Three people have tossed their name into the ring for the Nederland City Council and mayoral races as the filing process enters its second week.

Incumbent Billy Neal filed for candidacy in the at-large Ward 2 seat he has held for 12 years on Wednesday.

Craig Belaire, 48, has also filed for a place on the city ballot.

Belaire, a native of Lake Charles, La., who settled in Nederland in 1991, has been employed as a wealth management advisor with Merrill Lynch in Beaumont for almost 17 years.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from McNeese State University, and his masters degree in business administration from Lamar University in Beaumont. Belaire is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of Texas, although he does not currently practice.

A 12-year stint on the Nederland Independent School District board of trustees sparked Belaire’s interest in city business.

“I just want to continue serving the people in the capacity of a Ward 4 councilman,” he said.

If elected, Belaire said he hopes to continue the strides the city has made recently, such as street repairs, updated sewage plants and improving city facilities.

“Those were all in need of updates for years, so I’m glad to see they’re taking that stance,” Belaire said.

Belaire filed for the Ward 4 seat currently held by Bert Rogers, who said Friday that he will not seek re-election.

“It has been a real learning experience, and I felt that I’ve had some skills that have helped,” Rogers, who has missed one meeting in his 10 years as a councilman, said. “I’ve enjoyed every bit of it, but there’s a lot of things I want to do.”

But if anyone is fit to take his place, Rogers said, it is Belaire.

“You couldn’t find a sharper mind and more dedicated person than Craig Belaire,” Rogers said. “He is the man.”

Rogers, a Beaumont native who moved to Nederland in 1974, said he plans to remain active in the various organizations he is involved with, including the city’s economic development corporation board, the Foundation Board for Mid-County Senior Citizens, and the Nederland Education Foundation board.

Between those commitments and work with the Wesley United Methodist Church, Rogers has plans to travel and give his 4-year-old great-grandson lessons in fishing and golfing.

“We enjoy him so much,” Rogers said. “He’s going to be my little fisherman and golfer.”

Incumbent R.A. “Dick” Nugent is the lone filer in the Nederland mayoral race as of Tuesday.

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA

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