PA Council Dist. 1 Jack Chatman

Published 2:00 pm Sunday, May 8, 2011

Name: Jack B. Chatman Jr.

Age: 48

Employment: Senior pastor of Sabbath Rest Nondenominational Ministry

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Education: Thomas Jefferson High Port Arthur, 1981; Academy Health Sciences Fort Sam Houston,1988; College of Biblical Studies Houston, 2005; International Institute of Faith Based Counseling Beaumont, 2008.

Political Experience/Public Service: Currently serve on PA City Council 2007 – Present; NAACP Public Relations officer/ Juneteenth Organizer 1997-1999; Founder of Project Life Changers (grassroots youth group.)

Church Affiliation: Senior Pastor Sabbath Rest Nondenominational Ministry

Jack Chatman wants to keep the momentum going.

“During the past four to five years Port Arthur’s City Council has changed the face of the city,” Chatman said. “The leadership that we now have has learned to work together to accomplish things for the citizens of this town.”

The incumbent District 1 City Councilman is seeking re-election to the seat he has had since 2007, and believes he can continue to make a difference.

“I would keep doing what we’re doing, cleaning up,” he said. “We have torn down over 1,100 abandoned and dilapidated structures. We passed the largest street repair budget ever in PA history. And last, but not least, we are building relationships with all other PA entities (PAISD, Port, EDC and others) for collaborative success.

While Chatman says the city is moving forward, there is still much to be accomplished. The people of District 1 because of the lack of neighborhood services often feel disconnected. Some even feel hopeless and abandoned, he said.

Unemployment continues to be a problem in Port Arthur, he said.

“Unemployment, although it’s a national problem, we have billions in our back yard, yet we have an extremely high rate,” Chatman said.

District 1, the oldest part of town, suffers from years of neglect and will require continued clean-up efforts for years to come.

Chatman is senior pastor of Sabbath Rest Nondenominational Ministry.

He is a 1981 graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School and studied at Academy Health Sciences at Fort Sam Houston in 1988. He has also studied at the College of Biblical Studies in Houston and the International Institute of Faith Based Counseling in Beaumont.

In addition to his political experience on City Council, Chatman has served as NAACP Public Relations officer/Juneteenth Organizer from 1997-1999 and is founder of Project Life Changers, a grassroots youth group.)

Chatman is running against challenger Raymond Scott Jr., for the District 1 Council seat in the May 14 election. Early voting is under way.

1. What is your opinion of the tax rate in your entity. Are there any adjustments needed?

This is a two-headed monster, being a citizen I realize that 79.2 is pretty high for this area. On the other hand as a government official I know that it takes money to provide services the citizens need. Therefore, adjustments should be made on an as needed basis or go without some services.

2. How do you propose to foster economic development  in Port Arthur and the creation of new jobs.

I have been working to get a solar panel company (they also make light bulbs) here for the last two years. We cannot continue to depend on petrochemical to hire ALL of our people. We have put ALL of our eggs in that one basket long enough. Time to “DIVERSIFY”

3. How should the city approach re-development of the downtown and West Side area?

I sit on the EJ (Environmental Justice) board and we are aggressively working with EPA, TCEQ, Labor dept. and HUD to take a serious look at what can be done to revitalize those areas. Through that effort we are attempting to secure Millions in grant funds. We will also continue “One Block at a Time”

4. Port Arthur has the highest municipal tax rate by far of any area cities. Do you think that hampers business development in the city?

No, not at all. CEO’s look at three things when locating to an area.

They want to know how good the education system is, they are concerned about safety, and they are interested in local entertainment venues.

Most major companies receive tax abatements to move here.