Early voting in PA special election ends Tuesday

Published 4:29 pm Friday, March 25, 2016


Voters wishing to cast their votes early for the Port Arthur Special Election to fill the vacant District 4 City Council seat have two more days to do so.

Early voting by personal appearance ends Tuesday.

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Voters can go to City Hall, 444 Fourth Street, or the Port Arthur Public Library to cast their ballots early. Monday hours are 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday hours are extended from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Two candidates are vying for the position including Keith Richard and Alicia Marshall.

The race’s winner will replace Stephen Mosely, who stepped down from the seat to run for the Precinct 3 Jefferson County Commissioner’s seat against the incumbent Michael “Shane” Sinegal.

Richard, 51, a local homebuilder and pastor of two churches, is not new to the political arena. Last May he was defeated by incumbent Willie “Bae” Lewis for the District 5 seat by a mere five votes.

The campaign is going good, and has afforded him the opportunity to visit with many of the city’s residents, who are vocal about what they see as city issues.

Topping the list is city streets, and flooding issues.

“The city is saying they don’t have the money to do the streets,” Richard said. “The citizens are saying they really want the streets fixed.”

Richard said he knew fixing city streets would come at a high price tag, but planned to leave no stone unturned to find the money whether it be working with refineries to get financial assistance, tightening the city’s budget in other areas, or to call for a bond issue.

“A bond issue would an option, but it would be my final option because I don’t want to put a burden on taxpayers,” he said.

“On the West Side, 18th or 19th Street, they are complaining when we get heavy rains they are getting flooded. We need to find out what we can do to get it resolved, there and other parts of the city that are prone to flooding.”

He’s also been hearing a lot about the proposed meat processing plant that would like to build at the city’s business park.

Richard said he has heard what the people are saying, and, if elected and the issue is not yet resolved, is prepared to do what his constituents want.

“I don’t want it to be my personal opinion,” he said “I want it to be whatever the citizens want, and whatever I am getting from them is that they don’t want it.”

Richard said it was important for citizens to have the correct information before forming opinions on any issue, and would schedule town hall meetings to provide information and listen to resident’s concerns.

“In order to be an effective city councilman my responsibility is to provide the truth and continue to give the right information so people can make the right choices,” he said.

Richard said he is anxious to see what the forensic audit will turn up.

“Now that the city corruption has been discovered, I think we need to go forward with the forensic audit and let the chips fall where they may,” Richard said.

The city council, he said, should support the city manager.

“I think he is doing a good job. He came into this city’s baggage and is having to work through it. We have to give him all the tools necessary to support and do his job effectively,” he said.

Though he is pleased with the way his campaign is going Richard said he voter turnout would be low.

“I am trying to really get out and stress to people that their votes do count, just look at what happened to me the last time. I lost by just five votes, and I had five relatives that did not go vote. If they had, the outcome would have been completely different, so don’t think your vote won’t matter.”


Though this is her first time to run for political office, Marshall, 61, has been active in her community by bringing several issues before City Council and working to circulate the petition calling for a forensic audit.

The Port Acres resident is a near lifetime resident of Port Arthur, having moved here when she was just 2-years-old.

She is disabled, and semi-retired from a long career of office administrative jobs. She currently works part time for the Port Acres Family Dollar store.

Her campaign thus far has been good, she said.

“It has been a great experience. I have met a lot of people and had a lot of positive feedback. It’s a lot of work, but I do not mind doing it, I have met a lot of nice people,” she said.

While campaigning, Marshall said she has heard a lot about the proposed meat processing plant, or slaughterhouse as many call it.

“People are complaining about it, and from what I have experienced so far I am not in favor of the slaughterhouse,” she said. “I just don’t feel like it would be beneficial to Port Arthur. It’s not wanted in other areas, so it’s kind of like Port Arthur is a last resort and there is a reason for that. I think the reason is the odor and it will overload our drainage system. I just don’t want it in Port Arthur.
What she would like to see in the city is better streets.

To pay for them, she suggested the city looking into applying for grants.

“We have taxpayers who are concerned about where their money is going, the feeling is the city is not being good stewards of taxpayer money,” she said. “People are wondering where their tax dollars go.”

Marshall said she would also consider calling for a bond issue.

For the past three years, Marshall has brought her concerns to City Council, or called her council representative.

“Sometimes the issues get resolved, sometimes they do not,” she said. “I don’t think people are aware of the fact they can go before City Council, they can bring issues to their attention and complain.”

One of the latest issues that need the city’s attention is construction on 18th Street, she said.

“It is very disturbing to go over there and see what the people are living in, you cannot tell any progress has been made,” she said.

Jobs for Port Arthur people are another issue that Marshall plans to tackle.

“I think it is very important we have more diversified jobs brought to Port Arthur, but we must do whatever we can to make sure those jobs go to Port Arthur people,” she said.

Marshall would also like to see the city establish a streets schedule so people would know when to expect construction on their street.

She would like the city to go back to the old purchase order system, and address trash and garbage issues, as well as vendors selling food on the road.

Marshall is a member of Faith Harbor Assembly of God Church in Port Acres.

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