Who best to be new PA mayor?

Published 3:40 pm Monday, April 25, 2016

First off, we must give a HUGE congratulation to the residents of Port Acres. Although tensions were high throughout the week and opinions differed by many across our community, residents of Port Acres banded together in unity and stood strong for what they believe in. More than 1,100 individuals signed a petition against having a meat processing plant built in their neighborhoods. Pretty impressive if you compare with the average 4 percent voter turnout Port Arthur usually sees during local elections. If residents across Port Arthur felt as strongly about moving our entire community forward as the residents of Port Acres do about recent topics, we could see a lot of positive change for Port Arthur in our future.

Tomorrow starts early voting for the May 7 election, in which the city of Port Arthur will elect a new mayor. Admittedly for me, this has not been an easy decision as I have a large amount of respect for each candidate. Each has positives that they can bring to the position as each also has negatives we have to weigh. Normally, well before the week prior to early voting, I have a pretty clear picture of who can help move Port Arthur forward and how they can do that. That is how I ultimately endorse and vote. I had not been able to make up my mind until the recent events from this past week. Yes, cutting it a little close, but that was how conflicted I was. Not the case anymore. My decision is clear as day!

If Janice Milo had experience on some form of governing board, be it on Port Arthur EDC or Port Arthur ISD, she would have been a front-runner in this race. I like her a lot. Her views are a welcome breath of fresh air and are much needed. Unfortunately, without the hands-on understanding of how the process works, if elected Mayor, her entire first year of a three-year term would be “on the job training.” That’s not an issue in itself, but Port Arthur City Council has some pretty strong personalities that I fear would take advantage of that and cause a detriment to our city. It is my hope that, if she does not win the mayoral race, Ms. Milo continues to stay involved in city politics, running for future city council seats, or replace current individuals on the Port Arthur EDC board.

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Former city councilman Harold Doucet brings a history of leadership to his campaign, this is true. He believes strongly in the future of Port Arthur and is firm in his beliefs on how to get there. However, Mr. Doucet’s relationship with Port Arthur hate monger David Jones gives me pause. Mr. Jones spews slander and hate across social media against any person or entity that he has a difference of opinion with. This form of protest absolutely cannot be aligned with a mayor’s position. Any individual who tries to voice their concerns or have their own opinions about the Mayor’s actions or views known will suffer the same treatment. And this just can’t happen if we want our citizens to be involved with the city they live in. And for this reason, I will not put my name behind that.

Port Arthur needs a mayor who will be able to work with our city manager, Brian McDougal, not against him. Someone who will allow him to continue doing the great job he has already started over his first year and half, which has been remarkable to say the least. The candidate who is open minded enough to do so, while still understanding the structure of our system and can be the future face of Port Arthur is former City Councilman Derrick Freeman. It is clear that the decision we make in this election must not derail the progress already made nor impede the progress to come. That is why I am endorsing Derrick Freeman for mayor of Port Arthur.

With that said, whoever the newly elected mayor will be after the May 7 election, we wish them success and offer our support, as that is the only way Port Arthur will succeed.

Whomever you support and want to see become the next Mayor of Port Arthur, you need to get out and vote and make your voice heard. As a community, we can and should follow the lead of the residents of Port Acres, take our vote to the polls and voice our opinion. Early voting begins tomorrow, April 25, and ends Tuesday, May 2. Election Day is Saturday, May 7.

Follow me on Twitter @rich_macke