From May 7 elections to Run-Off

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Only one out of every ten registered voters across the city of Port Arthur decided the direction and/or fate of the six items on the May 7th election ballot. Although better than recent elections, we still need more emphasis on driving registered voters to the polls to make important decisions that will impact the entire community.

Congratulations to The Port Arthur Navigation District for their successful push that saw voters pass their $89.95 million dollar bond proposal to grow and increase infrastructure of the port in a landslide approval. Leadership of the Navigation District should be commended for their continued focus on the future, and positioning itself for continued success over the coming years. Leadership decision making like this is a win win for the entire community and one many other local entities should take heed from.

Voters also passed with overwhelming majority the two bond items placed by The Port Arthur EDC. One bond approves EDC money to improve Port Arthur streets and the other for an affordable housing project. Both have been highly controversial, being discussed across social media this past week, but should not have been a surprise. Personally I don’t feel that EDC money should be used for either of these, as its focus and funds should always be on business growth. However, the majority of voters don’t look at it like this, and when they see an entity placing focus on areas in the community that they have had major concerns about over the years, they will pass it without question.

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The Port Arthur Independent School District saw two out of the six candidates win their seats on the board of trustees. It was expected that current board member Robert Reid would be re-elected with the positive direction the board has been going in over the past few years. Reid was the top vote getter being the only candidate to top 1,000 votes. To me, the surprise was Donald Frank as he never returned calls from The News to set up to his political interview prior to the election. So I really don’t have much knowledge about him at all. But we congratulate both for their win in this election.

The sole item on the ballot that was not finalized on May 7th was the highly popular Mayor of Port Arthur race. Ending in a run-off that will be held in late June, it was clear that voters were equally divided on deciding the future direction of Port Arthur. 37% of voters sided with former city councilman Harold Doucet, 34% with former city councilman Derrick Freeman and 29% with Janice Milo. You just can’t get any closer than that. With none of the three garnering more than 50% of the votes, the top two move on to the run-off. How this will ultimately play out will be quite interesting. Will we see 10% of voters turn out again to make this final decision? Recent history says no, but we shall see. How will voters who supported Janice Milo vote? With Janice Milo’s recent endorsement of Derrick Freeman this past Friday, will this change the mindset of some voters? With 73% of voters voicing their opinion during early voting period, prior to The News report in the May 3rd edition about false allegations from the Doucet camp against Freeman, will some Doucet supporters have a change of heart on who their candidate really is? Conversations across social media sites say this is highly possible.

In the coming weeks we will dive deeper into the mayoral race, try to clarify some candidate confusion and hopefully give readers the information needed to feel confident in their coming decision.

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