Hispanics counseled: Run for office, change Port Arthur

Published 6:33 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

Brian McDougal, former Port Arthur city manager, said Hispanics make up nearly 50 percent of Port Arthur’s population and they can change the way Jefferson County and the city operate.

That’s what he told the Hispanic Business Council on Thursday.

“There’s not a lot of Hispanic representation in government,” McDougal said. “I was the Port Arthur city manager and I know how state and local government work.

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“Y’all getting involved wouldn’t be difficult. What you’re doing here at the Chamber (of Commerce) will change the way the county and city are run for years to come.”

He started with the basics — what a primary election is, how it functions, what a general election is, the party systems, what an incumbent is, who’s on the ballot and important election dates.

Because voter participation is low in Port Arthur, McDougal said a candidate can win with just a little more than 300 votes. If 5,000 Hispanics vote, they can make their presence felt.

“Hispanics can change things,” he said. “There are no Hispanics on the City Council or on the school board. The country was founded on if you’re a U.S. citizen, you can vote. Most countries in the world don’t get to vote.”

Fernando Ramirez, community activist, said when McDougal was city manager he opened many doors for the Hispanic community in Port Arthur.

Another announcement was made at the meeting of a Public Service Candidate Forum from 5 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 8 at Harmony Science Academy, 4055 Calder Ave., Beaumont.

Topics to be covered include what it means to be a public official, filing requirements and laws on campaigns, working with the newsmedia and building a strategy for campaign success.

Register at BMTCOC.org.

Information: Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, 409-838-6581.