Former JP enters race for Port Arthur mayor

Published 10:24 am Thursday, January 17, 2019


By Ken Stickney

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Hours before qualifying was to open in the Port Arthur mayor’s race, former justice of the peace Thurman Bill Bartie declared himself a candidate in a rousing announcement made before some 40 supporters in front of City Hall.

Bartie, a pastor, said he opted to run at the behest of citizens who wanted more unity among their local leaders and local governments.

“Port Arthur has vast resources, the citizens being the greatest component; therefore, this campaign desires to unite the citizens and involve them in the decisions of city government,” Bartie said, reading from prepared remarks.

He said as mayor he would “open dialogue” with governing entities including Port Arthur schools, the Port of Port Arthur, Commission District 3, Drainage District 7, Sabine Pass and even Pleasure Island.

Bartie said he’d work in partnership, as well, with “our varied industrial neighbors to foster a relationship whereby our city will begin to take on the appearance of other communities with similar environs.”

“Port Arthur should possess an aesthetic quality in correlation to its profitability to our industrial base,” he said.

Bartie also pointed to downtown as a “diamond in the rough,” and suggested that developing the city for mixed-use development along the waterfront would enable citizens to “shop, live and work in one location” — something he said he been a “dream that has been deferred long enough.”

City planners and the Economic Development Corp. have been developing housing downtown in the quest to lure more businesses to the area.

In response to a question, Bartie said he’d been a supporter of incumbent Mayor Derrick Freeman” when he ran for election three years ago, but was running now because “citizens began to approach me.”

Candidates can file for mayor as early as Wednesday and as late as 5 p.m. Feb. 15, when qualifying ends. The election is scheduled for May 4 with a runoff, if needed, June 22.