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Ortiz: Time for new generation of leaders

Nederland mayoral candidate Jeff Ortiz said he wants to provide fresh leadership while maintaining the same level of production as past leaders.

Jeff Ortiz

Ortiz sat down with The Port Arthur News for a Facebook Live interview, which takes place at 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

Ortiz said it is time for a new generation of leaders to step up.

“I believe we need a fresh approach to the everyday issues our citizens face,” Ortiz said. “Our city council needs some fresh faces with business experience to help lead us into the next decade. I chose to run for the same reason I chose to move my business to Nederland. I love Nederland and I want to see it prosper.”

Ortiz owns Ortiz Formalwear located on 27th Street in Nederland.

Ortiz spent two years on the city council from 2009-2011, serving as the youngest Nederland councilmember in the city’s history at 26 years old.

“We accomplished a lot during my time on the council,” he said. “We worked as a team. Road projects are our biggest accomplishments almost every year. However, we did replace our city pool, which serves as something to do for our kids and a source of revenue for the city.”

Ortiz said he was also proud that he was able to lead the effort to name Bum Phillips Way after the football coach.

Looking forward, the mayoral candidate sees streets continuing to be a focal point for the city.

“We’re proud of fixing our roads,” he said. “We now have some of the best roads in our region, including Nederland Avenue. Drainage is another issue we will be facing along with development.”

Ortiz said maintaining current businesses is as important as development.

“We have to work together,” he said. “Business are growing in Nederland on a monthly basis. Our sales tax is at an all-time high. If you drive down Nederland Avenue, you’ll see all of the new businesses. We have to focus on supporting what we have now.”

The land at the airport has been the biggest topic of conversation regarding expansion and developing Nederland. The plans to turn the area into a space for shops, restaurants and event center have been slowed by red tape and other requirements.

Even with the delays, Ortiz said he is excited about the possibilities.

“That area will enhance all of Southeast Texas,” he said. “We must trust the process and allow it to play out. That type of development doesn’t happen over night.

The current mayor, R.A. “Dick” Nugent, announced he would not run for reelection, which would end his 15-year tenure.

Ortiz said, while he is offering the voters a fresh perspective, he wants to maintain the positive impact.

“Our community spirit and neighborly love is contagious,” he said. “We must foster those ideals to keep our small-town feel. As mayor, I will continue to encourage, promote, empower and unite. That’s what Mayor Nugent has done over the last 15 years. That’s what I want to build upon.”

Ortiz is active on social media and said he will continue to do so if he is elected.

“I was raised in the social media era,” he said. “Twitter and Facebook is something I would like to bring with me if I were elected. The city of Nederland does a great job on Facebook providing information. I would use my accounts to help spread the good news that the city is doing.”

Although he is relatively young, Ortiz said he is confident he will have support from all age ranges on Election Day.

“My sphere of influence is all ages from kids that are young to men and women who are in their 70s and 80s,” he said. “In my opinion, it’s not about how old you are. It’s about your heart. If these folks agree with my message of “hope” and “future,” that’s what it all boils down to.”

Early voting beings on April 22 and runs through April 30. Election Day is May 4.