EDITORIAL — Freeman: Mayor has earned support
Derrick Freeman says he’s running for Port Arthur mayor on a progress report; his opponent in the June 22 runoff, Thurman Bartie, is running on promises. For this city’s good, Port Arthur people should cast their votes for Freeman to win a second, consecutive three-year term.
That’s because Freeman, the incumbent, has helped Port Arthur to accomplish much in his three years as mayor and in five years as a councilmember. As mayor, he’s represented the city well as the most visible face of Port Arthur, an articulate spokesman who has formed valuable and beneficial relationships with state leaders after Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey.
Credit Freeman for tirelessly promoting the One-Stop Shop at the 501 Building, where people from Greater Port Arthur people have been applying for federal funds after Harvey damaged their homes.
Credit Freeman for aiding the successful creation of six opportunity zones in this city, encouraging companies to consider our city as a location site.
Credit Freeman for helping the effort to encourage Motiva to expand its office operations into the downtown, which will reclaim some visible, historic buildings and create the conditions for business creation downtown. More good news is coming.
Credit Freeman for reestablishing some sense of order and decorum at City Council meetings, where people have a chance to speak in meetings that are civil and orderly.
Perfect? Not at all.
Few mayors, especially those operating under a city manager form of government, accomplish much on their own. But Freeman has worked well with others, and created the conditions for harmony on the City Council, composed of seven diverse personalities. He’s learned a lot and he has helped nudge this city forward.
There is a lot at stake here. The city seems to be turning a corner, making demonstrated progress in reviving downtown and attracting business and residential newcomers.
This year, it launched the most ambitious street program of the last decade. Port Arthur has made new progress in addressing other infrastructure issues, including drainage and pipes. Bartie is touting a “fresh start,” but the last thing this city needs is to start over when things are improving. A change in leadership would slow down Port Arthur’s progress.
Port Arthur has been navigating complex contracts and agreements with area industries. Construction of a new LNG plant is almost certain. This is not the time to start over: For the first time in many years, Port Arthur successes are genuine. Build on those.
Early voting began Monday at the Port Arthur Public Library and at City Hall, ending June 18. Hours are 8-5 daily, except for June 13 and June 18, when hours are extended to 7-7. The election is June 22.
There’s time to vote. It’s time to vote well.
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