Willie “Bae” Lewis intends to file for the District 1 Port Arthur city council seat

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Willie “Bae” Lewis says he intends to file for candidacy as Port Arthur District 1 councilman.

Lewis, who has more than 30 years of experience in city government, was most recently District 5 councilman. He spent 18 years representing District 1.

Lewis said he’s served in three different districts — 1, 5 and 7 — as a way to keep continuity on the board amid term limits.

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He served through 2018, when districts 5 and 6 were dropped from the council and his most recent term expired.

“My platform has always been forward-looking,” Lewis said. “One of the things we want to do is get a bond issue for streets.”

Lewis touts introducing incentives for businesses moving downtown as one of his accomplishments on the council. He named tax abatement, increment financing and new market tax credits among the incentives.

“The reason Motiva has moved its administration downtown, there are incentives I was a part of putting in place,” he said. “Reinvestment is already in place. All the increase stays in the downtown zone, and that money can be spent toward rebuilding in downtown. With all the historical buildings, they can sell those bonds.”

Lewis added he would propose that businesses that move downtown put in procurement officers so that sales taxes will got into the general fund, and that a board be created to allow electricians who pass a performance test to pull permits themselves instead of spending money on master electricians. He also would like for First Street in Sabine Pass, which leads to a naturally sandy beach, to be elevated using grants from the Texas General Land Office, and help the city create a department that strictly works with grants.

“You’ve got to have experience and knowledge to mix these ingredients,” Lewis said.

Raymond Scott is currently the District 1 councilman. His third and final term ends this year.

Interested candidates can file for local political subdivisions from Jan. 15-Feb. 14. Election day for local offices is May 2.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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