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Port Arthur City Council at-large candidates talk platforms for election success

The makeup of the Port Arthur City Council after Nov. 3 could include two faces already on board.

Then again, it could include two new at-large representatives.

The race for at-large Position 7 pits an incumbent against a businessman and a homemaker. In at-large Position 8, the current District 1 councilman is facing a businesswoman and a current Port Arthur Independent School District board member.

All six candidates participated in an online forum is week hosted by Terry Savoy-Hadley and Taylor Getwood on Facebook Live. For conciseness, this article only highlights some of the talking points by each candidate:

 Position 7 at-large

Charlotte Moses is seeking a third term on this seat and is facing a challenge from Rashad Harris and Yadi Cardenas.

Moses touted the ongoing housing and business development in downtown, as well as a down-payment assistance program for families moving to that area.

“We’ve accomplished establishing a pipe-bursting crew to work on our infrastructure, our sewer, starting in Sabine Pass,” Moses said. “Before you put on the top of a street, before you develop a street, you need to make sure the infrastructure is correct.”

The city can also see a public-private partnership plan going forward with Motiva’s investment downtown, Moses said.

A “futuristic vision” of Port Arthur is required for the city to grow, said Harris, a business owner.

“Partnering with local business owners, educators and implementing a yearlong entrepreneurial course, I feel like that would impact our community to want to participate with the economic growth of the city. That way, we can give back to the community and implement a strategy to be able to sustain business.”

Cardenas is a homemaker who says she is well acquainted with the needs of Port Arthurans.

“When I say acquainted, it’s not just that I know the needs, but I have the needs as most of the citizens of Port Arthur.”

One of the needs is employment within the city, Cardenas stated. The council must work with different agencies and boards toward creating boards, she added.

“I want the youth of Port Arthur to be capable of attaining a higher education in coming back to our city, and I want them to break the cycle of a broken system,” she said.

Position 8 at-large

Raymond Scott Jr., Tieranny DeCuir and the Rev. Donald Ray Frank Sr. are among five campaigning to replace Kaprina Frank, who is term-limited.

“This position is a position no different from District 1,” Scott said. “I always voted and supported other councilmembers when the citizens came first and the city came first. I have the experience in all the phases of city government. I understand our city government. I understand policy and procedures and believe in following policies and procedures.”

Scott’s priorities are streets and drainage, but he also boasts the city’s bond projects.

DeCuir, another business owner, said she would bring a “detail-oriented approach to helping solve problems in our city” and connect with younger and older citizens.

“I know in my heart Port Arthur has potential to be a thriving upbeat city,” DeCuir said. “It has the potential to attract new citizens and keep lifelong citizens here.”

DeCuir’s plans include promoting unity on the council, among citizens and entities, promoting small business and improving relationships with large businesses.

“I’m for change. I’m for progress. I’m for anything that’s positive,” she said.

Donald Frank, the pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, serves on the PAISD school board and is in line to be its vice-president.

During his first term on the PAISD board in 1999, Frank said, the board worked with industry on a $110 million bond issue.

As for Motiva’s development downtown, Frank said he is grateful but asked: “Is that the plan we have for Port Arthur?”

He stressed that is Motiva’s plan in action and that the city should partner with Motiva and put the city’s and Motiva’s plans together “for the blessing and benefit of our city.”

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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