Mayor, school board candidates to participate in digital forums

Published 12:26 am Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Epsilon Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Port Arthur Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., have joined together to host two political forums this week focused on Port Arthur races.

On Thursday at 7 p.m., the four mayoral candidates will participate in a 1.5 hour forum; while on Saturday at 6 p.m., the five candidates seeking two open positions on the Port Arthur Independent School District Board of Trustees will do the same.

Each will be presented via Zoom.

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“We have a Connections committee that works with voting and getting the word out, so they came up with the idea,” said Leslie Lee, public relations committee chairman for Epsilon Theta Omega Chapter. “We’re hoping just to have the community give them access to the candidates, let them hear what they have to say, and we’ll have questions for them as well.”

Each forum, which is free to the public and does not require registration, will begin with a spotlight in which the candidates will have three minutes to speak on their platform.

Afterward, the moderator will ask each candidate five questions, to which they’ll have two minutes to respond.

“They all seem excited about the opportunity,” Lee said. “I’m not sure if we’re the only forum that’s happening, but everyone seems excited to participate.”

Lee said if participation is good, the two groups will consider hosting similar forums each year for contested races.

Four people are vying for the Port Arthur Mayor position: incumbent Thurman Bartie, former councilman Willie “Bae” Lewis, former CEO of the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation Floyd Batiste, and Matthews Christian Jr.

Candidates for the two open PAISD positions are incumbent Dianne Brown, Yadira Cardenas, Kimberly Johnson, Jacori Narcise and Nina Stelly.

Election day is May 7. Early voting begins April 25 and ends May 3.

The Thursday evening link for the mayoral race is

The Saturday evening link for the school board race is