VOTER GUIDE: District 22 State Representative 

Published 5:47 pm Monday, May 23, 2022

Voters will decide on the Democratic candidate for District 22 State Representative in a runoff election Tuesday following the March primaries.

Chrisian “Manuel” Hayes and Joseph Paul Trahan are vying for the chair currently held by state Rep. Joe Deshotel, who did not seek reelection.

In March, Hayes took 43 percent of the vote and Trahan took 48 percent.

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The winner faces Republican candidate Jacorion Randle. Chad Gary has announced his intentions to begin soliciting signatures for a nominating petition in order to run as an Independent candidate.

Port Arthur Newsmedia on Monday spoke with both runoff candidates in an effort to help voters at the polls.

To ensure impartiality, candidates are displayed by alphabetical order of last name, and some answers have been shortened for space.

Christian “Manuel” Hayes

Age: 36

Occupation: Chief of staff for Rep. Deshotel

Q: What is your reason for running?

A: I want to give back to the community that’s been giving back to me and allowed me to be able to run and say that I’m qualified to run.

Q: What is your most important issue?

A: One of them will always be education, particularly towards special education. I think we often say we have to fund schools, but we forget that there are children who need that extra bit of help — kids like myself who are dyslexic, who have autism, down syndrome. We have to make sure that we’re fully funding those programs, as well as fully funding schools. Of course, we need to do things such as jobs but also protecting those jobs that we have and that’s a broad range from making sure that we’re protecting our coastal areas, so we can protect our jobs from storms, but also protect workers and still being business friendly.

Q: Why should people vote for you? 

A: I’m the only candidate that has the experience and already knows how to get the job done, even before he has to walk into the door, because this is what I’ve been doing for the last 17 and a half years.

Q: Are there any additional comments you’d like to add?

I’m just really thankful for the opportunity to even run. I hope that everyone gets out, they vote, they get informed about the candidates, and I hope that they go and they do their civic duty and go out and vote.

Joseph Paul Trahan

Age: 26

Occupation: Community relations

Q: What is your reason for running?

A: I’m running because it’s in my blood. I’ve been involved in Democratic politics going back a decade now, between my time in high school, college and early 20s. I served as chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party, and over time I was able to engage with a lot of people here in the community…and I heard a lot of the issues and concerns people had. They felt the status quo wasn’t working for them and the people in office had been there too long. I felt like I could be someone that could step in and be independent-minded, be of use as best I can with as much energy and enthusiasm as possible to commit myself to try and be a better advocate in Austin for this district.

Q: What is your most important issue?

A: My most important issue is going to be public education. That is something that, throughout the district, people have expressed concern about. They feel that public education isn’t being adequately funded. Traditional public schools are losing billions of dollars a year to public charter programs. They know there’s a lot of educators and paraprofessionals that are underpaid and overworked. Student outcomes are not what they need to be in districts like Beaumont ISD and Port Arthur ISD, so I want to make sure that I hone in on ways in which we can improve funding, resources and policy for public education.

Q: Why should people vote for you? 

A: I believe people should vote for me because I am the candidate that’s been here in the community working diligently to promote our values, electing good people to office that I think are most responsive to their constituents. I have been in the trenches, gone into the community, volunteered my time, talent and anything else that I could offer up to try and make our communities better.

Q: Are there any additional comments you’d like to add?

To me voters just have to make the decision between something different and a new way of leadership or voting for what has been the same over the last 20 years. There’s a distinct decision that we have to make as a community. It’s my hope that people will choose the individual that has been here locally, that has served the community (and) has tried to make a difference in getting out to vote and empowering people to be proud of where they come from.