Mayor Thurman Bartie talks future plans following reelection victory

Published 12:40 am Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Less than 48 hours after his reelection, Mayor Thurman Bartie was back at work.

“Everything came back to normal this morning,” Bartie said Monday. “The city manager and I have a meeting scheduled for this afternoon, and I begin tomorrow with the city secretary and city attorney on getting the agenda prepared for next week’s (council) meeting.”

After failing to secure more than 50 percent of the vote in the May 7 election, Bartie and challenger Floyd Batiste spent the last month campaigning for Saturday’s runoff election. In total, 2,789 votes were cast — 1,516 in early voting and 1,273 on Saturday.

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The race was close, with Bartie taking 54.9 percent of the vote and Batiste taking 45.1 percent.

Following the final decision, Batiste, who spent 17 years as the CEO of the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation, congratulated Bartie.

“The people have spoken, and I accept what the people decide,” Batiste told Port Arthur Newsmedia Saturday night. “The people elected Mayor Bartie to continue progress, and maybe he will continue progress.”

Bartie this week said part of that progress has been building a foundation with other city leaders.

“What has meant the most to me was being able to work with my emergency management team during periods of imminent disaster, and being able to gather information through what I would call all of my experts. And, through divine intervention, make a decision in line with the will of God for my community. That speaks volumes to me.”

City Manager Ron Burton said the way the city is structured, it is programmed to work.

“We have a great system in place that will allow continuity and efficiency,” he said.

Bartie spoke on what its like to lead a city.

“It’s a big responsibility to know that you’ve got 60,000-70,000 people who are waiting and listening for you to give them directive,” he said. “We are the southernmost part of the county, and a lot of folks are going to have to move on how we do it. Sometimes I may have to stand alone and sometimes I did, but it was the right call to make.”

Goals going forward are better infrastructure, improving city services and development.

“We’re going to review basically a lot of the infrastructure,” he said. “It was old before I got here, and some of it will be old when I’m gone. But coming up with the right plan and construction schedule for replacing old, outdated, antiquated infrastructure is important because that supports the quality of life in your city.”

The city, he added, is still replacing equipment lost to Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

“We’re still recuperating from that and restructuring the public works department and those departments that serve the citizens in that manner,” he said. “I like to be sure that we are doing what we’re supposed to do to make it better.”

Chris Moore contributed to this article.