Wanda Bodden, Doneane Beckcom address priorities ahead of District 3 runoff in Port Arthur

Published 12:24 am Wednesday, May 10, 2023

When it comes to the first priority for city council, Wanda Bodden and Doneane Beckcom have the same goal — transparency.

The two women who ran for District 3 along with two others ended Saturday’s Election Day facing a runoff. Of the 560 votes cast in the race, Bodden received 145 or 25.89 percent and Beckcom received 217 or 38.75 percent.

Previous District 3 councilman Thomas Kinlaw ran for and won an at-large position.

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Bodden, 68, and Beckcom, 57, expressed a desire to want to address issues in the city.

Accountability and transparency

“I think a lot of times we have to do better on how to get the people exposed to what’s going on in city council,” Bodden said. “I think the people should really be involved in what happens in their city. I think there’s a spirit of apathy that’s happened, and that’s easy to happen because a lot of times when you promise things over and over and never see results, it’s like, ‘when is that going to happen?’”

Beckcom also addressed the issue.

“City council is supposed to oversee the various city departments and not try to micromanage them,” she said. “And there’s a lot of lack of transparency between council members and between the appointees on the different boards, different committees and in different departments.”


Streets and drainage are high priority items for the two candidates.

“District 3 has a terrible drainage problem,” Beckcom said. “There are areas that — just the little rain storm we had (Monday), we had some street flooding. There’s $16.9 million in federal funding that’s coming for a massive drainage project in District 3 not too far from where I live in the Stonegate area.

“So that’s a top priority — we have to get our drainage taken care of. And what goes along with that is our streets. There are some streets in District 3 that I won’t drive on. I will go around them just because of the terrible condition of the streets. And that’s citywide, not just District 3.”

Bodden has a different approach regarding streets.

“They talk a lot about the roads and the streets that need to be repaired. But I’m to the point now that they need to be replaced,” she said. “This has gone on so long, they don’t need to be repaired anymore. They need to be replaced. They talk about progress, but I haven’t seen any and I think that’s what’s caused a lot of the apathy.”

Moving forward

Bodden’s occupation on her candidate application is listed as pastor, but she previously worked in a position that required international travel.

“I’m not new to this area. I had a job where I traveled globally, but I will always call Port Arthur home,” she said. “I’ve always seen Port Arthur as bigger than what it is. Some cities wish that they had one of the three things we have to prosper, and it would be a gold mine. We have the Port, we have oil and we have the railway. And when I get in I’m going to work all three of them. They’re going to work for us.”

Beckcom is a long-time attorney who has served as a business owner and educator.

“I feel like I have the knowledge and the insight,” she said. “I’m a very logical and methodical person when it comes to decision making. I do my research. I do my due diligence. And I don’t let people influence me. I’m going to take my stand on a position that I feel is best for our city and best for my district, and I’m not going to let anybody influence me otherwise. Whose back pocket am I in? That’s not going to happen. That’s not me.”