Incoming councilwoman Tiffany Hamilton talks about improving communication in Port Arthur

Published 12:36 am Friday, May 12, 2023

Incoming District 2 councilwoman Tiffany Hamilton is ready to work for the betterment of Port Arthur and of her district.

Hamilton defeated challenger Armando Ruiz during last week’s General Election. Votes will be canvassed May 17, and she anticipates her first Council meeting to be May 23.

She takes the seat vacated by former councilman Cal Jones, who left to run for the at large Position 5 seat but failed in his bid.

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Hamilton, a Port Arthur native, previously served a term for District 2 back in 2014, then lost against Cal Jones in 2017. She contested the election results, but a judge later ruled in Jones’ favor.

A community advocate and entrepreneur, Hamilton said her love for the city is what inspired her to run for office.

While in office Hamilton would like to see better communication between city government and its residents and wants to do what she can to reach the residents. She said this is a challenge for the city.

Trying to reach people is like a moving target.

“At one time you could send a message through the local church and that’s how information was given to citizens, and you’d follow through with what the pastor said. That’s not our situation anymore,” Hamilton said.

Information is seen on social media, correct or incorrect, and people seem to believe what they read there.

“We need to have different avenues, different ways to reach people,” she said, adding she is working on a database of residents in District 2 to find how to reach them, be it mailers, text or a knock on the door.

Communication is an important thing; especially given the fact residents live in an area that has experienced hurricanes and record setting flooding. People will need to know where to get diapers or where to get a hot meal. Something as simple as warming a baby bottle or trying to keep milk cold becomes difficult when the power is out, she said.

There are some actions that the residents themselves need to do in emergency situations when given the knowledge of weather or other impending concerns.

“We’re all watching the same news the citizens are watching. If I know my street normally floods, I need to move my car,” she said.

And if a person has an elderly parent, they need t know what to do. Some, she said, may not be financially able to leave such as during a hurricane but preparations can be made with the right communication. That’s even down to making sure medications are filled or finding out if there is a branch of a pharmacy in the area where you are going because during an evacuation you won’t be able to reach your doctor.

In June Hamilton hopes to hold an informational town hall to aid in communication.

Another one of Hamilton’s goals is to help improve housing stability across the city. For example, there may be apartment complexes not up to city code due to holes in the ceiling or sewage backing up. That could be a code violation, and the city could help with that, she said.

Business development and improving the perception of the city are topics that go hand-in-hand.

“Often people want to come to the city or move to the city, whether for business or personal reasons and I’d like to help improve how we are viewed, because we are a special place and have a lot to offer,” she said. “But perception is reality for a lot of people, but their perception isn’t always reality.”

Hamilton describes herself as a go-getter who gets locked-in and laser focused when she chooses an initiative.

“And I am a fighter,” she said. “I will fight for what’s right. Often we hear there are two sides of every story. Contrary to popular belief, it’s either right or wrong and not two people.

“My goal in life is, for whatever I choose to do, I do with honor, respect, compassion, patience and professionalism. And that is a summary of how I will work to help improve the perception of the city.”