The Record Newspapers - Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

By Dave Rogers
For the Record 

Candidates weigh in for May 7 vote

 

Last updated 4/13/2022 at 3:07pm

Local city and school board elections in Orange County take place May 7. Early voting begins April 25 at four locations.

Besides school bond elections for the Bridge City schools, 13 board or council seats are up for grabs on nine ballots, with three at-large seats available for the City of West Orange and the West Orange-Cove school district.

The Record invited each of the candidates to respond to a short questionnaire and will present their answers in two parts, today and in the April 19 edition.

Candidates are grouped by election. Three seats are up for election in BCISD and the Place 4 and Place 6 races are included today. The BCISD Place 2 race will be featured next week along with City of Orange and West Orange-Cove ballots.

 

BRIDGE CITY CITY COUNCIL PLACE 4

(2-year term)

Kenneth Prosperie, Sr.

Age: 62

Occupation:  Retired from Gulf Oil/Chevron after 29 years

Lived in Orange County and present City/precinct:  23 years

Elected or civic leader experience:  None

Why do you want to be elected?

I am a true conservative who believes that our tax dollars should be spent on our City services.  I have been very active for years making sure that fire hydrants are flushed to prevent dirty water in homes, ditches are dug out, outfalls are cleaned, sewer leaks are repaired, among other issues.  Our growing community needs the proper infrastructure to sustain our City.  When I see a problem, I contact the necessary entity to address the problem, whether it be City, County, TxDOT, or Entergy.   If elected, I would have a greater ability to address issues with our City and our City services.

What issues do you most want to improve and how?

Bridge City needs to stay focused on our water wells that supply our drinking and fire water.  We are down to two wells from four.

Our sealed sewer system is being inundated with storm water.  This is causing heavy overflow of raw sewage into our ditches. Smoke testing needs to be done to find the breaches and repair. Keeping all of our outfall canals cut, graded, and cleaned of debris.

Also, grading our ditches and keeping culverts clean, so there is less standing water to achieve the best drainage flow.

Keep our tractor on the move cutting ditches on the sides of our streets.

Repairing all of our electronic meter readers to free up manpower to do more important tasks.

To always put the safety of our citizens first and foremost.  Also, to work closely with our police to keep drug dealers out of our community.

 

Patty Collins

Age: 59

Occupation: Executive Director of College Affairs, Lamar State College Orange

Lived in Orange County: 40 years in Bridge City. Born and raised in Bridge City and graduated from BCHS. I lived in Jefferson County for several years before moving back to BC in 2003.

Elected or civic leader experience: Girls Haven board of directors, St. Mary's Foundation, Leadership Southeast Texas, Junior Achievement, Better Business Bureau-Southeast Texas, Wellspring Credit Union, United Way of Orange County, the BCISD Education Foundation, and the Planning and Zoning Board for the City of Bridge City.  I have also served in numerous volunteer capacities at my church. BCISD Board Trustee from 2018-2021.

Why do you want to be elected?

I am seeking a city council position because of my love for the city in which I was raised, and my desire to give back through dedicated service. Service to the community is a calling for me. Offering my time and talents to the city that my family has called home for over 85 years would be an honor. Valuable traits of a city council member include dedication, innovation, and strategic thinking. Both my professional experience and formal education have given me the background and ability to fulfill the responsibilities of city council with a high level of performance.   

What issues do you most want to improve and how? I would like to work with the city council and city administration to support planned growth in Bridge City, including new businesses and housing. Growth can provide new jobs, new income, and new local tax revenue, as well as opportunities for revitalization. I would also love to see more community involvement in our city. The "Christmas in the Park" event is an example of the type of community involvement I would like to see. I would work with city council, the Chamber of Commerce, BCISD, and other organizations to establish more events for citizens to enjoy. And of course, I would focus on the Council's bread-and-butter responsibilities like public works and infrastructure improvement, safety, and budgets. The City currently has plans in place to address water and drainage issues, and I will support city staff to bring those plans to fruition.

 

BRIDGE CITY CITY COUNCIL PLACE 6

(2-year term)

Mike Boyd

Age: 64

Occupation: Retired from ExxonMobil refinery, Beaumont.

Lived in Orange County and Bridge City: Almost three years. 

Elected or civic leader experience: None

Why do you want to be elected? That easy, I want everyone that lives in Bridge City to have a voice on what happens in the city.

What issues do you most want to improve on and how? I believe the city needs to work harder on the drainage and I know that we have sewer problems that need to be fixed. We as a city need to figure out how to figure out how to slow the traffic down on Texas Avenue and 1442. The truckers come through this town like they're on Interstate 10.

 

Sherby Dixon

Age: 63

Occupation: Retired after 40 years with BCISD.

Lived in Orange County, Bridge City? 64 years, 10 years.

Experience as elected or civic leader:

 Team member with the non-profits I have worked with as well as I believe in responsible citizenship, i.e. to volunteer and to be active in my community, be honest and trustworthy, follow rules and laws, respect the rights and property of others. 

What issues do you most want to improve and how? Drainage; it is an ongoing problem that citizens are truly concerned about.  I believe to improve this issue it will take working with the new city manager, other councilmen and city officials.  

 

CITY OF WEST ORANGE ALDERPERSONS

(3 at-large positions, 2-year terms)

Michael Shugart Jr.

Age: 69 

Occupation: Retired from Chevron, Orange.

Years living in West Orange? 69

Present or past experience as elected leader or civic leader: Served since 2006 as West Orange Alderman (elected eight times), past school board member for West Orange-Cove CISD.

Why do you want to be elected?

We have accomplished a lot in the last 16 years in the City of West Orange. We are one of the most financially secure cities in Texas and we have a lot of projects going. We're getting a new (sewer) lift station, drainage improvements and a new fire truck. I'd like to see those projects through.

 What issues do you most want to improve and how?  We have had a lot of growth in our city in the past few years. People like KFC, Body Workz (Health Club), Harbor Freight, Auto Zone. We have a diversified tax base and I'd like to keep improving the city and use (federal and state) grants as much as we're able. Some streets are torn up and we've got a grant to fix them and improve drainage. We're working on improving the city parks.

 

Jay Odom

Age: (no answer)

Occupation: Retired

Lived in Orange County: Most of my life; I grew up in West Orange and moved away for education and employment; have been back since 2018.

Experience as elected or civic leader: Served as Deeds and Restrictions chairman for the HOA Pinehurst subdivision, Baytown, TX and served on the Board of Directors for Rayburn Country HOA.

Why do you want to be elected? Some people might think serving on City Council means showing up for a monthly meeting. In reality though, it takes a lot more time and dedication than just that one duty. It is my desire to work with the City Council, the Mayor, and the residents of West Orange to define specific goals that will ensure the safety and welfare of our neighborhoods, and also the families that reside in West Orange. My gift in life is to help people. That is why I want to be the people's VOICE to the city council. I have also been to 17 of the last 18 city council meetings, showing I have the time to serve.

What issues do you most want to improve and how? While campaigning for this election, I have learned transparency is an important issue to the citizens of West Orange. I will ask for the Mayor, City Department Managers, Chief of Police and Fire Chief or their designates, to give a monthly report to the Council regarding what they and their departments are working on for the City. That is the transparency we need in West Orange currently. I have the support of one other councilman already, and he has taken this idea to Mayor Branch. 

 

Lanie Brown

Age: 59

Occupation: Senior Regional Director of Community Relations for U.S. Rep. Brian Babin

Lived in West Orange: 39 years

Experience as elected or civic leader:

Senior Regional Director for U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, Orange County Republican Party Precinct 12 Chair, Election Judge, President of Orange County Republican Women, Executive and Advisory Board Member (current and former) of several organizations including Orange County Disaster Rebuild, Salvation Army of Orange County, Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Texas Hospice, CASA of the Sabine Neches Region

 Why do you want to be elected?

I wish to serve the residents of West Orange as alderman because frankly, I love my town and the people who live there. I look around at the growth throughout Orange County and ask myself, "why not West Orange"?

I believe that as alderman, my experience working with elected officials at local, county, state, and federal level as well as economic development and chambers of commerce has put me in a great position to change "why not West Orange" to "wow, look at West Orange."  Our time is now and with thoughtful and careful planning, West Orange can be a community we can all be proud of.

What issues do you most want to improve and how?

I believe I want what everyone wants.  Better quality of life, progress and growth, and a community with leaders whose thoughtful leadership provides opportunities for all three of those. The three biggest issues I hear constituents complain about are lack of faith in leadership or being uninformed about what is happening at the city, drainage, and lack of new businesses and growth in the community. My goal is to first and foremost always be transparent about what the council is working on and what my vote will or will not be as it relates to specific issues.  Secondly, my next goal is to work with the City of West Orange and Orange County Drainage District to come up with equitable solutions to the flooding issues many residents face. Finally, I will use my experience working with elected officials, economic development, and chambers of commerce to advocate for new businesses and growth throughout West Orange.

 

Dr. Frances Droddy-Lopez

Age: 73

Occupation: Retired Director of Early Childhood Development Center, Lamar University.

Lived in West Orange: 42 years

Experience as elected or civic leader: Previously served on City of West Orange city council for 15 years.

Why do you want to be elected? I enjoy serving the citizens and the community. As a resident and homeowner, I want to be involved in the community and help make decisions that will promote the well-being of the citizens.

What issues do you most want to improve and how? There are many issues involved in managing a city. The priority of these issues can change at any time. Appearance of the city and citizen involvement is always a major concern. Improving community appearance requires good communication, community pride and citizen involvement; as well as code enforcement.

Another area of interest in promotion of local businesses and recruitment of new businesses. City officials, including city council, must work with other agencies to recruit new businesses for West Orange, Orange and Pinehurst.  New businesses benefit all our citizens.

A third area of interest is the improvement of streets and drainage. The city of West Orange is always working to improve streets and drainage. As a member of city council I will support these continuing efforts.

 

PINEHURST MAYOR

(2-year term) 

Sarah McClendon

Age: 59

Occupation: Maintenance director, Arden Place of Beaumont; prior to that worked 23 years as educator Orangefield ISD.

Lived in Pinehurst: 42 years.

Experience as elected leader or civic leader: Member of Pinehurst City Council since 2015. Board Member for Orange County Teachers Credit Union.

Why do you want to be elected? My love for the community. The people and families that have lived there for many years. The need to have someone in office that is willing to speak with the people and hear their concerns. I would hope to fix concerns and improve our community.

What issues do you most want to improve and how? Drainage is a major concern. I have been working with the Southeast Texas Economic Development Commission in an effort to receive a grant that will be used for improving and restructuring the drainage concerns of our community. Cleaning up the city is another concern that needs to be addressed. I am currently working with our New Code Enforcement Office with many cleanup projects that will improve the appearance of areas of concern.

 

Johnny Asevedo

Age: 35

Occupation: Lead Pastor of Destiny Church, Orange; Senior Marketing Director for Mid America Mortgage

Lived in Pinehurst: 7 years

Experience as an elected or civic leader: Senior Pastor, Marketing Director (over 40 branches & home lenders), current Pinehurst City Council member, member Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission. 

Why do you want to be elected?

As your current councilman, I dedicate my time and efforts to hearing your needs and acting on them. From launching events that brought the City revenue (at little or no cost to Pinehurst citizens), representing Pinehurst as a SETX Regional Planning Committee rep, working consistently with the City Manager to know the heartbeat of Pinehurst and its needs. I want to continue to build upon what's been established, but also thinking outside the box to bring new growth to Pinehurst. I want to be elected to prove the government is more than talk, but action!!! 

What issues do you most want to improve and how?

I don't see any MAJOR issues in our City, I just want to bring attention to what's happening here in ways that have never been done. Roads, sewage, and drainage are all at the forefront, but again listening to the needs of the people is also an improvement we can focus on. 

 

BRIDGE CITY ISD SCHOOL BOARD

PLACE 3 (3-year term)

Peggy Prosperie

Age: 58

Occupation: Homemaker, Mother, Caregiver

Lived in Orange County and Bridge City: 23 years

Experience as elected or civic leader: None

Why do you want to be elected? I want to be a voice for those families already struggling with their finances. I believe that the School Board members are all well-intended, but their focus seems to be more on extracurricular activities before the needs of the schools. 

In 2014, it was proposed that an Arts Theater was most needed. Before both the 2019 and current bond proposals, millions of our tax dollars were spent on prestigious turf fields. Kids have played ball on grass fields for decades. It seems that our elected officials have lost touch with the hard-working tax-paying citizens. 

I support proposals that put core curriculum education ahead of extracurricular.

What issues do you most want to improve and how? The School Board of Trustees' job is to oversee the operations of the district. That includes being fiscally responsible with the citizen's tax dollars. I am a true conservative who will make sure that our tax dollars are spent as effectively and efficiently as possible. 

I would always put the school's necessities first. The building repairs should be addressed as they come up. I believe that maintaining and repairing the buildings are paramount for prolonging their life expectancy. The Middle School is a solid, functioning building that has plenty of room, with WiFi in each classroom. If a new band hall and CTE shop class are necessary, they can be built on the right side of the Middle School.

Repairing the Middle School is much more feasible than the cost of rebuilding for $96.8 million total for 30 years. It concerns me that $39.1 million of that expense will be purely interest.

 

Rebecca Rutledge

Age: 67

Occupation: Recently retired after working 48 years in the road building industry, mostly management; the last 15 years as Materials Sales Manager.

Lived in Orange County: All my life. Bridge City: 60 plus years.

Experience as elected or civic leader: I served on the Advisory Council for Leadership Southeast Texas (LSET) for over 10 years and currently serve on the Governing Board. I previously served on the Planning & Zoning Commission for the City of Bridge City. I am currently the President of BCISD Board of Trustees.

Why do you want to be elected? I want to give back to the community that has given my family and I so much.  It is an honor serving with my fellow board members and the Superintendent. I want to continue our work as a Team of Eight -- solving problems; resolving issues; and finding new opportunities for our students.

What issues do you most want to improve and how? We have an awesome school district but there is always room to improve. Mental health is a big issue everywhere and we have a need to address these issues on all of our campuses. Securing funding for licensed professional counselors is essential to providing the much needed help for our children. Increasing Career & Technology programs by firming up partnerships with Lamar State College Orange. Offering more Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs for children in all grade levels. Supporting our teachers and staff so they can use their gifts and talents to actually teach and not be burdened with non-teaching duties.

I will continue to work diligently to make sure that every child has the opportunity to pursue their dreams when they graduate.  

 

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