Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

WO, WOC Voters' Guide

The voting process for West Orange voters could take a little longer this year, with four people running for three at-large slots on the City of West Orange city council and six people running for three at-large seats on the West Orange-Cove school board.

In both elections, the top three vote-getters will be elected.

Early voting begins Monday, April 25 and runs through May 3. School district early voters may vote at the four county-wide locations -- Orange Public Library, Bridge City ISD Administration Building, Mauriceville Community Center and Raymond Gould Community Center.

The city election -- early and on election day, Saturday, May 7 -- polling place is at West Orange City Hall.


At-Large (3 seats, 3-year terms)

Erick Guillory Sr.

Age: 52

Occupation:  Operator

Lived in Orange: 20-plus years

Experience as elected or civic leader:

I am a civic leader. My actions and social participation in community affairs, youth programs, and WOCCISD committees for over 30 years support my claim. 

What issues do you most want to improve and how?I want to improve testing scores and address discipline disruptions in the classroom. I will work with other board members, faculty, and legal guardians on finding ways to motivate students, get more parents involved in the educational process, create a plan with reachable goals that works for all students regardless of the obstacles they may face. For discipline, I support "No tolerance" for classroom disruption. We owe it to the faculty, staff, parents and students that there is consistency in the classroom. Nothing should ever interfere with the learning process.


Demetrius Hunter (i)

Age: 47

Occupation: City of Orange

Lived in Orange: 24 years 

Experience as elected or civic leader: WOCCISD Board Trustee

What issues do you most want to improve and how?

1. Finding more certified teachers; 2. Work on getting our test scores to where they need to be; 3. Work on behavior

I'd like to be elected because I have a passion for my community and the well-being of everything that goes on with the school district.


John Jefferson Jr.

Age: 61

Occupation: Retired from DuPont Sabine Riverworks management.

Lived in Orange: 61 years

Experience as elected or civic leader: President of NAACP of Orange County; supervising committee Sabine Federal Credit Union, 25-plus years DuPont management

What issues do you most want to improve and how?

There is a lack of transparency between school administration (including the school board) and the community. I would like to close that gap. I want to get parents of the community more involved and work together with the schools to close the educational gap.


Linda Faye Platt-Bryant (i)

Age: 54

Occupation: Administrative Assistant

Lived in Orange: 38 years

Experience as elected or civil leader: WOCCISD Board President, WOCCISD trustee 2015-present, Parent Teacher Association President 2012-17

What issues do you most want to improve and how? I desire to continue serving the community and to ensure that parents and guardians are supporting their children in the classroom.  Parent focus and involvement in the classroom can be improved by Parent/Teacher conferences for student excellence in "testing and daily performance"; We need to continue our current "Grow Your Own Program" for employee development, growth and commitment to the district. It is working very well.


Gina Simar (i)

Age: 58

Occupation: Nurse, retired Dean of Health Workforce and Technology, Lamar State College Orange

Lived in Orange: 49 years

Experience as elected or civic leader: WOCCISD Board member; LSCO Faculty Senate; United Way Board; past board member of Red Cross, American Heart Association, Camp Fire, Child Welfare Board

What issues do you most want to improve and how? As a community, we must invest in area schools to ensure every student is fully prepared for the next stage of their life. We need to continue to provide safe environments in which students are free from harm and free to learn. Parent/Guardian involvement is crucial. Students with parental involvement have higher grades and test scores, better school attendance, improved social skills and higher self-esteem.

My motivation for seeking another term on the school board is, I want to continue to work hard, and make decisions pertaining to the education of children of the district.


Donny Teate Jr.

Age: 47

Occupation: Chemical process operator at TPC Group for 23 years.

Lived in Orange: 43

Experience as elected or civic leader: None.

What issues do you most want to improve and how?  Our biggest challenge, in my opinion, is raising our test scores and sending our students to college OR bringing in different programs that will prepare students for specific trades as they graduate from high school.

My biggest challenge that I've been researching is how we can OBTAIN and RETAIN HIGH QUALITY EDUCATORS throughout our district. 


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

Michael Shugart Jr. (i)

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.


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