OC voters decide reps, bonds, charters
Last updated 5/7/2022 at 11:03pm
West Orange alderman Michael Shugart, Jr., is seeking his ninth straight election to his hometown's city council.
This is the first time he's ever had an opponent.
"Since 2006, I've been elected every two years, but I've never put a sign up until now," he said. "Every year, only three people ran for the three seats, so there really was no election."
In all, 40 candidates are seeking 20 contested seats on Orange County city councils or school boards in the May 7 election. Fifteen of those candidates are after seven slots in Vidor government.
Shugart said he got on West Orange's council in 2006 when Meritta Kennedy resigned to take care of a family member. Shugart joined Dale Dardeau and Shirley Bonnin as council members up for election every even-numbered year.
Kennedy rejoined the council in an odd-numbered election cycle, replacing Randy Branch, who moved to mayor after the retirement of 26-year mayor Roy McDonald.
Meanwhile, Shugart, Dardeau and Bonnin had no opposition in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020, Shugart said. They were declared elected by West Orange without ever having their names printed on a ballot.
This year is different. Both Dardeau and Bonnin chose not to file for reelection. Shugart is one of four candidates signed up for the three at-large spots this year.
He's on the printed ballot along with former council member Frances Droddy-Lopez, who also had stepped aside to care for an ill family member; Jay Odom, a runnerup in the 2021 council election; and Lanie Brown, regional director for U.S. Rep Brian Babin.
The three candidates who receive the most votes will take office later this month.
Also on the West Orange ballot: seven charter changes.
Other Orange County election notables include the presence of husband and wife "concerned citizens" Kenneth and Peggy Prosperie as candidates for city council and school board in Bridge City.
Both have campaigned against the BCISD school bond propositions for spending up to $72.4 million to build a new middle school and career technology education center.
Kenneth has run unsuccessfully for council several times while Peggy Prosperie, like Shugart, is on a printed ballot for the first time. After spending more than a decade as caregiver for a family member, she says that job has ended and she's focusing her energy on her hometown.
Prosperie is on the school board ballot against Rebecca Rutledge, current board president and wife of Bridge City's mayor, David Rutledge.
West Orange-Cove's school board race has been characterized by some as a protest of January's 4-2 board vote to accept Superintendent Ricky Harris' nomination of Hiawatha Hickman as athletic director and head football coach.
Those who disagreed have said over and over it's not about Hickman, but the fact they wanted the job to go to former assistant coach Toby Foreman and don't believe the selection process was fairly conducted.
They note that rumors of Hickman's hiring circulated long before the anticipated retirement of coaching legend Cornel Thompson after a year of COVID-related health problems.
All three of the incumbents in this year's election – board president Linda Platt-Bryant, Demetrius Hunter and Gina Simar -- voted for the superintendent's choice.
But the three running against them – John Jefferson Jr. Erick Guillory and Donny Teate Jr. – have centered their campaigns around the issues of the need for better discipline, better test scores and better spending priorities.
All voters in this election will see two state-wide propositions on their ballot which seek to lower school taxes on homeowners.
This is the second election this year and will be followed quickly by another – the primary runoff election for those county, state and federal office-seekers looking for a spot on November's mid-term election.
Early voting runs from May 16-20 and Runoff Election Day is May 24.
May 7 Local Election Day
Sample Ballots (contested races only)
City of Bridge City
Mayor – David Rutledge (i) unopposed
Place 2 – Carl Harbert, Mike Reed (i)
Place 4 – Kenneth Prosperie Sr., Patty Collins
Place 6 – Mike Boyd, Sherby Dixon
Bridge City ISD
Place 3 – Rebecca Rutledge (i), Peggy Prosperie
Place 4 – Thad Hill (i) unopposed
Place 5 – Jerry McInnis (i) unopposed
Bridge City ISD Proposition A
"The issuance of $57,700,000 of bonds by the Bridge City Independent School District for school facilities (including but not limited to the construction of a new 6th Grade to 8th Grade middle school), any necessary or related removal of existing school facilities, and the purchase of any necessary sites for school facilities, and the levying of a tax in payment thereof. This is a property tax increase." (Vote For or Against)
Bridge City ISD Proposition B
"The issuance of $14,700,000 of bonds by the Bridge City Independent School District for school facilities (including but not limited to the construction of a new 9th Grade to 12th Grade high school career and technical education center), any necessary or related removal of existing school facilities, and the levying of a tax in payment thereof. This is a property tax increase." (Vote For or Against)
City of Orange
At-Large Place 5 – Charles Thomas, Caroline Hennigan (i)
District 2 – Brad Childs (i) unopposed
District 4 – Dwain Boullard, Mary McKenna (i), Richard G. Pillsbury
City of West Orange
At-Large Aldermen (3 positions) -- Frances Droddy-Lopez, Jay Odom, Michael Shugart Jr. (i), Lanie Brown
NOTE: West Orange ballot includes 7 charter change amendments.
(3 At-Large seats, 3-year terms)
Gina Simar (i), John Allen Jefferson Jr., Erick Guillory, Demetrius D. Hunter (i), Linda Faye Platt-Bryant (i), Donny Teate Jr.
City of Pinehurst
Mayor – Sarah McClendon, Johnny Asevedo
Alderperson at large (2 positions) – Greg "Ace" Willis (i), Cynthia J. Adams (i)
City of Vidor
Ward Two – Nicole G. McGowan, Chris Arndt
Ward Three – Michael Thompson, Jerry E. Aldridge, Ronnie Herrera
Ward Five – Anthony Foster, Gary Herrera
Position 1 – Paul Davis, Kimberly Mahana Crossley
Position 3 – Lance Loftin, David Camp
Position 4 – Gina VanDevender, Jalissa Green-Droddy
Position 5 – Rodney White, Mike Marion
(i) -- incumbent
All ballots will include:
State of Texas Proposition 1
"The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purpose on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled to reflect any statutory reduction from the preceding tax year in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the homestead." (Vote For or Against)
State of Texas Proposition 2
"The constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $25,000 to $40,000." (Vote For or Against)
Orange County Voting Locations*
Election Day, Saturday May 7
Polls open 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
*City of West Orange voting will be at West Orange City Hall,
By Voting Boxes
1. Cove Baptist Church, 1005 Dupont Dr., Orange
2. West Orange Cove ISD Administration Bldg, 902 W. Park Ave., Orange
3. North School, 801 Cordrey St., Orange
4. Alexander Homes Senior Citizens Center, 2023 N. 4th St., Orange
5. West Orange Cove ISD Administration Bldg, 902 W. Park Ave., Orange
6. North Orange Pentecostal, 7144 N. 16th St. (N. Hwy 87), Orange
7. St. Francis Catholic Church, 4300 Meeks Dr., Orange
8. LCM Administration Building, 6586 FM 1130, Orange
9. Sabine River Authority, 12777 N. Hwy 87, Orange
10. Winfree Baptist Church, 19525 Hwy 62 S., Orange
11. West Orange City Hall, 2700 Western Ave., Orange
12. West Orange Stark High School, 1400 Newton St., Orange
13. Masonic Temple, 3528 South St., Orange
14. West Orange-Stark Elementary, 2605 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Orange
15. Texas Dept. of Transportation Building, 3128 N. Hwy 62, Mauriceville
16. Mauriceville Volunteer Fire Department, 10691 N. Hwy 62, Mauriceville
17. Pine Forest Baptist Church, 4800 N. Main St., Vidor
18. Vidor Junior High, 945 Tram Road, Vidor
19. Raymond Gould Community Center, 385 Claiborne St., Vidor
20. Vidor High School, 500 Orange St., Vidor
21. Rose City City Hall, 370 Rose City Dr., Vidor
22. Pecan Acres Baptist Church, 14795 Duncan Woods Lane, Vidor
23. Orangefield Cormier Museum, 9908 FM 105, Orangefield
24. Bridge City High School, 2690 Texas Ave., Bridge City
25. Bridge City Public Works Building, 220 Nitsche St., Bridge City
26. Bridge City Knights of Columbus Hall, 495 W. Roundbunch Road, Bridge City
27. Pine Forest Elementary School, 4150 N. Main St., Vidor
28. St. Paul Methodist Church, 1155 W. Roundbunch Road, Bridge City
29. Vidor High School, 500 Orange St., Vidor
30. Orange County Drainage District, 8081 Old Hwy 90, Orange
31. Precinct 2 Commissioners Office, 11867 Hwy 62, Orange
32. Orange County Expo Center, 11475 Hwy 1442, Orange
33. Vidor Elementary School, 400 E. Railroad St., Vidor
34. Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 1600 N. Main St., Vidor