AP NEWS

Endorsements recapped; please make sure to vote

May 3, 2019

Below is a summary of our endorsements for today’s local elections. We take this responsibility seriously and put a lot of effort into it, interviewing many candidates individually since early March and attending forums. Whether you agree or not, vote. Help make these important choices for your city or school district instead of sitting on the sidelines:

Beaumont City Council

Mayor — Becky Ames (I). Ames is the clear favorite over four challengers. None of them provides a compelling reason for voters to remove her, and she has a strong record in her 12 years as mayor (and seven years on the council before that).

Ward 1 — Virginia Jordan (I). Her two challengers are good people, but the council needs her energy and action. She gets things done, and she is never complacent about making Beaumont better.

Ward 2 — Mike Getz (I). This will be a hard choice for many voters. Jefferson Fisher offers unity and youth, but Getz does a lot for the city and the council. He works harder than any other council member, and he’s not afraid to ask the tough question or take on a tough issue.

Ward 3 — Audwin Samuel (I). Someone might give Samuel a race for this seat some day, but Christopher Jones isn’t the person. Samuel and all incumbents need to avoid complacency if they are re-elected and try to do more for the city in each term.

Ward 4 — Robin Mouton (I), unopposed.

At-large — W.L. Pate (I) and Randy Feldschau. With seven candidates vying for two slots, voters have many choices. Pate offers voters his considerable regional and state connections that can help the city. Feldschau, pastor of Cathedral in the Pines church, has a strong record of civic service and a sincere desire to make Beaumont better.

Beaumont ISD

At-large — Alexandrew Seale and Michael Tarabay. Seale was appointed as a manager and wants to continue as a trustee. He’s young and enthusiastic, and the board needs that outlook. Tarabay and his wife are newcomers to the district and have made a real commitment to it. She’s a teacher, they have kids enrolled, and he wants to serve on the school board.

District 1 — A.B. Bernard was one of the original managers appointed in 2014. He helped guide the board’s turnaround and knows as much or more about the district’s finances as any board member.

Other races

Port Arthur mayor — Derrick Freeman (I). Four other candidates want this job, too, but Freeman has earned another term. He knows what Port Arthur needs, and he can provide the leadership and unity the city and council need to move forward.

Vidor mayor — Kimberly Stiebig (I). She’s running against former mayor Ken Crawford, so voters won’t go wrong here. But Stiebig brings more energy and enthusiasm to the position. Vidor, and most cities, can use that attitude in the top spot.

Nederland mayor — Jeff Ortiz. Like Stiebig in Vidor, Ortiz also has a positive, goal-oriented mindset that can help his city. He’s served on the council before, and we think he can do more for Nederland as mayor.

Nederland ISD bond issue, $156 million — in favor. This is a lot of money for Nederland, but it is affordable for the city’s middle-class tax base. The bond issue would make the district’s schools significantly better, and that’s always a good investment.