Drainage, communication issues in Dickinson runoff
Communication with residents and infrastructure needs are issues in a June 8 runoff contest between a Dickinson City Council incumbent and a challenger .
At-large Position 2 City Councilman Bruce Henderson is seeking a third term, vying against Sean Skipworth after neither failed to win a majority of votes in the May 4 election.
Henderson said that in his recent election run, he learned that communication between council and the community was a concern for residents.
“I discovered that there was a lot of confidence in the work the council was doing, but a very common thread was that we were not communicating what our plans are and what we were working on,” he said. “This is something I am committed to change as soon as possible.”
Skipworth said he would focus on drainage, which has been a much-discussed topic in Dickinson since flooding which devastated the city during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
“I will of course sit down with the city administrator to get a full picture of our current efforts, but it is clear that these efforts should be improved/expanded as citizens are not satisfied with the lack of effective drainage in Dickinson,” he said.
Early voting will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 28-31 and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 3-4 at Dickinson Community Center, 2714 Texas 3, as well as at other Galveston County early voting locations at Santa Fe City Hall, 12002 Texas 6, Santa Fe, and at the Galveston County Justice Center at 600 Fifth St., Galveston.
In the May 4 election, Skipworth received 463 votes, or 48.79 percent, compared with Henderson’s 397 votes, giving him 41.83 percent. The third candidate in the May 4 election, Kevin Edmonds, received 89 votes.
Council positions are are unpaid and for three-year terms.
Henderson said that if re-elected, he plans to spearhead measures for transparency and better city communication with residents as well as working to annex undeveloped property on Dickinson’s north side.
He said he wants to start “an email program that will give the city staff and council the ability to communicate to all citizens reports of what we’re working on, activities that are going on in the city, information about projects such as when they will start and what the scope of work will be.”
“We have the potential to gain an additional 25 percent of area for our city, much of which is undeveloped,” Henderson said. “These areas would provide us with much more potential commercial development which could create so much opportunity for Dickinson to improve its financial position to be able to catch up and stay ahead of infrastructure needs. I realized a while back that street and drainage issues have been talked about for 30 years and will continue to be talked about for years to come if we don’t get our revenue base to a level that we can afford to not only renew the streets but also maintain them.”
Skipworth said that new leadership is needed in Dickinson and noted that the campaign experienced reinforced his awareness of how much change council members can affect.
“Before running, I understood that being on City Council is a serious responsibility, but speaking to people really brings that home in a way you can’t understand if you haven’t run for office,” Skipworth said. “One woman came up to me after voting and said she had just put her faith in me. I am proud that we ran the kind of campaign that generated that kind of support.”
Each candidates expressed the intention to maintain the same campaign strategies used for the May 4 election.
“I intend to stay the course pertaining to the campaign,” Henderson said.”The most important point now is to ensure that everyone in Dickinson knows about the election, what is at stake, and to ensure that they come out and vote.”
Skipworth said he, too, will continue reaching out to the community.
“It is the same as it was during the general election — go out into the community and reach out directly to the voters,” he said. “The way someone campaigns shows you how they’ll be in office, and I’ve worked hard to show voters that I will be a professional, energetic, and responsive member of City Council.”
When asked what each candidate thought was important for voters to know about them, Henderson discussed his connection to the city.
“Even when my home was flooded due to Harvey, after making sure my family was safe, I came back to our city to work in shelters to help others that had flooded also,” he said.
Skipworth said that he wants residents to know he would always be accessible to them.
“I understand communicating with voters isn’t something that should only happen during an election. Communication should be a constant effort and the vision for our city should come to City Hall from the people and not the other way around.”