Field of candidates grows as deadline looms



Field of candidates grows as deadline looms

Field of candidates grows as deadline looms

It’s getting crowded out there.

At last count, eight people are running for three Port Aransas City Council seats, and three are vying for the office of mayor with the filing deadline coming on Friday, Feb. 18.

The election will be May 7.

Candidates are reminded that the deadline to submit statements to the South Jetty is Monday, Feb. 21. Details are later in this story.

Candidates also must contact the South Jetty to confirm participation in Candidates’ Night by noon Monday.

Mayor

Running for mayor are Wendy Moore, branch manager at American Bank; Paul Sherrill, who is listed as “retired” in a news release issued by the City Secretary’s Office; and Marty Phalen, listed on the release as “health physicist/ radiation safety.”

Mayor Charles Bujan died on Wednesday, Feb. 9, after battling pancreatic cancer for several months.

Bujan, who was finishing his third consecutive mayoral term, couldn’t have run again due to term limits.

Port Aransas mayoral terms last two years. It is an unpaid position.

Council Place 2

Incumbent Tina Mott, identified in the news release as “correspondence carrier,” has filed for re-election to Place 2 on the council.

Running against Mott is Victoria Stiewig, an RV park owner.

Mott defeated Stiewig and another candidate, Jon Christensen, during a special election held on Nov. 2 to replace Shannon Solimine, who resigned from Place 2 in May because she was moving out of town.

Not long after Solimine’s resignation, efforts by the city council to appoint someone to replace her ended in 3-3 votes. That resulted in the special election being called.

Mott was elected to serve out the rest of Solimine’s term, which ends with the May election.

Council Place 4

Tanya Chambers, listed in a City Hall news release as a “business owner,” has filed to run for Place 4.

Also filing for that seat is Gary Klepperich, whose occupation was listed as executive director of the Padre Isles Property Owners Association. The release listed his home address as being on Paradise Point Drive, which is within the Port Aransas city limits.

Bruce Clark is the incumbent in Place 4. He is finishing his third consecutive term and cannot run again due to term limits.

Council Place 6

Seeking election to Place 6 are Carl “Corky” Moore, listed in the news release as a “preservation developer;” Leslie Smith, an HVAC business owner; Dale T. Christianson, identified in the release as a “business owner;” and Paul Ruff a waiter.

Place 6 is held by Joan Holt, who cannot run again due to term limits.

Council terms are two years long. They are unpaid positions.

Sch ool board

Three school board positions are opening up: Place 4, held by Cherrie Stunz; Place 5, held by Daniel Johnson; and Place 6, held by Marc Hofhiens.

All three incumbents have filed to run for re-election. No challengers have filed to run against them.

School board members serve three-year terms, with no term limits. The positions are unpaid.

Water district

The terms of water district board members Josh Garcia and Walter Sohl are set to expire. Both have filed to run for re-election. No challengers have surfaced.

Board members serve at large. As a result, no one will be running for specific seats. All candidates will run against each other, with the top two vote getters winning the election.

Their terms are four years long, with no term limits. There is no pay for the position.

The water district supplies Port Aransas with tap water that comes from the Corpus Christi Water Department and the San Patricio Water District.

The district also is responsible for supplying sewer service in Port Aransas.

Statements

The South Jetty invites candidates to submit statements regarding their candidacies, reasons for running and qualifications for the office they seek.

Statements should be approximately 600 words long, typewritten and emailed to the South Jetty’s news editor, Dan Parker, at dan@portasouthjetty.com, with “Candidate Statement” on the subject line.

The statements will be accepted for publication at no charge through noon on Monday, Feb. 21.

Candidates may submit photos of themselves to be published with their statements, or they may make arrangements to have a South Jetty staff member shoot a photo.

Candidates’ Night

Depending on the status of COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant, the South Jetty plans to host Candidates’ Night, a voter education forum for candidates in contested races.

The event has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, at Council Chambers in City Hall.

Candidates must confirm their participation at the time they file or no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21.

They may confirm by calling the South Jetty at (361) 749-5131 or emailing Parker and writing “Candidates’ Night” on the subject line.

Candidates in contested races who do not confirm participation in Candidates’ Night will not be included in the forum.

If only two candidates are on the ballot for the same position and one of the two doesn’t confirm, only the candidate who confirmed will be included in the forum.

If two or more candidates on the ballot confirm participation and other candidates do not, only the candidates who confirmed will be included.

The South Jetty hopes to hold Candidates’ Night in a location where an audience will be allowed to attend, in person.

If COVID concerns warrant it, the newspaper could decide to live-stream the event without an audience in the room.

If it is determined that holding an in-person Candidates’ Night is unsafe due to the pandemic, candidates will be emailed questions and the responses will be published in the South Jetty prior to the start of early voting.

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