3 mayoral candidates file for La Porte election
Three candidates for La Porte's special mayoral election Aug. 28 signed up during the two-week filing period that ended Monday.
Councilman Louis Rigby, Dave Turnquist and Jason B. Wheeless are vying to fill the unexpired term of Barry Beasley, who resigned May 26 due to changes in his work schedule.
In addition to mayor, City Council has eight members, six from single-member districts and two at-large representatives.
To run for mayor, Rigby had to resign his District 5 council seat, effective Aug. 28, whether he wins or loses the mayoral election.
That means the city must conduct a special election to fill his unexpired term. The District 5 election is also scheduled for Aug. 28. The last day to file for that race is July 28.
As of late last week, Ted Powell was the only candidate in the special District 5 election. Powell, 54, a senior staff engineer, ran for mayor in May 2009, losing to Beasley in a four-way race.
Rigby, 61, is a former La Porte city employee, including eight years as administrative services director.
He has held the District 5 council seat since 2004, being unopposed for re-election in 2007 and defeating Abe Rosa this May.
Rigby, who has a master's degree in public administration, said he had thought about running for mayor before but didn't see an opening during the tenure of former mayors Norman Malone, Alton Porter and Beasley.
We had thought Barry would be here a while," he said of Beasley. When he resigned it presented the opportunity."
A major issue for La Porte is drainage, which the city is addressing, Rigby said.
People who had homes flooded in the past always have a concern," he said. We're working as quickly as we can to alleviate all those problems....We'll get there eventually."
Turnquist, 48, is a La Porte High School government teacher and Realtor. He entered the mayoral election on the filing period's last day.
I saw that not many people seemed to be interested," said Turnquist, who twice ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2001 for At-Large Position A and in 2004 as a District 4 candidate.
As a member of the city's Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone board and La Porte Redevelopment Authority, Turnquist said he's familiar with city government.
He said he also requires his students to attend a council meeting as part of their course work.
I'm very involved in what's going on in this town," Turnquist said. I want to make sure this remains a good place to live."
Wheeless, 34, is a self-employed salesman in specialty services for the petrochemical and refinery industries.
A La Porte native, Wheeless is making his first run for elective office.
I had thought about running for other positions in the past," he said. This special election came up, so I went ahead and put my name in."
Wheeless said the city has ongoing issues that he would like to see resolved, in keeping with some of Beasley's goals.
We've had some drainage issues," said Wheeless, who also lives in District 4. I want to see those plans carried out and completed."
In addition, Wheeless said he's concerned about public safety, including traffic problems related to 18-wheelers.
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