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Beaumont mayoral candidates face off in debate at Lamar University

Anchors DeJonique Garrison and Jordan Williams will moderate the in-person debate that will feature virtual questions from voters

BEAUMONT, Texas — Beaumont will soon get a new mayor, and 12News will moderate a live, one-hour debate 11 days before the election to give voters a chance to meet the candidates.

The Beaumont mayoral election features five candidates: Robin Mouton, W.L. Pate, LaShon Proctor, Biguita Hernandez-Smith and Roy West, Jr.

The 12News debate will be moderated by anchors DeJonique Garrison and Jordan Williams. It will be hosted at Lamar University on April 20th and will feature the five candidates who qualified for the May election as they answer questions in-person. However, due to COVID-19 protocols, voters will not be able to attend the debate.

WATCH | Replay the entire debate on YouTube

The 2021 Beaumont mayoral debate will feature questions about infrastructure, crime, the COVID-19 pandemic, new development, racial equality and the candidate's vision for the future of the city.

Becky Ames, who has led the city since 2007, announced in January she would not be seeking an historic eighth term in office. 

"The support for another campaign in 2021 has been extremely strong," Ames said at a January news conference. "However, I have made the bittersweet decision and am announcing today that I will not seek reelection to another term as your mayor in the upcoming election."  

She is the longest-serving mayor in Beaumont's history and has led the city's recovery from Harvey and Imelda.

RELATED: Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames announces she will not seek 8th term

Ames' decision not to run opened the field up to a packed field. Here's a little about each of the five candidates aiming for the position. 


Credit: 12News
Robin Mouton | Candidate for Mayor of Beaumont

The Beaumont City councilwoman announced her plans to run for mayor in February. 

Mouton, who currently represents Beaumont's Ward 4 in the city council, has served on the council for six years. The lifelong Beaumont resident also served two terms as the city's Mayor Pro Tem. 

“Together we can build a better Beaumont with proven leadership,” Mouton said at a campaign kick-off event in February. “I am the candidate to get this job done. I am the candidate to unify our citizens."


Credit: 12News
W.L. Pate | Candidate for Mayor of Beaumont

The Beaumont City councilman announced he was running in July 2020, becoming the second candidate to throw their hat into the ring. 

Pate, who is currently an at-large councilmember, has served on the council for 13 years. Pate also served two terms as Mayor Pro Tem. He is also an Army veteran who joined the Reserve as a private in 1967.

"It's time for a new beginning for all of Beaumont," Pate said in an election video announcing he was running. "I'm asking for your support in getting better streets, less flooding, less crime and less taxes. I have a vision for a better city."


Credit: 12News
LaShon Proctor | Candidate for Mayor of Beaumont

Businessman LaShon Proctor announced his intentions to run in early February.

Proctor has been at Proctor's Mortuary for the past 20 years where he serves as funeral director for his family's business. Proctor is a graduate of Westbrook High school and is a Navy veteran. 

"Just as I have had a plan for my business and family, I also have a plan for the people and the city of Beaumont," Proctor says in his campaign announcement. "We want citizens of all ages from every ward of the city to know that their concerns are important, and their ideas to increase business, safety, and growth in the city of Beaumont are important."


Credit: 12News
Biguita Hernandez-Smith | Candidate for Mayor of Beaumont

The Beaumont businesswoman announced her plans to run for Mayor in December. 

Hernandez-Smith is the CEO of Breathe Workforce Development, an organization she said is dedicated to workforce development in Southeast Texas. She has contributed to the community as a teacher, workforce development trainer and community leader and said it's now time for her to pour into this city on a grander scale.

“Without the vigor of the people, their city perishes. Our residents must be given hope, inspiration and incentives to reside in Beaumont and invest in our city. My platform is people driven, with all initiatives rooted in the betterment of the people,” Hernandez-Smith said. 


Credit: 12News
Roy West Jr | Candidate for Mayor of Beaumont

The prominent Beaumont businessman announced his plans to run for mayor all the way back in July 2020. 

 West is a mortgage lender and radio host. In his campaign announcement for mayor, he laid out an aggressive plan that includes addressing drainage issues, roadways as well as racial issues across the city. 

"I am running for the Mayor of Beaumont, because I am committed to being transparent while having open conversation on all issues that can and will improve and enhance the city," West said in his campaign announcement. "I strongly believe that new leadership and innovative ideas are needed."