PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Candidates in the Port Arthur mayoral runoff race are sending out last-minute messages to voters ahead of Saturday’s election.
Current Mayor Thurman Bartie and challenger Floyd Batiste are battling for the seat as Port Arthur mayor. Tuesday, June 7, 2022 is the last day of early voting ahead of Saturday's election.
Both candidates woke up early Monday morning and spent the day outside the Port Arthur public library on 9th Avenue campaigning, rallying voters, listening to concerns and asking for support. Bartie and Thurman said they are feeling confident heading into the runoff election.
If he keeps his seat, Mayor Bartie said he will “keep the progress going." He plans to walk through neighborhoods campaigning for the rest of the week.
"Get out and support the voting process," Mayor Bartie said. "And you support the voting process by being a participant and making your choice known through your vote. It's like the fourth quarter man. I'm out here doing everything I possibly can to turn the voters out."
Mayor Bartie said he has been focused on certain areas including infrastructure and emergency management.
“I want to continue the progress with dealing with infrastructure,” Mayor Bartie said. “Continue the progress even dealing with, because we in it right now, with emergency management.”
Other issues Mayor Bartie said he is focusing on are helping the city's homeless find permanent housing and also job opportunities.
"Hard times have hit them and we want to be a community that's there to assist those individuals,” Bartie said.
Batiste believes it is time for a change.
"We have about $52 billion of expansion that's gonna happen within the next five years, and if we don't have good leadership, holding people accountable, experience, people who can negotiate deals for the people, I think we're going to miss out again," Batiste said.
The candidate said he spends a couple hours each night calling citizens to garner support to become Port Arthur's next mayor.
“In the afternoon, when I leave here at 5 o'clock, well it was 5 o'clock last week, you know, I go home and I get on the phone and I call 60, 70, 80 people,” Batiste said
Batiste believes his extensive background in workforce and economic development would make him a great choice for mayor.
"I spent 24 years with work force development and 17 years with the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation," Batiste said.
Batiste feels there is a slew of issues facing the city, but he is committed to tackling these issues with the help of the community.
"I don't know if we gonna solve them all, but we [are going to] work together to solve each and every one of them to the best of our ability,” Batiste said “I want to partner with industry. I want to partner with business. I truly believe that business and industry, when you have good business and good industry you have great community.”
As of Monday, 1,500 voters have gone to the polls to cast ballots and have their voices heard. Bartie and Batiste said they are expecting close to three thousand by the end of the day Saturday