West Orange City Council Candidates for May 7th
by Ginger Broomes
(Note: The Brooks Report Live is providing this as informational only, and does not endorse any candidates)
Jay Odom: Graduated from West Orange High School in 1973. He and his wife had careers that took them elsewhere but in December 2018 moved back to West Orange.
Statement: My biggest desire is to give back to the community of West Orange where we were both raised. In retirement, I find myself with the available time it takes to be an Alderman on the West Orange City Council, so I have decided to run for that position. I look forward to the opportunity to serve our great community in that capacity.
Some people might think serving on city council means showing up for a monthly meeting. In reality though, it takes a lot more time and dedication than just that duty. During the past year I have served on several city ordinance committees and am currently working on a plan to renovate our two city parks, which includes upgrades to the playground equipment and little league baseball park. I was recently assigned the task of securing bids for replacing rusted fencing at our park on Burnett Street while at a Parks and Rec meeting. These activities and many more will continue when I’m elected.
In the past I served as the Deeds and Restrictions Chairman in the Pinehurst Homeowners Association in Baytown, TX. While serving as the Deeds and Restrictions Chairman I worked diligently to protect the value of our neighborhood and the rights of the individual homeowner.
While living in Brookeland, I served on the HOA Board of Directors for Rayburn County. I volunteered my time within that organization because I felt it very important that our HOA provides the best lifestyle for its residents, while also protecting the value of our homes in Rayburn Country.
It is my desire to work with the City Council, the Mayor, and the residents of West Orange to define specific goals that will ensure the safety and welfare of our neighborhoods, and also the families that reside in West Orange, TX. As an example, three years ago I started a Facebook page ‘West Orange Texas Chat’ to help residents of our community see and understand what is happening within our City. The City of West Orange leadership needs to be more transparent, and this community FB page is a good start. Further, if elected I will also push for live stream video of all City Council meetings. I will assist our City employees and elected leaders by interfacing with other local leaders and officials ensuring we all achieve our goal of making West Orange a better place to live, and to own property and businesses. Please ask me about my other ideas for West Orange.
Current alternate judge for primary and general elections, Republican Party
Volunteer Boat Driver for Shangri La in Orange
Volunteer for Annual Orange County Trash Off
Past Secretary West Orange Lions Club
Past member of West Orange Volunteer Fire Department
Associate Degree in Occupational Safety & Health, Lamar University
Emergency Response, Gulf/Chevron Chemical
Program Chairman, Orange Boat Club
Mission Trips with my church for the 24 years
Deeds and Restrictions Chairman, Pinehurst HOA, Baytown, TX
Board of Directors Rayburn Country HOA
Trustee Lake Rayburn United Methodist Church, Brookeland, TX
Volunteer for Annual Orange County Trash Off
It has long been my desire to serve the community of West Orange I have grown to love over the past 40 years. Now that my children are raised it seems the perfect time to run for office as one of three of your next City Aldermen.
For the past seven and a half years I have worked as Senior Regional Director of Community Relations for U.S. Representative Brian Babin and the 36th Congressional District of Texas. During this time I have had the unique opportunity to work with leaders at the local, state and federal levels from city hall to the county courthouse, state Capitol to the White House - what an honor and ride it has been. While working in this capacity I have worked with all federal and many state agencies and have worked closely with local leaders and school districts on everything from disaster recovery to hazard mitigation projects - I believe these opportunities are what gives me a unique perspective as to what work needs to be done to assist the City of West Orange and its residents in an effective manner.
I look around at the growth throughout Orange County and ask myself, “why not West Orange”? In addition to my experience with state and federal agencies, I believe my work with local, regional, and state economic development agencies as well as numerous Chambers of Commerce has put me in a great position to change “why not West Orange” to “wow, look at West Orange”! Our community’s time is now and with thoughtful and careful planning, West Orange can be a community we can all be proud of.
The three issues I most hear residents express concern over are drainage, lack of new business and growth in the community, and a lack of faith in leadership or being uninformed about what is happening at the City. My goal is to first and foremost always be transparent about what the council is working on and what my vote will or will not be as it relates to specific issues. Secondly, I plan to work with both the City and Orange County Drainage District to come up with equitable solutions to the flooding issues many residents face. Finally, I will use my experience working with elected officials, economic development, and chambers of commerce to advocate for new businesses and growth throughout West Orange.
The issues of most concern to West Orange residents didn’t happen overnight and realistically won’t change overnight, but let’s work together to make our community be the best it can be - a place we can all be proud to call home!
Some of my opponents have expressed concern over my having ‘time’ to represent the residents of West Orange on city council due to my working full time as well as my community involvement on several different boards. My response to that is simply this, I am not afraid of hard work and my willingness to sacrifice even more of my time as alderman speaks volumes about my commitment to West Orange and its residents.
In full disclosure you can go to my facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100078637124086 for a complete list of my community involvement.
Dr. Frances Droddy-Lopez
I am retired from Lamar University. A LU I was a professor on the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences; as well as director of the Early Childhood Development Center .
Why are you running for office: I am running for office because I want to work with city officials and citizens to improve the City of West Orange.
Experience in public office/community service: The citizens previously gave me the opportunity to serve on city council for 15 years. I served on council for 11 years and then moved out of the city for a short period of time thus resigning from council. When I returned to the city I was again elected to council for 4 years. I did not run for a 3rd term so I could care for my husband who was ill. He passed away in November of 2021 so once again I would like to serve the community.
Issues important to you/your voters: There are many issues involved in managing a city and their priority may change at any time. Appearance of the City of West Orange and citizen involvement is always a priority . Improving community appearance requires good communication, community pride, citizen participation ; as well as, code enforcement. Another area of interest is the recruitment of new businesses . City officials, including city council , must work with area agencies to recruit new businesses.
How have you addressed these issues, or how are you addressing these issues: No issue can be resolved by one person. All issues require city officials, city council and citizens to work together. All an individual can do is bring the issue to light and get everyone concerned to work towards solving the problem.
What will be your focus going forward: First I will have to listen and become familiar with the city goals and priorities then I will be able to identify my focus and plan of work.
Michael Shugart Jr.: Incumbent who has been on West Orange City Council since 2006. Lifetime West Orange resident. Current projects involving city improvement include street repairs, drainages and clean up in the community.