By CHRIS AGEE
Election day is Saturday in Mineral Wells with contested races for seats on the city council and Mineral Wells ISD board.
Out of four races for city council, just one is contested. Kevin Harrison, who currently serves as councilman for Ward 4, will attempt to unseat Place 1 at-large councilman Rick Bennett.
Two MWISD seats are contested out of three races. Incumbent Scott Aaron faces Paul Glenn Harrison for the Place 4 seat while newcomer Sunny Gail Lee takes on incumbent Mike Tincher for Place 5.
Early voting ended Tuesday; all remaining ballots must be cast Saturday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., at the Palo Pinto County Annex/Poston Building, located at 107 North Oak Ave. in Mineral Wells.
The Index asked candidates in the contested city race several questions in an effort to present their views to the community. They were asked to limit their responses to 300 words per question.
As of our deadline, Thursday, only Bennett had submitted his responses.
• 54 years young
• Pastor/juvenile probation officer
• Wife, Julie Bennett; kindergarten teacher; son, Jesse Bennett, 32; aerospace engineer; daughter, Shauna Humbert, 27; Chili’s management trainee; son, J.D. Bennett, 23; Heaven praising God; son, Jonathan Bennett, 19; Weatherford College/studying for ministry; son, Jarrod Bennett, 17; junior MWHS/ranked No. 12 in state UIL math competition.
• Q: What are the three biggest issues you see impacting Mineral Wells and how would you address them?
• A: The three top issues that face our community are: Jobs, Children, and Community Involvement.
We need jobs at every level: white collar, blue collar and no collar. Our citizens want to work, but we are limited in jobs. I want to mount an aggressive ad campaign called “Destination Mineral Wells,” where we extol the virtues of our fair city, and it’s possibilities.
Our children need to be given hope that Mineral Wells will be a place where they will want to make their homes and raise their children. We can do this by simply providing them with incentives now, like having a more centrally located activity center, encouraging more youth oriented businesses, supporting local youth organizations and groups with what ever means we have available.
Our level of community involvement has risen to great heights, but we need to make sure it continues to grow and gain strength so that it has stability and sustainability. We do this by continuing to invest in projects like the 365 project, Pray Mineral Wells, Fourth Responders and so on.
• Q: How would you leverage the community’s resources (including history, architecture, businesses, parks) to draw tourism to Mineral Wells?
• A: As mentioned earlier we need to mount an aggressive ad campaign called “Destination Mineral Wells,” where we extol the virtues of our fair city, and it’s possibilities. This would be a multi faceted campaign where we solicit businesses to relocate here, we invite families to shop here, play here, and most importantly live here. Mineral Wells in my opinion is the finest place on earth to live and enjoy life!!!!!!!
• Q: How has your experience and background uniquely prepared you for the duties of a council member?
• A: I have a heart for Mineral Wells and have proven that I will stand in the gap, even at great personal cost and public scrutiny.
I have learned a lot over the past two years, I’ve made some mistakes and owned up to them, but I have made more contributions such as the right to speak at our council meetings without a 72 hour notice, Our fire and police departments have written policies concerning paid leave for critical incidences, I was the only council member to file with the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission to deny liquor sales near Travis Elementary and several local churches, but it’s not about what I’ve done as much as it why I do what I do. Again, I have a heart for Mineral Wells and I believe that is what qualifies me more than anything. I can learn to do many things, but the passion I have isn’t learned or acquired it is bestowed by God.
• Q: What is the importance of business and industry to this community and what can a city council member do to keep an employer here or draw new ones to the area?
• A: Business and Industry is one of the three legs that hold our city up, next and most importantly is our citizenry and third is our infrastructure.
If we have a deficiency in any of theses areas the others will suffer. The most difficult of the three to maintain is business and Industry. There is always need for improvement and we certainly need to explore all avenues that would improve that leg. If we improve it the other two legs will follow suit.
As a city councilman I have no authority or powers to keep business here and truth be known the only true power lies in the will of the people. We saw it with the passage of liquor sales. The people spoke and it happened. If the people speak up and demand a more aggressive business recruiting and incentive program then that’s what we as a city council vote for. A council person is only effective as his constituents, if they truly have their constituents desires at heart. The greater majority of our population, around 80% do not speak up and do not get involved, that’s no surprise, because I have faced that in the church for 34 years. It’s just a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to be set in stone. We need more participation to make this work, so I see my part is to continue to talk with the people every chance I get. This will make my family very happy, because as it is, when we go out in public I spend more time talking to people than I do doing what we set out to do in the beginning. LOL
• Q: What would you most like to accomplish in Mineral Wells during your term, if elected?
• A: Represent the people who elected me without regard to my personal preferences, or consequences. I want to qualify the last part of the previous statement: I voted for placing the sales of liquor on the ballot last year because the majority of my constituents desired it. I personally did not want it, but it’s not about me! Yes, I am a citizen, but I only have one vote.
I would like to see a revival sweep Mineral Wells and take us to a higher place, where we can truly experience what God has provided for us.