Following the announcement that West U Mayor Bob Fry will seek re-election, almost all of the other council members have announced they will be running again as well.
West U residents will elect a mayor and four city council members on May 11. The current city council has served one term and are all eligible to run for re-election.
Mayor Pro Tem Susan Sample told InstantNewsWestU.com that she is running again for city council.
Sample was elected in May 2011 to her first term in office. She was appointed mayor pro tem after receiving the most votes in the election.
Sample is a tax attorney for Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. and a Certified Public Accountant.
She serves on the SPARK Park Board of Directors, the Junior League of Houston and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo membership committee. Prior to being elected to city council, she served two terms on the Friends of West U Parks Board.
Sample has lived in West U with her husband, Michael Larsson, for the past seven years, but has lived in the Houston area for most of her life. Sample and her husband have 14 month old twins, Thomas and Caroline.
Councilman Ed Heathcott has also decided to run for re-election.
“Absolutely, I’ve decided I’m going to do it,” he said.
Heathcott said the city council doesn’t have any big issues before them, but if re-elected he would like to keep a balanced budget, keep an eye on spending and continue to get input from residents.
“We have a good community here,” he said.
Heathcott, a retired mechanical engineer, currently serves as a member of the Harris County Appraisal District Board of Directors and is an active volunteer at West U Baptist Church. Prior to being elected to city council, he served as an alternate on the West U Building and Standards Commission.
He also served as the mayor of Jersey Village for six years and served as a city council member for two years.
Heathcott grew up in West U until he was 11 or 12 years old. He and his wife, Renée, have lived in West U for five years.
Councilman Dick Yehle told the news organization that it is “probable” that he’ll run again, but he hasn’t made a final decision because he has some pending family issues to handle. He’s been acting as a caregiver for his wife, Mary, who had an injury this winter, and he has aging parents who live in Michigan.
Councilwoman Joan Johnson confirmed that she is running for re-election in the upcoming May election.
Johnson said she would like to see the drainage issue solved before the election. If she is re-elected she will continue to have a conservative financial approach and be “responsive to what our residents want.”
Johnson retired in 2009 from her role as president of The Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Houston.
She currently serves as secretary for the Harris County Mayors and Councils Association, is the city council liaison for the West U Seniors Board and is a member of the West U Rotary Club. She volunteers with the West U Good Neighbor Team and Caring Critters, a pet therapy program. She is also an extraordinary minister at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.
In addition to electing a new mayor and council, West U residents will also vote on increasing the number of successive terms from two to three.
If approved, the mayor and council could serve three, two-year terms, for a total of six years in office.
Sample, Heathcott and Johnson all said they support the proposal to increase the terms permitted for mayor and city council members. They all said that it takes some time to learn the base of knowledge needed to serve and another term would promote a long range view on decisions.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Heathcott said.
Mayor and city council candidate packets will be available on Wednesday, Jan. 23. The first day to file for the election is Wednesday, Jan. 30.
Candidates must be at least 21 years old; be a resident of and have resided in the city for at least 12 months immediately preceding the election, and be qualified to vote in the city.