Well before either filed for this year’s election for Place 4 on the Jersey Village City Council, I have spoken with both candidates in this race, Simon Hughes and James Singleton, numerous times. Each of us are frequent participants in Jersey Village’s “Dads, Driveways and Draughts“, our local men’s craft beer tasting group that meets on a monthly basis. Over the last several years, Simon and James have often engaged me in discussions of local politics. So it came as no surprise when each decided to run for local office as well. What I never expected, however, was for the two of them to run against each other in an open race.

After each filed, and I became aware that Sheri Sheppard would not run for re-election, I spoke to both at length about my own experiences running for election last year, the various challenges the Jersey Village City Council will continue to face over the next several years, and potential solutions to those challenges. While I am convinced that both of these men possess a unique set of skills, experiences and knowledge which would greatly contribute to council’s deliberations concerning the challenges we face, one candidate clearly stood out with a well thought out and clearly articulated vision for our city that embraces the Jersey Village Comprehensive Plan as a roadmap for development and would seek to carry out that plan in the same spirit of servant leadership that I have tried to embody in my own service on city council.

This is why I am proud to announce that I am endorsing James Singleton for Place 4 on the Jersey Village City Council.

A History of Service to His Community

I have always been very impressed with the sense of service and duty that James has exhibited, and when you read his story you’ll come to understand why. Being raised in a family that emphasized the importance of public service, I’m sure it was no surprise to his family that he chose to pursue a career as a first responder. Today he serves the Harris County Fire Marshal’s office as an arson investigator, but over the years James has also served at different times as a volunteer with the Jersey Village Fire Department, and an EMS dispatcher.

James is no stranger to local politics in Jersey Village. He was appointed by city council in April 2014 to serve on the Comprehensive Planning Advisory Committee that worked for 14 months to create our current Jersey Village Comprehensive Plan. As a member of that committee, James developed a thorough knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that exist to improve our community in terms of facilities, infrastructure and appearance.

Currently, James serves as the chairman of the board of the Jersey Village Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ). While the TIRZ has only been in existence for less than a year, as council liaison to the TIRZ I have seen first-hand James’ steady hand in guiding the work of the board.

James believes that our city can tackle the challenges we will face in the near future, which include flood mitigation, public safety, facility replacement, economic development and continued transparency, all while retaining the solid fiscal conservatism that has been the hallmark of our city government for years. After hearing some of his thoughts and ideas on these issues, there is no doubt in my mind that he would represent the citizens of Jersey Village very well.

The Role of City Council

I find it’s worth taking the time during elections to revisit the question of the role of city council in our system of local government. Even if you have read my article on the council-manager form of government before, I think it’s helpful to re-read it before heading to the polls in a few weeks. In short, our city council acts in much the same manner as the board of directors in a corporation.

Under our city charter, election of officials is your primary means of having a direct say in how your city government operates. As a representative government, our city council is elected to make quite a few decisions on behalf of our citizens, from small decisions to some major decisions. Because it’s impossible to know precisely what issues may come up in the next two years, it’s important that you choose someone who you believe exhibits good judgment, shares your values, and shares your vision for what this city can and should be in the coming years.

For me, James Singleton best fits those criteria based on what I know about his history of service and his clearly articulated vision for Jersey Village.

Take Advantage of Early Voting

Polls open in just a few weeks with the start of early voting. I encourage you to make plans now to cast your vote during early voting. Over the last five years, more and more voters in Jersey Village have chosen to go to the polls during early voting, and it’s easy to see why. It is rare to have to wait in line during early voting. It usually takes no more than 3-5 minutes to vote during early voting. Most importantly, casting an early ballot ensures that you will not find yourself scrambling to get to the Civic Center on a busy Saturday on election day. Last year 70% of voters took advantage of early voting opportunities.

Early voting will take place at the Jersey Village Municipal Government Center on the following dates and times:

Monday, April 23, 2018 from 8:00am to 5:00pm
Tuesday, April 24, 2018 from 8:00am to 5:00pm
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 from 8:00am to 5:00pm
Thursday, April 26, 2018 from 8:00am to 5:00pm
Friday, April 27, 2018 from 8:00am to 5:00pm
Saturday, April 28, 2018 from 8:00am to 1:00pm
No Sunday Voting
Monday, April 30, 2018 from 7:00am to 7:00pm
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 from 7:00am to 7:00pm

Take care to note the abbreviated voting hours on Saturday and the extended hours for the last two days of early voting.

In the meantime, to learn more about James Singleton, I encourage you to visit his website and his Facebook page. If you have questions regarding his experience or his position on any of the issues, I encourage you to contact him. Knowing James, he will be more than willing to meet you in person and answer any questions you may have.

While I certainly can’t guarantee that you will agree with every aspect of every single position he holds, I assure you of this: you will not leave a meeting with James unsure of where he stands or where he sees this city in 10 or 20 years. But based on my discussions with fellow citizens over the last several years, the odds are that voters will find James Singleton shares your aspirations for our community, your values, and our shared spirit of service to one another.