Two candidates are vying in the May 5 Friendswood election to fill the seat Councilman Jim Hill is vacating this year.
Trish Hanks and Philip Ratisseau are running for Position 3 on the Friendswood City Council.
Hill, who was first elected in 2006, has served four terms on the council. He was also mayor pro tem from 2010 to 2013 and again from 2014 to 2017.
People started to ask Hanks to run for council even before she retired as superintendent of Friendswood Independent School District, she said.
The issues are clear to Hanks. For one thing, she wants to work with other officials on flood control and planning for future growth.
Friendswood has a population of about 40,000 and is on a trajectory to reach 50,000 residents. City leaders need to plan for that growth, Hanks said.
Attracting new business while keeping Friendswood’s quality of life will be important, she said. Hanks includes the schools and the city’s reputation for safety as part of its appeal to new businesses and new residents.
Hanks is an advisory board member of the Friends of Downtown Friendswood, a nonprofit group she describes as philanthropic, open and inclusive.
The nonprofit organization works to counter the ill effects of vacant lots and houses in downtown, she said.
Ratisseau, who retired from a career with DuPont, has lived in Friendswood for 28 years.
Flooding is the top issue the city needs to address, he said. Property values and potential buyouts after Hurricane Harvey also are topics of concern, he said.
But he has other issues.
“The city council doesn’t pay attention to citizens,” Ratisseau said. “They are more interested in specials interests.”
The special interest he refers to in particular is the Friends of Downtown Friendswood. He agrees with Hanks that a vibrant and successful downtown would be ideal, but he disagrees the nonprofit is open to other views or comments.
“It’s hard to know what’s going on behind the scenes,” Ratisseau said. “By the time it gets to city council meetings, it’s apparent decisions are already made.”
Ratisseau also wants the city to bill insurance companies for ambulance calls and rides, something the current members of the council agree needs to happen. Right now, the city doesn’t charge residents for emergency medical services.
“I believe in truth, transparency and accountability,” Ratisseau said. “I believe Friendswood should be governed with integrity and character.”