GALVESTON — What did it take to get elected to the Galveston City Council this year?
The answer may depend on which winner you ask.
Islander’s votes on Saturday didn’t produce a completely clean slate for the council — two incumbents won and a third is going to a runoff. The four newcomers to the council also are hardly political unknowns.
They include a former county judge, the owner of a popular island-based business and the chairman of the Park Board of Trustees.
District 4 Councilman Norman Pappous was one of the incumbents who survived. On Sunday, Pappous said he believed he was able to convince voters that he would be able to work with new council members.
“I think the public realized that consensus and disagreement didn’t originate in the three of us that were usually on a 4-3 vote,” Pappous said, referring to himself, Terrilyn Tarlton and mayoral candidate Elizabeth Beeton. “I campaigned on character and integrity.”
Others said that their focus on daily concerns of local voters helped put them over the top.
“I think it was because of the work I have been doing with the neighborhoods,” said District 5 Councilwoman Tarlton, who won re-election.
“We have been getting some things done with the fire hydrants and other projects and also just trying to get some things done, making the neighborhoods a priority.
“I think this was the first time in a long time that there had been any concentration on the neighborhoods and I think people really want that.”
Craig Brown, who was elected to represent District 2, shared similar sentiments.
“From the very beginning, my platform has been focused on improving the neighborhoods,” Brown said.
“The city has several economic centers. The port is an economic center, UTMB is an economic center, tourism is an economic (center), but the neighborhoods also are an economic center that, in the past, didn’t get the attention that they deserved.”
That focus on neighborhoods might carry on into the early goals of the new council, Mayor-elect Jim Yarbrough said.
“We’re going to get some of these infrastructure projects complete,” Yarbrough said. “We’ll get some momentum and get this place cleaned up physically. That’s one of the things I want to do first.”
The city has scheduled a tentative date of May 19 for the canvassing of the election results and the installation of the new City Council.
A runoff election will be held on June 21 to decide the winner of the District 1 race between incumbent Cornelia Harris Banks and Tarris Woods.