Two political newcomers want to fill a one-year term on the Friendswood City Council.
Both Brent Erenwert and Robert J. Griffon decided to run for office after Councilman Mike Foreman announced he was running for mayor.
Whether Foreman wins or loses, he has to vacate his Position 4 seat May 5, the day of the general election, and either Erenwert or Griffon will replace him for the remaining year of the term.
Neither man has a political background, but both follow Friendswood issues, they said.
APPEAL TO YOUTH
Brent Erenwert, 37, is chief of innovation at Houston-based Brothers Produce. He had been president of the food distribution company, but he moved into the new position in 2017 to focus on the future of the company.
“People can get so caught up in the moment that they are not looking ahead,” Erenwert said. “We all get stuck on today. In business, government or religious organizations, we all have to think about tomorrow.”
Running for council will help Erenwert bring a younger perspective to the council, he said. More young families are moving to the city, but the average voter is older than 60, he said.
Erenwert wants to be the bridge between generations and bring young people to the polls, he said.
“Friendswood is a city at the crossroads,” Erenwert said. “We keep building, building, building, and we are going to get away from being a quiet community.”
Too many council votes are lopsided, with most council members agreeing and not debating issues, and Erenwert would add more discussion to more issues, he said.
“The council needs more of an unequal balance,” Erenwert said.
GET THE FACTS
Robert J. Griffon, 57, worked in the oil and gas industry for 25 years, then began managing private investments, he said. Griffon drilled wells in the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota, he said.
“I’ve done planning, looking at budgets, projects costs and making sure I had funds in the bank,” Griffon said.
Drainage issues remain a top concern six months after Hurricane Harvey caused a devastating flood in the area, Griffon said. Again, agreeing with most council members and candidates, he would like to see a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan for the Clear Creek Watershed get funded and get constructed, he said.
Griffon, who has lived in Friendswood since he was 10 years old, agrees with most candidates for council that the city has to better fund the emergency medical service that doesn’t charge for ambulance rides. Most of the council and the candidates agree the city should bill insurance companies for the service.
Development is another concern, Griffon said. The city is fast approaching a population of 50,000 and will need infrastructure, planning and a way to pay for it.
“I am opposed to raising property taxes,” Griffon said. “We’re going to have to rely on something else. We’ve got to look at all the facts and look at all the information.”