Who will replace Lyda Ann Thomas in Galveston?

May 7, 2010 7:03:27 AM PDT
A big job is up for grabs. After six years of serving as the mayor of Galveston, Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas has reached her term limit. Five candidates are on the ballot for the election, which is scheduled for Saturday. There is a daunting challenge for the next mayor of Galveston, including how to spend nearly a billion dollars in Hurricane Ike recovery funds, how to raise a sinking tax base, as well as bring back the middle class, missing in action since Hurricane Ike.

Danny Weber is the only mayoral candidate already serving on council. He is also a retired Galveston fire chief who sees the budget and an ailing infrastructure as two fires to put out immediately on the island.

"I believe Galveston has developed a persona as being non-business friendly," Weber said.

Weber points to encouraging more industrial-based business to locate on the island.

"I just want to make the runoff," Betty Massey said.

Massey is a well-known community volunteer who chaired the long-term recovery committee following Hurricane Ike. Massey believes rebuilding Galveston's population is a priority.

"To attract the 20,000 people who cross that causeway every day, going home and spending their tax dollar elsewhere," Massey said.

Massey says affordable housing is part of the answer.

"This hurricane has changed my way of thinking," she said.

Joe Jaworski last served on council four years ago. He also says the biggest challenge is to rebuild.

"It gives us the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to exceed and excel everyone's expectations," Jaworski said. "It's no longer acceptable for Galveston to be the dirty sister of the region."

Perhaps the least vocal candidate has been Bill Quiroga. His campaign signs are not as visible as others. He complains of cronyism at City Hall.

"Less regulations. There's too many regulations because we have special interest groups, so we need to stop putting these regulations on businesses," Quiroga said.

Quiroga's brother served as mayor several years ago.

Greg Roof is the fifth candidate in the race.

Early voting is ongoing at the courthouse.

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