7 candidates put names on May 10 ballot

Published on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 23:29 - Written by Kelly Gooch and Emily Guevara


City of Tyler filings got off to a fast start Wednesday, with District 4 Councilman Martin Heines and business owner Joel Rando vying for mayor and various other candidates throwing their names in for a city council position.

The Tyler ISD school board also has three positions up for election, one of which is to fill an unexpired term.

Candidates who have officially applied to put their name on the May 10 city of Tyler ballot are: Eleno Licea and Don Warren for District 4; incumbent Darryl Bowdre for District 2; Rando and Heines for mayor; and incumbent John Nix for District 6. Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass is unable to run for re-election because of term limits.

For the Tyler ISD school board, the Rev. Orenthia Mason filed to keep the District 2 seat.

Rando, 39, owns a locksmith company and describes himself as a Republican conservative.

He said he is proud to be a Tyler resident and loves the people here.

“I’m glad we found this town,” Rando said. “We found really great friendships here, and I just want to serve my community.”

Rando said he considers himself a Christian first, and his primary objective is “to stay in God’s will.”

And although he’s not a politician, he said he wants to be part of city government.

“I don’t just want to sit on the bench. I want to get in the game,” Rando said.

He said he also enjoys meeting people and believes he can represent Tyler well.

“I want to be a part of this team. Tyler’s a great town,” Rando said.

“I just want to continue what (Mayor) Bass has done,” he added.

Heines said in a news release he is excited about being a mayoral candidate.

“I believe my background and experience as a city council member, as a member of many different volunteer committees for the city, as well as my business background will help me serve effectively as your mayor,” Heines said in the news release.

He said by phone Wednesday that it is important that the community “continue our conservative, professional, businesslike approach to city government.”

“One of the most important issues to citizens throughout the city has been street repair, and we have developed the Pavement Enhancement Plan, which will annually overlay 30 lane miles of city streets for the next six years. In addition, as we continue to grow as a community, it is important to use our pay as you go funds to enhance traffic flow in growth areas,” Heines said in a news release. “We are moving forward with plans in 2014 to extend West Cumberland Road from Broadway to Old Jacksonville Road –all to be paid in cash. I look forward to the opportunity to represent citizens throughout our entire community and to continue working on projects that will enhance our city as we look to the future.”

Heines, 51, is a small-business owner and property manager-investor.

He has worked in various city volunteer positions in addition to his service on the council, including being chairman of the University of Texas at Tyler’s Small Business Institute and as a member of the Mayor’s Tyler Leadership Roundtable. Heines also serves on the Midtown Area Development Committee.

Heines is a graduate of Leadership Tyler Class 15, led the Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee in 2001 and 2002 and was a member of the chamber’s Vision 2000 and Vision 2010 Committees. In 2007, he and his wife, Michelle Tyler Heines, renovated the building at 116 W. Erwin St. to create Balance Studio. It was awarded the Texas Downtown Association’s statewide award for adaptive re-use.

Licea, 36, is owner of Licea Insurance Group and “has spent his professional life working and volunteering in Tyler,” according to his biography.

The former Tyler ISD board member said he left the school board in May and had many residents ask if he would be their representative.

Licea said he believes his years of experience would help him represent everyone in District 4.

“I hope that my 15 years of proven leadership experience with many different organizations will make me the best choice for Tyler City Council District 4. We have a broad base of support from all sections of the Tyler community and I will bring a much needed voice to our Tyler City Council. I will proudly represent the entire district if elected,” Licea wrote via text.

If elected, he said his goals are ensuring that city ordinances are friendly to small and family-owned businesses; pursuing more public/private sponsorships; streamlining the review process for people who live in historic homes and historic districts; and ensuring that existing ordinances are enforced.

According to a news release, Licea received the 2013 W.C. Windsor Award during the October Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, “being named Tyler’s outstanding young citizen,” the news release states.

Licea, according to the news release, also received the Hispanic Business Alliance award in October in the Micro Business category for businesses less than five years old “that have demonstrated potential for growth and success.”

He is a graduate of Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler.

Licea is a former member of the Bethesda Health Clinic board of directors, past president of the Hispanic Business Alliance and a former Tyler Planning and Zoning Commission board member, according to a news release. He received the Junior League of Tyler’s Knights of Nobility award.

Warren, 56, said he loves Tyler and wants to help ensure that it continues to be a great place to raise a family.

He said he also wants to maintain the city’s philosophy of “pay as you go.”

Additionally, he said he would like to meet as many district residents as possible.

“All the people I’ve met have just been great,” Warren said. “I’m just excited about the journey.”

Warren, owner of Lomoco, Inc., graduated from Texas Tech University, and has been an oil and gas professional for more than 30 years, according to a news release.

The news release states he has served as a volunteer on Tyler’s Planning and Zoning Commission and is chairman of the Bergfeld Park Improvement Project. He also serves as co-chairman of the Downtown Tyler Art Center Task Force and as a board member and volunteer at Gateway to Hope. Warren previously served as a board member of the Smith County Child Welfare Board, the Saint Marcus Compassion House and the Tyler Museum of Art, according to a news release.

Bowdre said he filed for re-election because “there are still some things left undone.”

Everyone with the city “has been great. We’ve worked very well together as a team to get things done, and I want to finish the job we started and stretch out and do more,” he said.

Bowdre said he wants to promote economic development.

He said he also is concerned with preserving and enhancing the older communities in the district and “keep(ing) them vibrant.”

“As it (Tyler) grows south or west, we still have to care about the inner city communities,” Bowdre added.

Additionally, he said he is interested in development downtown - “the heart of the city.” He said there are great things occurring there, but there are things that could help spur downtown development.

Bowdre, 56, has lived in Tyler more than three decades and is minister at SouthCentral Church of Christ, according to the city website.

The website states that he also has served on the Tyler ISD board, the Board of Directors of PATH (People Attempting To Help), the North Tyler Child Development Center, and was a founder of the Bi-Partisan African American Coalition and a founder of the Tyler Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce.

He is often known to be outspoken and vocal on community issues and has been instrumental in leading community efforts for effective change,” the website states. “He works with other community volunteers both in front and behind the scenes and has working relationships with both policy-makers and the Tyler community’s change agents.”

According to the city website, Bowdre also has been part of the communications field for more than three decades.

He also received various recognition, including awards from the Texas Publishers Association and two Texas School Bell Awards from the Texas State Teachers Association, and serves on various boards, according to the city website.

Nix said he is seeking re-election because he believes he’s been effective in “protecting neighborhoods and taking care of constituents in District 6.”

“I’m just excited about (possibly) representing Tyler as we continue to grow,” he said.

Nix, a 34-year-old builder, entered a private leadership school in Michigan as a teenager and served as a supervisor in the school’s building trades division, according to the city website. When he was 20 years old, Nix became a licensed and bonded general contractor in Michigan, the website states and spent time doing humanitarian aid work in the U.S. and worldwide.

Then in 2001, he and his father moved Nix Construction, Inc. to Tyler, according to the city website.

“John believes that his business experience in the service industry has given him the ability to help people from all sectors of the community communicate, understand each other and cooperate,” the website states. “He recognizes that the struggles of establishing and maintaining a business are priceless experiences.”

Nix also has been involved in various community service and leadership roles, according to the city website.

Wednesday marked the first day that candidates could apply to get their name on the city of Tyler ballot, City Clerk Cassandra Brager said. The last day to apply is Feb. 28.

District 2, 4 and 6 city council positions are up for grabs, as is the mayor position. District 2 represents west Tyler, District 4 represents northeast Tyler and District 6 represents south Tyler, according to the city’s website. The mayor is elected at large.

Ms. Brager said all are two-year terms, with a limit of three consecutive terms.

She said candidates must live within the city of Tyler, be a registered Tyler voter and not owe any delinquent city taxes.

Candidates must be a resident of the district they are vying to represent “for at least six months prior to the election” and “continue to reside in that district while representing it,” according to the city website.

Additionally, Ms. Brager said, candidates must comply with guidelines from the Office of the Secretary of State and the Texas Ethics Commission.

As far as the order that names appear on the ballot, a drawing will take place after the application deadline, Ms. Brager said.

She said once the election is called at the end of February, polling locations will be determined.

If only one candidate applies for a specific city council position, that position can be taken off the ballot, Ms. Brager said.

Those interested in applying to have their name on the ballot may do so at city hall, 212 N. Bonner Avenue, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Application forms are available at www.cityoftyler.org .