By Charlotte Aguilar
It’s been 10 years since Bellaire has had a fiercely contested mayor’s race, but the city looks to be in for one this year, with three candidates — all attorneys — formally submitting their paperwork at City Hall and nearly two weeks left in the filing period.
In the running so far are:
- Gus Pappas, former two-term councilmember and mayor pro tem for eight years before leaving the council table due to term limits. He’s a 25-year resident of Bellaire.
- Aaron Perry, a nine-year resident, who was a prosecutor in Brazoria County before creating his own practice based in Bellaire, specializing in personal injury/medical malpractice law.
- Nathan Wesely, who has served on City Council in Position 4 since 2020 and practices labor and employment law. He has lived in Bellaire for 34 years.
While Bellaire has experienced some lively mayoral elections over the decades, the 2000s have proven relatively quiet, with the leadership gavel being passed in this century from hand-to-hand of individuals active in city government volunteer positions, then moving onto council, and finally into the top spot — Mary Ann Goode to Cindy Siegel to Phil Nauert to Andrew Friedberg.
Councilwatcher and Bellaire police critic Robert Riquelmy ran six times — in 2007, 2009, 2015, 2017 and 2019 — but he said he entered the fray each time when candidates were running unopposed, largely to reinforce his belief in choice in a democracy.
The last real contest with an all-out, head-to-head, door-to-door campaign was when Nauert faced re-election in 2013 against Bellaire’s youngest-ever councilmember, Corbett Daniel Parker, and won.
With hot-button issues enlivening Bellaire government meetings — everything from zoning protection for homes and the Comprehensive Plan, flooding, infrastructure to garbage bags and the city’s role in animal control — the election could provide fireworks until the Nov. 7 decision by voters.
So far, there is one candidate for each of the three open council positions. Position 6 incumbent Jim Hotze, a one-term councilmember, has neither filed nor responded to Essentials’ query about his intentions.
- Catherine Lewis, a retired geologist with a Ph.D. and a 32-year resident, is seeking re-election to Position 2.
- Elan Tavor, a six-year resident, has filed for Position 4, being vacated by Wesely in his run for mayor. Tavor is a home builder and Realtor who has served on the city’s Building & Standards Commission and Environmental Sustainability Board.
- Jacqueline “Jackie” Georgiou, an energy sales executive, is running for Position 6. She has lived in Bellaire for 50 years.
There’s still time for the field to grow. Filing for positions will end Aug. 21. The last day to register to vote in the election is Oct. 10, and early voting begins Oct. 23.