By Charlotte Aguilar
Bellaire’s municipal election season begins today (Monday, July 22) with the opening of filing for mayor and three City Council seats — and already it appears at least two races could be contested.
Former City Councilmember Roman Reed tells Essentials he is considering a run for mayor against incumbent Andrew Friedberg, who confirms he is seeking re-election. Perennial candidate Robert Riquelmy is also expected to file.
And Kevin Newman and Winfred “Win” Frazier said they’ll be at City Hall today to turn in their paperwork for Council Position 4, in which incumbent Pat McLaughlan is term-limited.
The other other council incumbents whose terms are up, Trisha Pollard in Position 2 and David Montague in Position 6, said they will seek re-election.
Friedberg, an attorney, has served two terms as mayor after six years on City Council and previous service on the Planning & Zoning Commission.
Reed was elected to council in 2011 and served through the 2017 election, when he was term-limited. He works in investments and financial management.
Newman is an entrepreneur and member of the board governing Bellaire seniors activities who is taking another run at a council seat, while Frazier, an attorney, has served as a Planning & Zoning commissioner and president of the Patrons for Bellaire Parks.
Pollard, an attorney, and Montague, a retired petroleum engineer, are first-term councilmembers, both elected in 2017.
All races are city-wide.
Those interested in running may receive a candidate’s briefing notebook and application during the filing period from the office of City Clerk Tracy Dutton on the first floor of City Hall, 7008 S. Rice Ave., weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Candidates must be 21 at the time they would take office next January, be a registered voter and U.S. citizen, and have lived in Bellaire for 12 months immediately prior to the filing deadline for the election.
Filing closes at 5 p.m. Aug. 19, with the election set for Nov. 5.
Bellaire city staff will conduct a candidate orientation — tentatively set for 6 p.m. Sept. 17 — that will include a tour of city facilities and a question-and-answer session.
All those declaring early, except Riquelmy, shared why they are running:
FRIEDBERG: “I’m running for a third term because I believe in Bellaire. Over the past four years we’ve had our share of challenges, and we’re working through them toward an even brighter future. We’ve taken the lead and are making steady progress in our regional flood control efforts, and great things are happening throughout the City. I’m excited and honored to be a part of it and look forward to continuing my service.”
REED: “…the continued encouragement and support that have been expressed to me over the last few months affirms that more likely than not there is a much desired need for a leadership change by the residents…We need a more aggressive infrastructure plan with a short term horizon…the long term piecemeal approach persists risking continued flooding.” Reed also emphasized “quality of life needs of safety, security and public works; supports an additional property tax reduction for seniors “who are the heart and soul of our city,” and says council must be more supportive in allowing city staff to use their expertise and “do their job.”
POLLARD: “Yes, I will be filing for re-election because even though we have accomplished a lot in the last 4 years, I believe the City of Bellaire is still in transition from the effects of Harvey and I want to continue at the forefront of our recovery efforts. I’m proud of my contributions both at the Council table, and as a member of the H-GAC Board of Directors representing Bellaire and the other small cities in our area on the regional issues of greatest importance to us.”
FRAZIER: “My wife (Dr. Johnnie Frazier) and I built our home in Bellaire in 1991. A few of the highlights of my service to the city of Bellaire includes;
– City of Bellaire’s Sunset Review Committee
– City of Bellaire Flood Mitigation Task Force
– City of Bellaire Planning & Zoning Commission
– Chairperson, City Of Bellaire Planning & Zoning Commission
– Board Member, Patrons For Bellaire Parks
– President, Patrons For Bellaire Parks
– Bellaire Historical Society
– Member, Bellaire Police Citizen Training Board
– Member, Bellaire Citizen Academy”
NEWMAN: “With a looming tax increase and continued over spending on useless projects, I will bring entrepreneurial skills to the council and finally provide the business perspective to the city putting a stop to the wasteful spending of years past, with an emphasis on fiscal responsibility, improved policing and an end to the futile flood relief that is used as an excuse to spend more money on needless projects.
As an actual survivor of Harvey, Tax day, and Memorial Day floods, I know what it is like to flood and deal with the aftermath. As past Vice Chair of the City of Bellaire L.I.F.E. Advisory board I have seen first hand how and where the city spends and won’t spend its money and how the City believes in the squeaky wheel gets the grease mentality of problem solving. I will put an end to being reactive and create a forward thinking, proactive approach to the issues and problems that surround Bellaire.”
MONTAGUE: “I like working for Bellaire as a council member and have been told by others that I am doing a good job and that I should run again.”