HUNTSVILLE — Five of the six contested Huntsville City Council candidates that’ll appear on the Nov. 2 ballot stopped by the Texas Prison Museum on Tuesday for a meet and greet hosted by the Republican Party of Walker County and the Walker County Republican Women organization.
The city election will feature a contested mayor’s position, as well as two open seats in the Ward 3 and Ward 4 city council spots.
Incumbent mayor Andy Brauninger, a retired maritime professional, is being challenged by current Ward 3 councilman Blake Irving, a government employee in Bryan.
Trevor Thorn, an assistant athletics director at Sam Houston State, will be challenged by property manager Deloris Massey in the Ward 3 race, which includes residents on the east side of town. The Ward 4 position, which represents residents in the southern part of the city, will be contested between local realtors Jon Strong and Yvette McMurray.
Daiquiri Beebe and Russell Humphrey will be running unopposed in Ward 1 and 2, respectively.
Early voting for the city council races will begin on Oct. 18 and take place at the Walker County Storm Shelter, located at 445 Hwy. 75 N. in Huntsville.
During Tuesday’s event, six of the candidates spoke briefly at the opening, with the remainder of the hour spent mingling with the crowd. Most of the candidates focused on the need for additional infrastructure improvements as a measure to control future growth and stronger economic development.
Irving talked about his time in municipal government, while Brauninger pointed to his eight years on the city council, with six as the mayor.
“Huntsville is experiencing a lot of growth and doing good things to welcome that growth, but we could do better,” Irving said. “Stronger economic development will bring more jobs to the area and things for our children to do. We also want to be sure that we have more affordable homes so we can attract more people to our great city.”
“Our main objective is to control the growth so we don’t lose our culture in Huntsville,” Brauninger replied. “Growing just for the sake of growth is not the way we want to go.”
The incumbent mayor noted that he wanted to run for re-election in an effort to finish planning and development on the city’s 2016 bond projects.
Early voting for the Nov. 2 election will take place on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 18-29. There will be two twelve-hour voting days for early voting on Oct. 19 and 26, which will receive ballots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.