Higley, Beneke running for city council

February 9, 2017
City council candidate Bob Higley is a 45-year resident of West University Place.

City council candidate Bob Higley is a 45-year resident of West University Place.

City council candidate Bruce Beneke is a 20-year resident of West University Place.

City council candidate Bruce Beneke is a 20-year resident of West University Place.

Bob Higley, a 45-year resident of West University Place, filed to run for West University Place City Council on Tuesday. And Bruce Beneke, a 20-year resident, has confirmed he will also be a candidate for the same elected body on the May 6 ballot.

With the February 17 filing deadline for the May 6, West University Place mayor and city council elections next Friday, Mayor Susan Sample has filed for reelection, and five citizens have filed for the four seats on the city council. Two others, Beneke and Michael Kaplan, have announced they will submit their petitions before the February 17 deadline.

The electoral intentions of Councilmember Brennan Reilly are unknown.
If Reilly files for reelection, there will likely be eight candidates vying for the four at-large seats at the city council dais, all serving two-year terms.

wu-candidates-election-logo-1Mayor Susan Sample has filed for reelection. Sample served as mayor pro-tem for two terms before becoming mayor, along with a term of service on the board of directors of the Friends of West University Parks Fund, Inc. Sample lives on Cason Street.

Councilmember Burt Ballanfant has filed for re-election and has a long record of elected civic participation, he served on the City Council from 1999-2001 and then as mayor from 2003-2007. Ballanfant lives on Amherst Street.

Bruce Beneke has said he will file for office before the February 17 deadline. Beneke is a well-respected 20-year resident of West University Place who lives on Tangley Street. He retired from Apache Corp., an oil and gas company and currently serves on the Building and Standards Commission.

Wayne Franklin has filed his petitions for a spot on the ballot. Franklin has been a resident of West U since 2009, The seven-year resident is married to journalist Rachel McNeill, an anchor-reporter with KPRC-2 TV and has sons, 5 and 8, who attend West U ES. The family lives on Dartmouth Street. A board certified cardiologist, he’s on the faculty at the Baylor College of Medicine, where he serves as a faculty senator.

Bob Higley filed his petitions for a spot on the ballot earlier this week. Higley, is a 45-year resident of West University Place, has served three terms on the Zoning and Planning Commission and was previously a member of the Charter Review Committee. His wife, Laura, who served as West U mayor from 1989-1991, has been justice on the First Court of Appeals since 2002. Higley is a financial advisor with Wells Fargo and resides on Belmont Street.

Michael Kaplan has said he will file for office before the February 17 deadline. Kaplan, a 16-year resident of West University Place, has been the Republican Precinct 183 chair for three years. He and his wife of 15 years live on Robinhood Street and have two children at West University Elementary School.

Councilmember Brennan Reilly has not responded to requests about his candidacy. So Reilly is a question mark. Reilly lives on Rice Blvd.

Councilmember Mardi Turner has filed for reelection and has been a mainstay of West University Place civic participation for more than two decades, with prior service on the Recycling and Solid Waste Board and the Park Board. Turner lives on Mercer Street.

Dick Yehle has filed to return to the city council. Yehle, a 27-year resident of West University Place, previously served three terms on City Council, 2005-2007, and 2011-2015. Yehle was a member of the Zoning and Planning Commission for three terms and served one term on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. He lives on Rutgers Street.

Election Facts

The City of West University Place holds its general elections to choose a mayor and four councilmembers in May of odd-numbered years. The next general election in West U will be held on Saturday, May 6 with polls open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. The filing deadline is Feb. 17.

A qualified resident who desires to become a candidate for city office must file with the city secretary a signed, sworn application for his or her name to appear on the ballot along with a petition signed by at least 25 qualified voters recommending the candidate.To qualify to be a candidate to serve as the mayor or a council member, a person must be: (1) at least 21 years of age, (2) be a resident of and have resided in the city for at least 12 months immediately preceding the election, and (3) and be qualified to vote in the city.

To qualify to be a candidate to serve as the mayor or a council member, a person must be: (1) at least 21 years of age, (2) be a resident of and have resided in the city for at least 12 months immediately preceding the election, and (3) and be qualified to vote in the city.

George Boehme

George Boehme is the publisher of InstantNewsWestU.com and West University Essentials magazine.

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