Huge competitive field for West U city council
A well-rounded crowd of West University Place residents have tossed their imaginary hats in the ring to run against the incumbent mayor and vie for the four seats on the city council. Two incumbents retired, making much headway for new political blood on the West University Place City Council.
Mayor (One wins)
Incumbent mayor Susan Sample previously served two terms on the city council, elected both times by her peers as the mayor-pro-tem. She was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of West University Parks Fund, Inc. Sample lives on Cason Street.
Sonny Brandtner has run unsuccessfully for the city council twice. He is a long-time financial supporter of the Friends of West University Parks Fund, Inc. Brandtner lives on Tennyson Street.
Greg Micek’s bid for West University Place mayor is his first stab at West U electoral politics. Micek lives on Buffalo Speedway.
City Council (Top four vote getters are elected)
Councilmember Burt Ballanfant 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 is a well-respected 20-year resident of West University Place. He retired from Apache Corp., an oil and gas company, and currently serves on the Building and Standards Commission. Beneke lives on Tangley Street
Kellye Burke is a newcomer to West University Place politics. Burke is a 10-year resident of West U and a stay-at-home mom. Her husband, Brad, works at Rice University and they have two sons. She is a founding member of Moms Demand Action, a national gun safety advocacy group founded in 2012 after 20 first graders were murdered in Newtown, CT. Burke lives on Case Street.
Wayne 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. A board certified cardiologist, he’s on the faculty at the Baylor College of Medicine, where he serves as a faculty senator. Franklin lives on Dartmouth Street.
Bob Higley is a 45-year resident of West University Place. He 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 lives on Belmont Street.
Michael Kaplan is 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 have two children at West University Elementary School. Kaplan lives on Robinhood Street.
Councilmember Mardi Turner 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 is a 27-year resident of West University Place. He 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. Yehle lives on Rutgers Street.