In the upcoming City of Humble election on May 4, Mayor Merle Aaron is being challenged for his position by Humble resident Arliss Bentley. Aaron has held the position for four years and served on city council for 10 years prior to that. Bentley has served on the city’s Beautification Committee for more than 10 years.
Why do you believe you are the best candidate for mayor? “I’ve been here since 2005 and I am very aware of the needs of the city, from finances and crime to roads. With finances, we have an issue with the way we raise our money because the state is changing that. We are also looking at what we can do to prevent flooding in the future because of the disastrous time we had with Hurricane Harvey. We need to look at every aspect of flooding that we can. Furthermore, I understand and know the politicians. I know where to go to get the answers and I work well with them. Humble has a great future and a great history. All of our citizens, no matter where they live and no matter what size house they live in, they all deserve exactly the same opportunity. I want everyone to have just as good a chance as the next person.”
What platform are you running on? That is, what is it that you hope to accomplish as mayor? “My platform is to continue on with all the things that we’ve set out to accomplish. We’ve seen our needs and challenges and we just hit them head on. We’ve come a long way and have a lot more work to do. I’m going to continue on with all the things that Humble needs that I think the city can provide for.”
Why did you decide to run again? We have a problem with the river that runs and I wanted to stay with that and there’s some difficulty in the future with that. We’ve made good inroads there and the flood bond passed but some of the money seems like it’s being diverted. I want to make sure it goes into flooded areas. Metro is always a concern with us. We (the city) pay into them and so I make it into all those meetings to make sure we get back what we put up. A Metro bond is coming up and we want to have our say in this. We will be going to Austin to talk to the state reps about tax caps and small cities. We want to make sure we get what we need; our taxes are a lot less than others around here.
What experience do you have that would help in your position as mayor? What qualifies me is that I have been with the city since 2005, 10 years as a council person and four as mayor. I needed to be on the council to see how it works. It is a learning process. I have a background in business as I owned a mechanical construction company and worked for Marriot in architect construction for many years.
How long have you lived in Humble? 54 years
What do you like about Humble? Is there anything that you dislike that you would want to change as mayor? I like the people, the citizens of Humble. There’s lots of community pride. The Humble city council, the hospital, school district and chamber all work together like a large family. The negative part is the traffic. We’re trying to get traffic to flow easier; that’s why we expanded Townsen to help move traffic from the east side to west. We want to expand 1960 and Rankin Road; we need to give people the opportunity to go around the town.
Any other thoughts or things you would like people to know about you as mayor? I have three kids, eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. They’re so much fun. I very much believe in God and he is the answer to all of our problems.
Why did you decide to run for mayor? In recent years, incumbents have run unopposed. I want to give voters a choice.
Why do you think you are the best candidate for mayor? I have lived in Humble most of my adult life and have a passion for the city. I will strive to keep the best interests of Humble residents and visitors in every decision I make as mayor.
What platform are you running on? That is, what is it that you hope to accomplish as mayor? I would like to get citizens more involved. They have a wealth of ideas and knowledge that is underutilized. Together we can bring a new perspective to further develop our city. I would also like to propose a growth plan where every new building site includes a percentage of green space.
What experience do you have that would help in your position as mayor? As an educator for over 40 years, accountability, organization, and communication were essential in my daily role. These skills helped me to have a strong work ethic and goal oriented mindset. I have also been a member of the Beautification Committee for over 10 years.
How long have you lived in Humble? 44 years
What is it that you most like about Humble? Is there anything that you dislike that you would want to change as mayor? I love the small town atmosphere which includes the annual Christmas parade, the performances at Charles Bender, and Humble history at the local museum.
Any other thoughts or things you would like people to know about you as mayor? I am earnest, energetic and enthusiastic about the future of Humble. I want our city to be a welcoming place to all.
May 4 is Election Day. Early voting runs from Monday, April 22 to Tuesday, May 2. The hours are from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily except for Sunday, April 30; voting on that day is from 1-6 p.m.