NOLANVILLE — This small city has been plagued with image problems in the past year, thanks to the arrests of the mayor and a council member on unrelated sexual assault charges. But that hasn’t scared some residents from throwing their hats in the council ring and running for office in the Nov. 6 election.
Denise Hungerford and Christina Rosenthal are vying for the mayor’s seat, a two-year term previously filled by Charlie L. Stewart. His term as mayor was forfeited earlier this month due to missed meetings as he sits in Bell County Jail.
Duane G. Hampton, Robert Meeks and Randy Sammons filed to run in the special election for the year remaining on the Seat 4 council term, which was vacated by Miguel A. Aviles in September 2011.
In October 2011, Aviles was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault. Hampton applied to fill the vacated council seat and was appointed to serve on Seat 4 last November.
Council seats 1 and 2 each has one candidate running unopposed for the two-year terms — Dennis Biggs in Seat 1 and Cherese Karlsson in Seat 2.
Hungerford, 57, is no stranger to the Nolanville City Council. She was a council member from 2004 to 2009, in two elected terms and one appointed term, and has unsuccessfully run for office in the last three elections.
If elected mayor, Hungerford said she wants to help the city recover from the negative image it acquired in the past year.
“I got tired of sitting back and doing nothing for the last year and a half,” she said. “The (city’s) image seemed to have plummeted, and I said, ‘I can’t take it anymore, I have to do something to improve the city’s trust in the government.’”
Rosenthal, 40, has lived in Nolanville for more than four years. She served on the council in 2009 and wants to “proudly represent” her city again.
If elected mayor, she vows to work for better streets, more community involvement and expansion, more businesses brought into town and improvements to parks.
Hampton, 41, a retired Army veteran, has lived in Nolanville for four years. He owns a pressure washing business and serves as the police department chaplain.
If elected to Seat 4, he wants to see the council continue its quest to improve roads and parks in the city.
“We’re working on the roads and parks right now … I’d like for people to see some results,” he said.
Army officer Robert Meeks, 37, has not run for office before, but he’s been involved in the Nolanville community since moving his family there seven years ago. He attends all council and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings and takes every volunteer opportunity the city offers, he said.
If elected to Seat 4, he said he would like to see more involvement from the community.
“I’ve been wanting to get into (city office) … you can talk about it all day long but until you do something, it means nothing,” Meeks said.
“There’s a lot of military who live in the town and own property; I’d like to help them be more integrated in the local government and understand the laws,” he said.
Candidate Randy Sammons could not be reached for comment.
Early voting for the election begins Oct. 22 and ends Nov. 2.