The Harker Heights City Council will welcome Sam Halabi as its newest member next week.
Halabi, who defeated Stacey L. Wilson in a runoff election Saturday, will assume the Place 5 seat currently held by Jody Nicholas, who is stepping down from the council after two consecutive terms.
At 3 p.m. Tuesday, council representatives will canvass the votes from the June 5 runoff election between Halabi and Wilson.
After the announcement of the results of the canvassed votes, Halabi will take the oath of office.
In Saturday’s runoff, Halabi received 598 votes, or 54.7% of the votes cast to Wilson’s 495, or 45.3%, according to unofficial figures from the city.
Of the 1,094 ballots cast, 819 were registered during six days of early voting.
The runoff was needed because neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the May 1 election, which featured four candidates.
In talking with the Herald after the votes were counted Saturday, Halabi said, “This election has been hard work and my opponent worked hard, too. I want to thank each and everyone in the community and especially my friends. I want to thank my family for putting up with me over the past three months,” Halabi said.
“I especially want to thank the City of Harker Heights and their staff,” he said. “They were always there to talk to and provide information when I needed it. I appreciate the city manager, planning and zoning director, the fire and police chiefs, and the mayor.
“Being elected gives me a chance to give back to the community. Residents have supported my businesses and me for the past 25 years. I’ll be willing to listen to anyone who has suggestions about how to improve our city,” Halabi said.
In the May 1 election, Halabi received 502 votes, or 34%. Wilson got 474 votes or 32%.
Two other candidates, Jeffrey K. Harris and Vitalis Dubininkas finished out of the runoff. Harris received 360 votes or 26% and Dubininkas received 48 votes or 4%.
Halabi, 56, has been a resident of Harker Heights for 28 years and is self-employed, owning and operating several businesses.
Wilson, 58, is a government contractor and has been a Texas resident for the past 21 years.
Halabi will serve a three-year term ending in May of 2024.
Tuesday’s council meeting will include farewells to Nichols and appreciative thoughts shared about her service.
The Herald spoke with Halabi on Wednesday about his future as a council member and he said, “The city staff is doing a great job and I’d like to continue supporting them in their role of making needed improvements.
“I also want to learn how to get along with my fellow council members and do my part to work with them as a team member.”
Halabi said, “The only agenda I have is that the people elected me and I will never have one of my own unless it’s going to serve the entire community.”
Wilson, Halabi’s opponent in the June 5 runoff, said, “I learned that running a campaign is like running a business. Sam and I both worked hard and that was good for voters to see that level of energy and how it created a healthy sense of respect between the two of us. I’m very delighted for him.”
Tuesday’s workshop meeting will take place at Harker Heights City Hall, 305 Miller’s Crossing, in the Kitty Young Council Chambers.