The cities of Pearland and Stafford are poised to make history on the national and local levels, if the African Americans running for mayor are successful. Quentin Wiltz is seeking to become the first Black leader of Pearland. AJ Honoré is hoping for the same in Stafford.
Both Pearland and Stafford are diverse cities with a mix of ethnicities – none comprising the majority – and people of color accounting for more than half of the population.
“Pearland is one of the most diverse cities or suburbs in the state of Texas and definitely one of the most diverse in the Houston area,” Wiltz said. “And when you have diversity, you also must have inclusion. When all these people come together of different backgrounds walks, faith, there has to be some sort of synergy that needs to be built. So we have to trust one another. We’re faced with an opportunity to perhaps select the first African American in our history. There’s some significant cultural challenges here in Pearland community in regards to race, religion that we have to choose to address head-on if we’re going to build a consensus to tackle the other important issues such as taxes, opportunity for our kids, mobility, police and public safety.”
Pearland is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation and, of course, in Texas. The population has more than tripled since 2000, when fewer than 40,000 people lived there. The city boasts desirable subdivisions and school districts just south of Houston between Friendswood to the east and Fresno to the west.
This isn’t Wiltz’s first attempt at securing the top position. In May 2017, Wiltz forced Mayor Reid into a runoff, trailing by less than 500 votes, but the incumbent, then 91, prevailed convincingly when voters returned to the polls the next month. Wiltz is running against real estate developer Kevin Cole.
In Stafford, four names are on the ballot for mayor. AJ Honoré, a former council member, if facing Mayor Pro Tempore Wen Guerra, then council member Cecil Willis and activist Jim Narvios.
Distinguished by having had no municipal property tax for the last 25 years, Stafford also has the only municipal school district in Texas – which means it is controlled by the city. The business-friendly community sits between Sugar Land, Missouri City and Houston.
Honoré, a bank executive and business consultant, also touts a five-year capital infrastructure plan, a youth and senior development program and a revenue enhancement initiative as well as a “community cloth and ethics board” among his priorities.
Occupation: Director for an oil and gas pipeline coatings firm
Education: Southern University (Mathematics degree); University of Houston (Executive MBA)
Prior experience: Former chairman, Pearland Parks and Recreation Board
Occupation: President/Managing Director, Engreen Power & Light; licensed Financial Planning Consultant
Education: Texas Southern University (Banking and Finance degree)
Prior experience: Formerly Mayor Pro-Tem, First Home Rule Charter Review Commission, Vice-President, JP Morgan Chase, where he managed and closed over $3 Billion in tax exempt Economic Development Revenue Bonds.