Candidates Make Their Cases at Forum

By George Slaughter

Candidates for three Katy City Council seats shared their views in a Thursday evening online forum broadcast on Facebook.

Katy voters will be selecting a Ward A council member, a Ward B council member, and a council member-at-large. Katy Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Matthew Ferraro moderated the forum and asked candidates to discuss their qualifications and priorities going forward.

All three incumbents are seeking reelection. Ward A Council Member Janet Corte is seeking her second term. She faces two opponents. Dharminder Dargan, an engineer, and Diane Robichaux Walker, a life insurance broker. Both are first-time candidates.

Corte said she was proud of the city’s accomplishments during her two years in office but was running because “there is still a lot of things left to do.”

Dargan said when he and his family moved to Katy six years ago, he saw that the city was growing and that it had potential, and he wanted to make it even better.

“I’m running to serve the people of Katy,” Dargan said.

Walker said she was a Katy native and had years of military and federal law enforcement experience.

“I really want to give back to the community, and that’s why I’m running,” Walker said, adding that if elected she wants to focus on budget issues, flood mitigation, public safety issues, and parks.

Ward B Council Member Durran Dowdle is seeking his fourth and final term under term limits. He has drawn three challengers: Sam Pearson, Steve Pierson, and Rory Robertson.

Pearson serves on the city’s planning and zoning commission and is a retired peace officer and minister. He unsuccessfully sought the seat in 2018. Pierson served as council member-at-large from 2012-2018 and as a Ward B council member from 2001-2007. Robertson is a registered investment advisor and is a first-time candidate.

All four candidates favored the city’s practice of bringing in large companies, such as Amazon and American Furniture Warehouse, the sales taxes from which have helped the city lower residential property tax rates. Dowdle said the city will continue the practice.

“The strategy has brought us to where we are today,” Dowdle said.

Pearson said while the development needs to keep going, the city needs to “assure the citizens that development is not going to have an adverse effect on their lives.”

Pierson said “likes what the city is doing right now” about the budget. He said the proposed property tax rate, of $0.447168 per $100 valuation, is a decrease from last year’s budget.

“We will give back what we can give back to you (taxpayers),” Pierson said.

Robertson said he favored “smart growth” for Katy.

“I do not support growth that jeopardizes our quality of life, plain and simple,” Robertson said.

Council Member-at-Large Chris Harris is seeking his second term drew no opponents. He said dealing with flooding issues has been an issue from the beginning.

“We have worked every day on drainage issues,” Harris said. “We have a lot going on and we are not done.”

The election is Nov. 3. The Katy Area Chamber of Commerce, Katy Times, Petro Skills, and Touchstone District Services sponsored the event.