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Port Arthur's First African-American Mayor

Published: Jul. 25, 2007 at 5:20 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2007 at 8:50 PM CDT
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July 25, 2007

Reported by:  Britney Glaser

History is in the making in Port Arthur, Texas, thanks to one woman's determination to improve her city.

Delores "Bobbie" Prince is a native of the lake area, but for the past fifty years, Port Arthur has been her home.  As Prince saw the city she loved fall prey to gang violence and then to extreme damage from Hurricane Rita, she knew that she had to positively change her community.

The city of Port Arthur, Texas is home to about 60,000 people, including Prince, who is setting a new standard for African-Americans in politics.  Prince says, "We're like a melting pot here in Port Arthur."  Prince's cousin, Amanda Fontenot-Johnson of Lake Charles, says, "She's a reflection of the community she represents."

After serving one and a half terms on Port Author's City Council, Prince decided to throw her hat in the ring for mayor, a title that an African-American has never held.  "I did a lot of praying and one day it just became clear that I should run, and I did," says Prince.

Prince led the primary election for mayor and then clinched the office June 30th in the run-off.  Now, Prince is not only standing out as the first African-American mayor of the city, but she is also the only female representing her city. Prince says, "I can handle my end, so it's okay."

Supporters of Prince say she has a unique opportunity to encourage minorities to aim higher for their goals.  Port Arthur City Secretary Evangeline Green, says, "This will tell them that this is something that I too can do."

You can do whatever you set your mind to, as long as you do it prayerfully and your intentions are good - you can do it.

Prince's first goal while in office is to reduce the crime rate.  Currently, there are 38 named gangs in Port Arthur, and Prince says she wants to bring this activity to an end.  Also high up on the agenda, much like Southwest Louisiana, is making affordable housing available in a city still struggling to recover after Hurricane Rita.