Deadline to run for council is Monday

Aug. 21—Three people have announced their intention to run for the Odessa City Council so far and the deadline to turn in applications is 5 p.m. Monday.

Chris Hanie and Shaye Lane will be running for the District 5 seat being vacated by Mari Willis and Greg Connell has put his hat in the ring for outgoing District 4 Councilmember Tom Sprawls. As of 5 p.m. Friday, no one had announced their intention of seeking District 3 Councilmember Detra White's position.

All three incumbents recently announced they were not running again.

Lane, 50, is an associate pastor at River of Hope and an office assistant for Stark Surveying. The married mother of two and grandmother of three was born and raised in Odessa.

She's a relative newcomer to the world of politics.

"I've only recently gotten involved in the last few years because of the shape of our country. I felt like if we want change in Washington, DC, we have to start locally first," Lane said.

She's gotten to know several past candidates for office and been attending council meetings, she said.

If elected, Lane said she wants to bridge the gap she believes exists between the citizens of Odessa and government officials.

"To me, it doesn't matter what party you are. Our hearts matter, the relationship between the people, that's what matters. The people of Odessa, we want change to see change. From my experience, just going out and knocking on doors people want to be relational and that's been lost. People want you to be real and they want you to do what you say you're gonna do."

She'd like to see more activities on the west side. Although improvements are being made at Floyd Gwin Park, she believes the west side has been forgotten to a certain extent.

She's also interested in public safety.

"I have an elderly mother. I'm 50 years old and obviously I'm a woman. I have daughters. I have granddaughters and we don't feel safe in this town and I would like to see some real change happen there," Lane said. "I want to advocate for our police department. I want to advocate for our firemen and bring awareness to both of those entities."

The other District 5 candidate, Chris Hanie, is a married father of three girls and has three grandchildren.

Hanie, who has lived in District 5 for 20 years, is a salesman for Emory Industrial Services.

The greeter and prayer partner at Odessa Christian Faith Center said he wants to bring God back to our government and would like Odessa to be a sanctuary city from abortions.

"I will voice my concerns and as a Christian conservative if it goes against God I'm not supporting it," Hanie said via email.

Roads and water are among his top priorities along with getting the city's spending under control, he said.

"I feel that as a grandparent, we are fallen short on how our tax dollars are being spent on bridges crossing roads. How about put up red lights that doesn't run in the millions," Hanie wrote. "We don't need a 75 mile an hour bypass which, by the way, it's $10 million in the negative on this same project."

Hanie said the west side of Odessa is being ignored, specifically West County Road, Second Street and neighborhood roads.

"It takes more to fix roads than throwing rocks on top of what's there. They just passed a $36 million pave of Faudree Road. They should have thrown rocks on it. The road isn't that bad," Hanie wrote.

Earlier this month, the Odessa City Council voted 4-2 to spend $36 million to widen Faudree Road from a two-lane road to an urban five-lane road from State Highway 191 to Yukon Road.

Hanie also alluded to the recent waterline break on 42nd Street that left residents without drinkable water for nearly a week.

"Water is the next problem and no idea what to do about it is not the answer when you don't have the parts to fix a problem on the shelf (and) we have to wait on parts and cost $100,000 in lost revenue for this city. Which there is $95 million dollars to fix the water sitting in a bank instead of doing what this bond was to do," Hanie wrote.

In August 2021 the city council decided to pay $95 million to rehabilitate the city's water treatment plant using certificates of obligation.

Connell, 67, moved to Odessa almost five years ago from Washington state.

The retiree has spent time in a variety of professions. He spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. and three in the reserves. He ran a work furlough program for the California Department of Corrections for four years, he worked for Henderson Enterprises in California and spent years in banking.

Most recently Connell, the father of one adult son, volunteered at Downing Elementary.

Connell said he believes the United States has "serious, serious" problems and is being run by an administration that came to power by illegitimate means. When he received a postcard in the mail from the GOP asking him if he is patriotic and if he loves his country, he was intrigued and sent an email.

Soon, he received a call and sat down for a chat with Tisha Crowe, Ector County Republican Party chairman and others within the the party.

"They were seeing openings, as broad as maybe the school board and things like that, but they were looking to see where they could steer conservative candidates in those positions," Connell said. "I think they were probably interviewing several people and I sent them an email back and said thank you for the interview and I really want you to pick the best person and it just boiled out, finished out that they had selected me for the fourth district for city council."

Connell said he's discovered Odessans are concerned about crime and infrastructure and hopes to help address those issues.

He's been attending council meetings lately to familiarize himself.

"There just appears to be a councilman and maybe two council women leaning a little bit too moderate Republican, not looking at budgeting aspects of pretty large things coming down the pipeline," Connell said. "In other words, not conservative...I just think (the council) needs to be more conservative in the budgeting and the expenditures of large projects that are helping, let's say, maybe, the good 'ole boy projects, instead of what really the people may need."

His Christian faith would play a big role if he's elected, Connell said.

"I try to use those teachings to guide me and how I interact," Connell said. "It's to be fair and open and kind and gentle and a protector of those I see that need that."