By S. Barot
For The Star
The Sugar Land Mayoral Election on May 7 is projected to have one of the highest voter turnouts in the city’s history.
At present, four candidates have entered the race – two are current city council members and the other two are non-establishment candidates.
The non-establishment candidate of particular interest is Myatt Hancock, a supporter of political group Sugar Land Votes. He recently announced his candidacy to the city. His candidacy matters to voters who have shown support for the petition against Newland Communities proposed Tract 5 development.
“I saw a need for leadership and accountability that wasn’t there,” Hancock said. “The elected officials are dismissive of the input from the residents and seem to be beholden to the developers. The residents want quality growth, not unmonitored, uncontrolled growth.”
He also hopes to give the voters an alternative to what he believes to be insular, special interest politics.
The City’s Charter states that a candidate must be elected to office by majority vote. If no candidate for an office receives a majority vote, a run-off election will be held the following month, as required by state law.
With three major candidates and another candidate by the name of Sarwar M. Kahn in the race, there is a very good chance that Sugar Land could see a run off. It is natural for more citizens to be engaged if there are multiple candidates.
Interestingly enough, council members Harish Jajoo and Joe Zimmerman, do not seem fazed by the addition of new candidates. Both made it clear to The Star that their campaigns will not change – and they will continue to connect with voters.
“The best thing about an election is that it presents citizens with a choice,” Jajoo said. “A choice about the direction they want our city to take.
We will continue to talk with voters directly, listen to their concerns, share our vision and work toward a better and stronger Sugar Land.”
Council member Zimmerman added that his campaign would continue as it has since he started his bid to be Sugar Land’s next Mayor, irrespective of the number of candidates. He also said added that his campaign is built on serving the citizens of Sugar Land and is confident the city’s voters will select that most qualified candidate.
Both Zimmerman and Jajoo did not directly answer the question as to whether they would support the other establishment candidate if one of them were pitted against Hancock in a runoff, as both are focused on becoming the next Mayor. But Hancock believes that a runoff would be beneficial for his campaign.
Hancock admitted that he does not have city-level experience, but feels that anything he needs to learn can be done so in short order. Unlike the two council members, he has never held public office or served on any city boards or commissions, which is generally the way many citizens enter public office.
But he sees that as an advantage.
“I am not a City “insider” or professional politician, but I see that as a positive,” Hancock said. “I don’t plan to make politics a career and I’m not trying to please developers or other special interest groups that can help finance my next campaign.”
Hancock has served on a bank board, has been president of a 10,000-home HOA board and has served on more than one charitable board. He said he feels comfortable with how to work within a group to accomplish goals and formulate comprehensive master plans.