Q&A: Two candidates running for Pearland City Council Position 5 this May

Community groups in Houston are organizing candidate forums throughout the city ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

Community groups in Houston are organizing candidate forums throughout the city ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

Pearland City Council has three positions on the May 4 ballot: Positions 1, 5 and 6. Incumbent J. David Little faces Sheila Pope for Council Position 5.

Community Impact Newspaper interviewed the candidates for Position 5.

Here are the candidates and their responses.

J. David Little
Occupation: Board Certified Estate Planning & Probate Attorney
Phone number: 281-705-5433

Sheila Pope
Occupation: CEO/Founder of Pope's Resource Center, LLC
Phone number: 832-226-7801

Why did you choose to run for Pearland City Council?
David Little: I have lived in Pearland for 21 years and have watched the phenomenal growth over the last 18 years. I moved my law practice to Pearland 8 years ago so I was “all in” as far as I thought. Then a friend suggested I run for city council, so I talked it over with my wife and friends and decided it was time for me to do more. I ran to complete a partial term. Serving for two years has opened my eyes to the tremendous challenges the city has faced and is still facing associated with the rapid growth.

Sheila Pope: I decided to run for the position because I knew as a smart female I could add value to the city of Pearland. One of the expectations of the city council members is to ensure residents are made aware of the city's resources. I know I can play a major role in communicating and working collaboratively with all stakeholders in Pearland to ensure all residents know how to tap into the city's programs and resources. Moreover, I am a small business owner and I wanted to help other business owners make more money and be able to expand their businesses. I believe entreprenuers, especially female entreprenuers, need support and ways to connect and flourish. I want to host a Business Expose focused on providing workshops, resources, and speakers in one central place in Pearland so female business owners in and out of the city can gather information in one location. I became a member of Pearland Chamber of Commerce to gain support for my business, to network and to increase my revenue. It was a great decision. The chamber is an awesome resource, but not all business owners are willing to invest the money or cannot participate due to the chamber's hours of operation. I also decided to run for the position to work with the council to create innovative ways to generate more revenue for the city and to keep taxes low. We need to look at tech companies and capturing more of the rodeo revenue for our hotels and the town center. Lastly, I want to connect Pearland residents in an inclusive way to ensure we have diverse voices in our decisions about planning and using the city's resources.

What makes you qualified to run for the position?
David Little: I have served for two years already. My background as a certified public accountant serves me well on the budgeting and planning side. In a previous job, I was responsible for helping put together a $4 billion plan which is much larger than what we deal with at the city level. My legal profession gives me an advantage when we are reviewing or facing legal challenges.

Sheila Pope: I am qualified to run for the position because I have lived in the city for over 15 years. I have voted regularly. What makes me the best candidate is my experience as a community leader, school administrator, business owner, and my ability to collaborate with all of our residents regardless of their gender, political views, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, and zip code in the city. I have volunteered to help State Representative Senfronia Thompson to serve seniors in her district. I am currently working with her and Mr. Allen Provost to help resolve issues in Tamina, an unicorporated community in Montgomery County. I am producing a show about their struggles to maintain the city's independence. I have served as a community leader in Sunnyside located in State Representative Shawn Thierry's district. I have served as a community partner with several organization such Peoples United Summit and Texas Parks & Wildlife. I have served in Brazoria County the last 10 years as a Precinct Chair, SD 11 Delegate, Deputy Registar and an Election Judge. I am serving on Pearland's Chamber of Commerce's Governmental Relations and Healthcare Committee. I am member of Friends of Pearland West Library. I serve on Houston Baptist University Alumni Awards Committee. I have organized fundrasier and parades. I am a Founding Member on the Board of Directors for Houston Metro Pop Warner Football League. I am excited to play a role in bringing Pop Warner football to Pearland and Houston.

If elected, what will your priorities in office be?
David Little: I will work to keep the city’s portion of the tax bill reasonable. I will work with staff to maintain sustainable infrastructure growth to keep pace with the population growth. Maintaining a safe city is paramount. In order to do this we need to hire and retain professional police, fire personnel and emergency medical technicians. We also need to upgrade our existing parks and recreation facilities.

Sheila Pope: If elected, my priorities will be to make sure residents know about the city's resources. Moreover, I want to be a visible representation of the city council. I want to have monthly or quarterly community conversations to hear what residents around the city need. I want to make sure residents in "Old Pearland" are able to maintain their love the city. They do not want to morph into Houston due to our rapid growth. Other cities have managed to maintain their small town feel with updated features to draw industry and generate more revenue. I also want to promote growth in Pearland, to ensure our schools keep their excellent ratings, to find innovated ways to generate revenue, to keep taxes moderate, and to determine ways businesses in Pearland are able to stay in operation and to gain more funding resources. Finally, I want to ensure Pearland is inclusive and we embrace all of our diverse residents' perspectives in our city government.

Anything else you would like the voters to know?
David Little: Candidate did not provide a response to this question.

Sheila Pope: We have only had three women to serve on Pearland's City Council in its history. Each woman has added a different perspective and they have added to the city's growth. Electing another female to the council will add a needed voice to the conversations. Women are running larger cities than Pearland and those cities are thriving. I have the skillset to make Pearland better and to improve upon the great things the city council has planned for the next three years. Women should have a seat on the council. Position 5 is a great place to start.

By Haley Morrison
Haley Morrison came to Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after graduating from Baylor University. She was promoted to editor in February 2019. Haley primarily covers city government.


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