Candidate Q&A: Meet the candidates in the race to be Humble's next mayor

Norman Funderburk and Arliss Bentley are in the race to serve as the city of Humble's next mayor. (Community Impact staff)
Norman Funderburk and Arliss Bentley are in the race to serve as the city of Humble's next mayor. (Community Impact staff)

Norman Funderburk and Arliss Bentley are in the race to serve as the city of Humble's next mayor. (Community Impact staff)



HOUSTON



Humble Mayor




Responses have been edited for length and clarity.






Norman Funderburk



Occupation: retired vice president of Koch Specialty Plant Services


Experience: City Council, 2014-21; mayor pro tem for four years; city representative to Houston-Galveston Area Council, 2015-21; 42 years in the engineering/construction industry at Koch Specialty Plant Services; management and oversight of engineering and project management of about 200 projects each year; former trustee for 15 years on the Northeast Hospital Authority Board, serving as board president, board vice president, committee member, investment officer and president of the Northeast Hospital Foundation


Contact: N/A




What do you think is the single most important responsibility of being mayor?



NF: ... [Providing] effective leadership. The mayor provides leadership to City Council in establishing the vision, acting as a consensus builder in setting goals and policy, and insuring that all departments are properly equipped and able to meet the needs of the city. The mayor’s leadership is essential for the city to be able [to] thrive, be successful and sustainable, and for safety, security and best quality of life provided for our residents.



What do you believe to be the most pressing concern to the business community in Humble? How will you address this?



NF: ... [Big-box] retailers are needing assurances that we will not experience flooding again. The smaller ... businesses need to know the city fosters a business-friendly environment and is supportive in their efforts to be successful. To best address these concerns, the city recognizes and accepts the responsibility to protect its infrastructure and mitigate for disasters, develop protocols and guidelines so that businesses can operate safely and openly, and endorse economic programs that support local businesses. ...



Both you and the other mayoral candidate have had experience in some shape or form as an elected official for the city or served on one of the city’s committees. How do you think your experience in this role will influence your decisions?



NF: My years of experience have greatly influenced my decision-making process. I’ve learned to deliberate and not make snap judgments. Different perspectives and potential consequences need consideration, as things are not always as they might appear. It’s also important to ask questions; seek out and use the best knowledge, making informed decisions as best possible. And if a trusted source for wise counsel is available and needed, use it.



How will you contribute to the city's ongoing downtown revitalization effort?



NF: I fully support the efforts of the city of Humble in placing a priority on the downtown revitalization initiative. While progress was slowed last year due to COVID, renewed focus and collaborative efforts are currently underway with [Partnership Lake Houston]. It's also important the city be proactive in recognizing and addressing the aging properties that are unsightly and in decline, remedying through code enforcement or by acquisition by the city as a potential candidate for redevelopment. ...



The city of Humble has begun contributed funds toward regional flood studies spearheaded by the Harris County Flood Control District and the San Jacinto Regional Water Authority. Do you think it is important for the city to continue contributing funds toward these regional flood studies? Why or why not?



NF: It is absolutely imperative that we participate with the city of Houston and the San Jacinto River Authority in regional studies so that we can finally and successfully solve the chronic issue of flooding. Entire neighborhoods are at risk and a good portion of our local economy could possibly be forever affected should we flood again, as we did during [Hurricane] Harvey. ... [We] must do our part to ensure that it doesn't happen again.








Arliss Ann Bentley



Occupation: retired Humble ISD teacher


Experience: As a 47-year resident of Humble, I have attended Humble City Council meetings twice a month since 2007. I also have been on the Humble Beautification Committee for the past 15 years.






What do you think is the single most important responsibility of being mayor?



AB: Since the mayor is elected by the people, her responsibility is to represent the people. She is responsible to react to any issues that may arise in the normal course of business concerning finances, safety, and the health and wellness of the city.



What do you believe to be the most pressing concern to the business community in Humble? How will you address this?



AB: I believe the most pressing concern of local business owners is the prosperity of their business. I will work to address safety concerns, traffic flow and the creation of new ordinances that will help, not hinder, the success of their businesses.



Both you and the other mayoral candidate have had experience in some shape or form as an elected official for the city or served on one of the city’s committees. How do you think your experience in this role will influence your decisions?



AB: My experience on the beautification committee has given me insight to areas of concern and desired improvement. I will swiftly address these concerns with the appropriate city leaders keeping the recommendations of committee members in mind.



How will you contribute to the city's ongoing downtown revitalization effort?



AB: Major revitalization needs to begin with the creation of a master plan and the action steps to carry out the plan. It is necessary to find a development company with experience in downtown renewal of small towns. I would also work to move forward on repurposing recently purchased properties into viable businesses and services that directly benefit our citizens.



The city of Humble has begun contributed funds toward regional flood studies spearheaded by the Harris County Flood Control District and the San Jacinto Regional Water Authority. Do you think it is important for the city to continue contributing funds toward these regional flood studies? Why or why not?



AB: The issue of flooding will always be a concern of local citizens. Flood studies are necessary to improve and mitigate flood control. Continued investment in regional flood studies will help us better prepare for future drainage issues.


By Kelly Schafler

Editor, Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood

Kelly Schafler is the editor for the Lake Houston, Humble and Kingwood edition of Community Impact Newspaper, covering public education, city government, development, businesses, local events and all things community-related. Before she became editor, she was the reporter for the Conroe and Montgomery edition for a year and a half.



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