Had the COVID-19 pandemic not occurred, Steve Hougen would have taken the Granite Shoals City Council Place 4 seat May 2 running unopposed in the municipal election.
However, the city postponed the election until November 3, extending Place 4 Councilor Terry Scott’s role.
But Scott resigned May 21, and the council accepted that resignation May 26 and appointed Hougen to the spot.
“I believe I have a good feel and know Granite Shoals and want to do what I can to help fulfill the potential the city has to offer,” Hougen said. “I’d like to identify the problems and come up with a plan. It’s as simple as that.”
Hougen and his wife, Marva, purchased property in Granite Shoals in 2012. At the time, he was a surgeon and the first trauma director at Citizens Medical Center in Victoria.
“In Victoria, I had a practice for over twenty years and was a trauma director for ten years,” he said.
Needless to say, Marva Hougen didn’t think her husband was ready to leave Victoria when the couple bought their Granite Shoals home.
In 2013, his wife told him she wanted to spend more time in the Highland Lakes. The couple had been driving back and forth between Victoria and Granite Shoals.
“She said I could join her on the weekends if I wanted to, if I wasn’t busy,” he recalled her joking.
Hougen applied for a position at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Marble Falls, which was being built at the time, and was hired as its first chief of staff and president. He retired from the hospital in 2019.
Prior to running for Granite Shoals City Council, Hougen was a member of the city’s Wildlife Advisory Committee for more than four years. The committee oversees the city’s deer management program.
Hougen said it’s important that leaders use city resources in the best way to benefit residents, regardless of how popular those decisions are with voters.
In his resignation letter, Scott wrote that his “successor needs to be involved with next year’s budget and should have all the time they need to familiarize themself with the process.”
Saying goodbye to city staff and council members, Scott applauded them for their leadership and dedication to doing what was best for Granite Shoals.
“I want to thank Granite Shoals citizens who supported me and the city in the last two years,” he said.
Scott initially filed for re-election but withdrew his candidacy. Hougen was the only other person who filed for Place 4 and will run unopposed on the November 3 ballot.
During the May 26 meeting, the council also discussed possible plans to reopen city offices and facilities.
Looney told the council he planned to reopen city offices on June 8 “if no more (COVID-19) cases pop up in our area and things are settled down fairly well.
“We want to continue to exercise precautions, go from there, and have a smooth transition into business operations,” he added.
Looney noted that he and Mayor Carl Brugger discussed factors for opening City Hall, which has been closed since March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The top requirement is a drop of active cases.