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Westerman wins Marble Falls council seat in low-turnout election

Richard Westerman

Former Mayor Richard Westerman was elected to Place 5 on the Marble Falls City Council on May 4, 2024. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

Former Mayor Richard Westerman is back on the Marble Falls City Council as the Place 5 councilor after defeating incumbent Dee Haddock and challenger John Davis on Election Day, May 4. The election was marred by low voter turnout, a 20-percent drop from 2023.

Westerman will be sworn in during a special meeting of the council at noon May 14 in City Hall, 800 Third St.

The vote tally in the three-man race was 181 for Westerman, 161 for Haddock, and 26 for Davis. 

“Thank you to everyone for your support and taking the time to vote,” Westerman said. “I’m ready to go back to work on the Marble Falls City Council for the people of our community.”

His top priority for the upcoming two-year term is managing growth.

“Everyone knows our small town is growing,” Westerman said. “There is a lot going on and common sense needs to prevail. We need to manage the growth while we continue to enhance our small-town character.”

Westerman would also like to see changes made to the City Charter to do away with at-large positions on the council. All councilors are currently elected at-large.

“We need to consider changing our city charter so that each council member represents a certain district,” he said. “This will ensure that citizens, neighborhoods, and areas of town are equally represented.” 

The win marks the end of Haddocks’s three-year tenure on the Marble Falls City Council after being appointed in 2021 and running uncontested in 2022. The loss also ends his time on the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors as a council designee.

“We got a lot done and met a lot of challenges,” said Haddock, who is also the mayor pro-tem. “It sets us up for future challenges with the growth that we have.”

Challenger Davis has no plans to run for the council in the future following defeats in 2014, 2023, and now 2024.

“I just don’t see any sense in it,” he said.

Haddock is less certain about his future in government.

“The Lord controls everything,” he said. “Wherever Jesus takes me, he takes me. I think that’s the best description for what’s going to happen in the future.”

LOW TURNOUT

Only 368 voters cast a ballot in the Marble Falls election, a 20 percent drop in turnout over 2023. 

“I always feel it is unfortunate that we have a low turnout for city and school board elections,” Westerman said. “It seems as though you have to have controversy in order to get people to come out and vote.”

Haddock also pushed for residents to be more involved civically.

“I would encourage people to find out when elections are and participate,” he said. “I’m not telling people how to vote, but to participate. It is a right that not a lot of people have. It is a right that a lot of people died for.”

A look at historical vote totals in Marble Falls paints a bleak picture. Voter turnout fell from 16 percent from 2003-13 to 7.3 percent from 2014-24, according to an analysis by DailyTrib.com.

“(Residents) gripe and complain, but no one votes,” Davis added. “Nobody listens.”

nathan@thepicayune.com

1 thought on “Westerman wins Marble Falls council seat in low-turnout election

  1. Changing the charter to a district set up for council members will not solve issues in general. It would actually lead to more conflicts of interest. What happens if no one in a particular district signs up to run for office? As far as people who gripe and complain. That is more than likely the voters who do the most of that.

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