By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Just eight months into the tenure of her first term as councilwoman for the City of South Padre Island, Julee LaMure has announced she is stepping down.
LaMure cited a commitment to her family in a resignation letter she plans to submit to the Council at the next regular meeting on Aug. 5. “My friends, it is with profound disappointment that I must announce my resignation from South Padre Island City Council, effective Thursday, August 6, 2015,” she wrote in the letter. “I assure you that cutting short my three year service commitment to the city represents a grave disappointment for me and were it not for an even deeper commitment to my family, I certainly would not dream of doing so.”
LaMure explained that her husband, Jeff LaMure, has accepted a position in Taos, N.M., necessitating a relocation.
In an exclusive interview with the PRESS on Tuesday, LaMure expressed concern that her unexpected departure could negatively impact the City. “It’s important to me that we maintain the confidence of the City. That’s the one thing that I would dread about leaving is to shake the confidence of the community,” she said.
LaMure and her family have lived on the Island for over four years, she said. She described seeing a need for change in the City as the impetus for her political run. “Things were really, really grim and I knew I could make a difference. And I believe that I have, I believe that I’ve been involved in a pretty big turn around,” she said. “We’ve started some things that you’re going to continue to see pop over the next 7 to 10 years,” she said.
“Councilman LaMure brought a lot of energy to the City Council,” said Mayor Barry Patel Wednesday. “She helped out with legislative efforts (in) Austin, and she went up to Austin to testify on behalf of the City twice on matters relating to ecotourism, funding for the hotel tax. And of course, she also was a leading voice on the Cyclovia and bicycle tourism on South Padre Island,” he said.
LaMure described those two issues herself. Her advocacy of House Bill 1717 was instrumental in the passage of the legislation which will allow the City to use revenue from the HOT tax to create infrastructure for space tourism and ecotourism. Previously, HOT tax revenue could only be used within a narrow scope to maintain existing tourism-based events that would fill hotel beds and for beach maintenance. “When that bill was passed, that was definitely my proudest moment,” she said.
With LaMure’s departure, the City will now have to fill three seats on the Council. Councilman Sam Listi has previously said he will retire from office at the end of the current term. Just this week, Theresa Metty has announced her intention to run for the seat vacated by Listi’s retirement. Councilwoman Alita Bagley’s seat will be up for election in November, as well. Currently, Bagley has not yet announced if she will seek re-election.
“More than likely the special event for Councilman’s LaMure’s seat will be held the same day as the regular election,” Patel said. “So, I really encourage people to step up to the plate and run for election and bring their energy to the City Council,” he said.
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