New Hearne City Council Members Address Fatal Shooting

The Hearne City Council has three new members. 11 May 2014
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HEARNE - After the city council election in Hearne, the only physical reminders of the past are a few election signs on a street corner.

Going forward, though, new faces.

Lashunda White heavily defeated Place 2 Councilman Larry Welch with 58% of the vote. The 589 votes for White to 425 votes for Welch is by far the biggest margin of victory in the council races.

Matthew Gomez, the son of Hearne's Mayor, was beat by challenger Hazel Embra. Embra received just 39 more votes (540-501) than Gomez. But it was enough to give her 52% of the votes and the Place 4 seat.

In a loss that is sure to sting, Councilman Steven Catalina lost to challenger Joyce Rattler by just one vote (509-508). It is unclear whether Catalina will ask for a recount.

Three new council members for the city of Hearne could mean changes to infrastructure like getting rid of empty lots and filling in potholes. But does this represent a turning point for the city?

"We want to do what's right for all of the citizens. We want to make ourselves available," Rattler said.

"I want to bring a lot of job sites back into Hearne for our citizens. You put businesses here so we can give job opportunities to our people," White said.

They say that things are going to be different. But they agree with the previous council on one issue.

I asked the new council members if they would have voted to fire Officer Stephen Stem, who shot and killed a 93-year-old Hearne resident. They said they would. But why not wait until the investigation was complete?

"You have to make an administrative decision to look outside and see what is going on. Is it going to handicap? Is it going to make things better? Is it going to make things worse?" Embra said.

Only time will tell.