Early voting begins for Anna council runoffs

By Joshua Baethge
Anna-Melissa Tribune
Stan Carver (left) and Randy Atchley speak during a Nov. 23 Anna City Council candidates forum.

Early voting has begun in the run-off races for two hotly contested Anna City Council seats. In the Place 3 contest to replace outgoing councilman John Beazley, local business owner Stan Carver faces off against Hugh Heath. 

Throughout the campaign, Carver has emphasized his strong ties to the city and desire to make sure that city services keep up the needs of the growing community. He’s been endorsed by Elden Baker, who finished third in the general election. One of Baker’s key issues was working to do a better job of preserving Anna’s history, something Carver vows to do as well. 

Carver says he has also met with various officials to determine what can be done to improve Anna’s water quality. He promises to better manage development in the city and ensure fiscal stability.

“Before we go to bond and fleece taxpayers for some very expensive projects, we need to show that we’ve done all we can to get grants and private funding and other equitable relationships rather than just relying on tax money,” he said. “That should be our absolute last area to look for funding, and that goes for libraries, safety, roads, and all of that.”

Hugh Heath has maintained an extremely low profile throughout the campaign. He does not have a campaign website or social media presence and has not participated in any of the candidate spotlights sponsored by the Greater Anna Chamber of Commerce.  

Hugh Heath has also not responded to multiple interview requests and requests for comment from the Anna Melissa Tribune.

Atchley Preaches Public Safety while Bryan Heath Pushes for Change

In the race to fill the vacant Place 4 seat, active McKinney firefighter Randy Atchley says that his first campaign for public office has been both enjoyable and a good learning experience. He continues to run on a platform of making public safety a bigger priority. He says that the resignation of police officer Chris Reeves earlier this year left a huge void on the council.  According to him, it’s imperative for a first responder to be on the council so that their issues are addressed appropriately.

“We’ve got to catch up and we’ve got to be ahead of the curve or we’re going to be constantly playing catch-up from here on out with public safety and we just can’t afford to do that” Atchley said. “If we don’t have public safety, then we don’t’ have Anna. We don’t have a city.”

While Carver and Atchley have been largely complimentary of the current city council, Bryan Heath says it’s time for a change from what he considers to be “cliché politicians.” He says he’s received lots of positive feedback since the general election, something he feels very blessed for.  He adds that his team has put a lot of hard work into the campaign and believes the outcome will be close.

Some residents have expressed concern that Bryan Heath and his father Hugh are both running for council at the same time.  Bryan insists that they have run independent campaigns with no coordination between the two of them.   

Heath also refutes claims this his job has a health systems integrations technician, which requires some travel, would preclude him from his duties. He vows to attend every council meeting if elected and would work to foster better communication with residents. He also hopes to revive the Citizens Academy as a way to get more people involved in the city.

Throughout the campaign, Heath says he has met many people that have inspired him, including a young mother fighting cancer, an 80-year-old grandfather he befriended, college grads buying their first homes, members of the LGBTQ community, and entrepreneurs struggling to stay afloat during these times.  He vows not to let any of them down.

“We can’t waste any more time,” he said.  “There are many groups in Anna working day and night to help our neighbors in need and it gives me hope. If we have any kind of platform in Anna, we need to focus on them.”

Bryan Heath

Campaign Not Without Drama

During the public comments portion of the Nov. 10 City Council meeting, Carver said that Bryan Heath sent texts to area residents accusing Carver and his son of breaking into his home. Heath denied the accusations.  When asked later to comment further, both declined to elaborate citing potential legal action.

Neither Bryan Heath nor Hugh Heath participated in a Nov. 23 Chamber of Commerce sponsored candidate forum. Carver said their non-attendance showed a lack of commitment toward the council.  In response, Bryan Heath said he had just started a new job that required his attention that evening.  He also repeated his vow to attend all council meetings if elected.

Hugh Heath did not publics give a reason why he didn't attend. He also declined additional requests for comment from the Anna Melissa Tribune

Towards the end of the forum, Atchley encouraged residents to choose him and Carver over the Heaths if they wanted to keep the city united. Motioning toward the empty seat where Bryan Heath would have been, he said it was up to voters to “preserve our liberty,” saying that if you give up liberty for temporary safety, you are going to lose both.

“If you want another shutdown, the guy that didn’t who didn’t’ show up to my right, that’s who you need to vote for,” Atchley said. “If you want to have a mask mandate, the guy who didn’t show up to my right is who you need to vote for.  If you want to defund the police, the guy who didn’t show up to my right, that’s who you need to vote for.”

When contacted late for his response, Bryan Heath didn’t mince words, lashing out at Atchley for the accusations.

“It seems my opponent is very inexperienced at running a campaign and should get to know his opponent before making statements that make him appear reckless, uninformed, and naïve,” Heath said. “It appears to be a statement made out of desperation rather than fact. I’m here to represent all of our people, not just a portion.”

Early voting continues through Dec. 4.  Election day is Dec. 8.

Anna City Council Runoff Election

Place 3 

Stan Carver

Hugh Heath

Place 4

Randy Atchley

Bryan Heath

Early Voting Times

Nov. 23-25:  8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Nov. 28: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Nov. 30- Dec. 2: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Dec. 3-4: 7 a.m.- 7 p.m.

Election Day

Dec. 8: 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. 

Polling Location: Anna ISD Board Room, 201 E. 7th Street