Willis offers advice to new council members

Nov. 23—Outgoing Odessa City Council member Mari Willis addressed incoming council members Chris Hanie, Greg Connell and Gilbert Vasquez Tuesday night after they were sworn in. This is what she said:

"Good afternoon, Mayor, Council. In the words of John F. Kennedy, 'Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democrat answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to take the blame for the past, but let us accept our own responsibility for the future.' New council members, congratulations. I would like to encourage you and remind you that you now sit in a seat of responsibility to serve all citizens of Odessa. It is not a seat of power to work against any group or to push your personal agenda. It is a seat of service. I encourage you to study the information presented to you and gain answers to any questions that you may have. That will help you to make an informed decision. Don't be shy about asking for more information. Don't be bullied or don't be a bully. It is OK to be the lone yes or the lone no vote. Know that each of you have equal authority. Don't allow citizens to sit in the audience and text or email you what to say or do while you're conducting city business. If they want to speak there is an avenue for them to do so. Remember that this council chambers and this podium belong to the citizens. They or anyone should not be afraid to present items or stand here. It is not a place for public humiliation or reprimand, but of respect and reason. Enjoy the opportunity that you've been given to serve all the citizens. The ones who look, believe, smile and act like you and the ones who are totally opposite. Everyone has value and everyone has a voice. Lastly, I would like to say have a great four years maybe more and have a very blessed Thanksgiving and may God bless each of you and your families."