BEAUMONT/PORT ARTHUR — KFDM/Fox 4 News has learned the longtime chief of staff for State Representative Joe Deshotel is going to run for his seat.
We broke the story Tuesday that Deshotel has decided not to run for re-election. His term is over at the end of next year and he wants to spend more time with his family.
The Democrat has served about 22 years in the Texas House, representing the Beaumont-Port Arthur area, and before that he was a Beaumont city councilman for about eight years.
We spoke with his chief of staff, Christian Manuel, and Manuel confirmed that he’ll run for Deshotel’s seat.
Manuel, 36, has worked for Deshotel for 17 years and has served as his chief of staff the past ten years.
Manuel told us he’s a “common-sense Democrat” and says his “positions on key issues are good for the area.”
Manuel says he’s worked with lawmakers from both parties and has good working relationships with them.
“I’ve been with him since October 1, 2004,” said Manuel. “He grew me for this. I never thought I’d run for office. I thought I like being in the background. But with Jefferson County, we have House Speaker Phelan, Jefferson County is poised to be at the forefront in Texas. We’re positioned as far as our waterways and roadways. I-10 runs through Jefferson County.”
Manuel says he’s ready to take on the job.
“It’s not something I dreamed about, but it called me,” said Manuel. “I’ve spent 17 years doing the legislation and ten years as chief of staff. It’s an open primary so it makes sense a lot of people will run, but no one can out-legislate me. I already have relationships with the members, Democrats and Republicans. I’m a common-sense Democrat. I think my positions are good for this area.”
Manuel says he’s confident about his chances in an open field. He expects a number of people to run for the seat that’ll open for the first time in 22 years.
“I’m going to win the seat,” said Manuel. “I’m invested in this area. My family has roots here.”
He worked on redistricting and doesn’t believe the new maps will significantly change the district.
“I don’t think redistricting will make much of a difference,” said Manuel. “It’s still about the same demographic makeup. “
The longtime chief of staff to Deshotel says it’ll be an honor to run for the seat.
“I have to prove that I deserve this seat,” said Manuel. “I look at it like I’m an applicant for the seat and I want to show the public why I deserve it. I want to continue to do the public service I’ve done for 17 years. All with Joe Deshotel.”
Written by KFDM/FOX 4