Beaumont attorney named Newsmaker of the Year by area press

The SE Texas Record Jun. 7, 2011, 4:00am

Beaumont attorney Mike Getz was named Newsmaker of the Year by the Press Club of Southeast Texas. Press Club Vice President of Programs Jennifer Walsh presented a trophy to Getz at the club's annual banquet June 4.

The Press Club of Southeast Texas honored Beaumont attorney Mike Getz as the 2010 Newsmaker of the Year on Friday, June 3 at its 20th Annual Awards Banquet.

Getz was chosen by a vote of Press Club members from a field of five finalists as being the Southeast Texan who had the most significant positive impact on issues and events in 2010.

While Getz was a strong figure in the unsuccessful effort to stop the demolition of the former South Park High School, it was his leadership to change the way the Beaumont Independent School District trustees are elected that garnered him the most attention.

Getz led the charge and secured more than 10,000 signatures to include a referendum on the May 2011 ballot to change the Beaumont ISD board's electoral system from seven single-member districts to five single districts with two at-large positions, like that of the city's council delegation.

Getz and other leaders of the political action group called BETTER (Beaumonters Embracing Transition Toward Election Reform) met the signature goal in one of the biggest grass roots political efforts in the area.

In a massive citywide campaign, the group held numerous petition drives and Getz himself spent nearly every weekend collecting signatures or going door-to-door to garner enough signatures by the August 2010 deadline.

Last month, 54 percent of Beaumont voters approved the proposal for two at-large members. In that same election, Getz won the Ward 2 seat on Beaumont's City Council.

Getz attended Lamar University and obtained a bachelor's degree in secondary education in 1978. He earned a law degree in 1989 from the South Texas College of Law in Houston.

His law office is located in Beaumont.
An Eagle Scout, Getz is a member of the executive board of the Three Rivers Council, Boy Scouts of America.

He is also past president of the Y.M.C.A.-Downtown Beaumont, past president of Temple Emanuel Brotherhood and previously served on the executive board of Young Audiences and the board of directors of Beaumont Main Street.

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