The Amarillo Pioneer

Amarillo's only free online newspaper. Established in 2016, we work to bring you local news that is unbiased and honest.


Billups Makes First Wave of Endorsements in 2019 Elections

Homeless advocate Kip Billups made a wave of endorsements on Tuesday night, asking residents to consider contacting possible candidates about running for the Amarillo City Council next year.

On Tuesday night, Billups released a statement asking his supporters to contact paralegal Claudette Smith, Amarillo Independent School District trustee John Betancourt, and truck restoration shop owner Tom Warren II about running for City Council. Billups, who was arrested by Amarillo Police during an Amarillo City Council meeting in April for clapping during the meeting, made the endorsements, citing his disappointment with the City Council's decision to change its meeting time.

Billups said the three candidates would bring skills to the City Council that are "desperately needed" and stated that he hopes the three individuals would consider running.

"I have vetted all three potential candidates," Billups said. "All have shown through their actions as well as their words a love for Amarillo and a want for its betterment. They are fully self-supporting with no ties to the local PAC that put our current city council in their seats. Finally, It's Time We the People took Amarillo back."

Smith, an Amarillo paralegal, is a plaintiff in an ongoing lawsuit against the City Council for alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act. Smith has become known for speaking at Amarillo City Council meetings.

Betancourt is an associate at the Heyl Group of Keller Williams and is a member of the Amarillo Independent School District Board of Trustees. First elected in 2015, Betancourt has become known as a fierce advocate for residents in the eastern and northern parts of the school district.

Warren is the owner of an Amarillo truck restoration shop and is the publisher of the Amarillo Pioneer publication. Warren was one of five finalists for appointment to a seat on the City Council in 2016, and was defeated in a bid for a full term on the Council during the elections in 2017.

None of the three candidates endorsed by Billups have publicly expressed interest in running for the Amarillo City Council next year.

All four City Council seats and the mayor's position will be up for election next year. Interested candidates can begin filing in January. The election will be held in May, 2019.

Billups (RIGHT) arrested for clapping in a meeting  Photo by Susan Cooper Bailey

Billups (RIGHT) arrested for clapping in a meeting

Photo by Susan Cooper Bailey

Disclaimer: Tom Warren II is the publisher of the Amarillo Pioneer. For a list of Amarillo Pioneer writers and staff, please visit

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