Lifelong Odessan ready to serve: Cal Hendrick seeking mayor’s seat

Odessan Cal Hendrick announces his candidacy for mayor Wednesday, July 10, 2024, at City Hall. (Jennifer Guerrero|Odessa American)

You don’t get much more Odessa than Cal Hendrick.

Hendrick’s family settled here in the late 1880s and he has lived his entire life here minus time out for college (Angelo State University for a business degree) and then a law degree from the University of Texas-Austin.

He grew up on the West Side near Odessa High School attending San Jacinto Elementary, Bowie Junior High and graduating from Odessa High in 1983.

Today he announced his candidacy to lead the city he loves as Odessa’s mayor. He will face current Mayor Javier Joven in the November election.

“I want to serve the citizens of Odessa,” he said. “Odessa is not only home for me, but for my family for the last 130+ years. I want to see Odessa grow and flourish. I have a vision. My vision is to make Odessa a better place to live, work, play and worship, while carefully guiding the continuing economic growth and prosperity of our city.”

Ronnie Lewis holds a sign in support of Cal Hendrick who announced his candidacy for mayor Wednesday, July 10, 2024, at City Hall. (Jennifer Guerrero|Odessa American)

He said there are problems — failing water lines and valves, the water treatment plant, roads that need attention/work, problems with waste management trucks, trash and morale issues for city employees.

He said now is the time for a calmer voice in the mayor’s seat and to focus on critical thinking and problem solving.

Hendrick said he plans a positive campaign and said, if elected, he will focus on the critical issues such as water, trash, roads and emergency services. “I want to see Odessa grow and flourish and we can’t have people without water … we need to re-evaluate priorities and solve problems one at time and understand there are no quick solutions.”

He said his time as a trial lawyer has honed his skills to solve those problems.

“My clients have risks and problems, and my job is to find and solve those problems,” he said. “My mediation skills have helped me get along with everyone, and I work well with others.”

Hendrick said Odessa’s city charter is based on a strong city manager/weak mayor form of government, meaning a mayor should not office out of City Hall and sit in on department meetings unless asked to do so.

“I can be an asset to the city because I think I know what some of the problems are … right now people (City employees) are uncomfortable talking because of fear for their jobs,” he said. “No one should have to walk on eggshells every day because they work at City Hall.”

Hendrick cites his work as a trial lawyer for about 30 years at the Shafer Law Firm and as a mediator as part of his skills set.

“The skills I developed include analyzing complex problems and critical thinking,” he said. “My goal was always to find the best solutions to the problems that existed.”

He is currently the regional director of risk solutions at insurance firm McAnally Wilkins Inc. and has been there since 2019. He is also a part-time mediator. He is married to Amy and they have two adult children, Hunter, who lives in Waxahachie, and Kaitlin, who lives in Midland.

Odessan Cal Hendrick, center, announced his candidacy for mayor today at 10 a.m. at City Hall. Cal is shown with future son-in-law James Payne; daughter, Kaitlin; wife, Amy; and son Hunter. (Courtesy Photo)

Kaitlin will marry James Payne in October. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University and Payne is a Texas Tech University grad. Hunter works for Baylor Scott & White Health.

Hendrick and his wife met in college and moved to Odessa after both graduated. Amy spent 10 years at Odessa College and another 10 years at Medical Center Hospital and is now retired.

Both Cal and Amy Hendrick are avid volunteers. He has served as either a volunteer or board member for the Permian Basin Rehabilitation Center, Crystal Ball Foundation, Jim Parker Little League, Parker House Ranching Museum, CASA, Samaritan Counseling Center, Brite Divinity School at TCU, Texas Wildlife Association and the Sierra Club, to name a few.

He said his family helped found First Christian Church in 1908 and he is still a member of that church, now called Connection Christian Church. He’s an avid hunter and enjoys time outdoors.

He said it is time for a change at City Hall.

“I have watched mayors for 35 years and have witnessed critical traits that are important for a mayor,” he said. “A mayor must possess and demonstrate courtesy, respect and common sense.”

He said a mayor should exhibit problem-solving skills and should possess a solution-based attitude.

“I believe I possess these traits,” he said. “I want Odessa to be the best city in Texas. Thus, every decision I make will be based on the mantra ‘What is best for the City of Odessa.’”

He said he is not a politician and doesn’t want to be one. “But, I will make you two promises,” he added. “First, I promise to work hard. Second, I promise every decision I make will be based on what I think is best for the City of Odessa.”

Odessan Cal Hendrick announces his candidacy for mayor Wednesday, July 10, 2024, at City Hall. (Jennifer Guerrero|Odessa American)

He said recent council meetings have spent too much time not focused on the real issues in Odessa. Recent meetings led by Joven have held discussions about banning previous Odessa mayors from running for a city council seat after they have termed out as mayor.

Hendrick questions why that matters when “in the history of Odessa it has happened one time … why is time being wasted on that?”

He asked how many times does a water main have to break before the City recognizes “we have a problem … I’m a little mad at everybody about the water issue … it’s been kicked down the road too many times and a master water plan has been ignored.”

He said aging lines are not the only water issue facing Odessa. “Infrastructure is not very sexy … water lines and treatment plants and trash trucks may not be exciting, but cities should do city stuff and not focus on social issues,” he said. “When the average person turns on the faucet they expect water.”

He said he worries about a catastrophic failure to the city’s water system.

“What will happen when we lose water for a week or a month?” he asked. “How do you go to work or school? I made the decision to run and I want to serve, and I think I can focus on critical city issues like water. It is not going to solve itself.”


Hendrick said he is a fiscal conservative and for limited government and against increasing taxes or fees when many families are struggling with the costs of food, housing, gas and “every retail item from jeans to a pair of tennis shoes.”

He said the City must focus on the current water issues and find solutions including how to fund repairs and the water treatment plant. In June of 2022 Odessa was without water for several days due to a faulty valve. He said federal and state monies are out there and Odessa must seek those funds.

The repair site for a broken water main sits empty after crews completed work on the pipe at approximately 3:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, June 15, 2022, in Odessa. Many Ector County residents were left without clean running water after the main broke Monday, June 13, 2022, spurring stockpiling amid one of the hottest summers in recent history. (Odessa American/Eli Hartman)

“Not only do we have old and worn-out water valves and water lines, we have a water treatment plant that is falling apart,” he said. “We have to focus our attention on water infrastructure. Our citizens, businesses, schools and all of Odessa must have a reliable water system to ensure the city has water for the future. We live in a desert. Water is a precious commodity. Water must be our number one priority.”

He said this problem is not new. In 2018, the then-City Council commissioned a water study in order to create a water plan to meet Odessa’s infrastructure needs for the next 25 years.

“The basis for the anticipated infrastructure improvements was to continue to provide exceptional service to Odessa’s existing customers and to meet the demand for new service from the growing population,” he said. “At the same time, it created a master plan for the water reclamation plant, including repairs and updates.”

He said the plans were presented to the City Council in mid-2019 and included 5-year, 10-year and 25-year capital improvement plans.

“For the past three-and-a-half years, the current administration has failed to review and implement the plans,” he said. “As a result, the City has experienced multiple water failures, including June 29. And to make matters worse, the truth is the City will continue to have water failures, outages and possible no water in the near term. “

On June 29 the water was off for most of the day and off overnight in some parts of Odessa.

Hendrick said he is frustrated by the lack of action.

“The Mayor and majority of the City Council have allowed water infrastructure to crumble,” he said. “It is just a matter of time until the City has a catastrophic failure of its water system.”

Hendrick said Odessa is at the center of fueling the country through oil and gas. But, he added, Odessa must address infrastructure needs if it is to continue in such a role.


Hendrick said solutions are still needed to fix Odessa’s trash service issues and questioned how almost half of the trucks were recently out of service leading to either spotty or limited trash pickup in some areas.

“It was recently reported that 18 out of 38 trucks — that is almost half (47 percent) — are out of service,” he said. “How in the heck does that happen? What has the mayor/leadership done to alleviate the problem? How long has the problem existed? I know the City recently ordered 10 new trucks. However, the prior administration ordered 10. So even though over half of the trucking fleet has been down for over 4 years, the City just now ordered 10 more?”

Various types of trucks belonging to the City of Odessa wait to be repaired in the Equipment Services lot Thursday morning, July 22, 2021, in Odessa. (Odessa American File Photo)

He also questioned the explanation that parts for the broken trucks could not be located.

“Odessa has thousands of diesel mechanics,” he said. “Why hasn’t the mayor reached out to the private sector and asked for help … I have heard parts are a problem. Doesn’t the mayor realize that there are many, many local fabrication shops that might very well be able to fabricate parts. Has anyone called these fabrication shops in Odessa to see if they can fabricate the parts? I have, and several companies have told me they could likely fab the parts. Having almost 50 percent of the fleet down for over 4 years is unacceptable.”


Like the water master plan, Hendrick said the city had a 75-page transportation master plan that outlined what needs to be repaired and what needs to be built.

“We all drive on the roads in Odessa every day,” he said. “In my humble opinion, the city roads are terrible. I know some roads have not be serviced or worked on in the past 10 years. Why aren’t roads being properly maintained? Who hasn’t heard of someone who damages a wheel or tire hitting potholes. Enough is enough. We need effective leadership to make Odessa roads safe and drive-able.”

Cal Hendrick speaks with new ECRP County Chair Donna Kelm Wednesday, July 10, 2024, at City Hall. Hendrick announced his candidacy for mayor to a crowd of supporters Wednesday at City Hall. (Jennifer Guerrero|Odessa American)


Hendrick said the role of an Odessa mayor (and the city council) is to set policy and have five appointees who implement that policy. “They (appointees) need to do their jobs and the mayor and council need to determine the problems and set the agenda to solve those problems and then let those people solve them.”

“The (elected officials) need to step back and let the city flow according to the charter,” he said.

Hendrick said he does worry about the skill set of the current city manager, John Beckmeyer, and is puzzled about how he was hired.

Joven hired a firm called T2 to recruit city manager candidates and the council set a list of guidelines including education and experience for a city manager. T2 came up with several candidates that met the criteria, but Beckmeyer, who had neither the education nor experience that T2 was told was required, was hired.

Beckmeyer has an associate’s degree in animal science from Western Texas College and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Sam Houston State University.

Beckmeyer has been the executive director of the Republican Party of Texas and a political ally of Joven.

Hendrick said he doesn’t know Beckmeyer but believes his questions about the hire are shared by many Odessans. “Why go through hiring T2 if you aren’t going to listen to them?” he said. “I don’t know him and am not saying he is good or bad, but I know he did not fill the skill set.”

If elected, Hendrick said he will not office out of City Hall. “It’s not a full-time job,” he said. “Why does a mayor need an office when he doesn’t work there.”

It is important for a mayor to understand his role, he added.

“This is about the citizens of Odessa,” he said. “We are all the same. We live in West Texas, and all I want to do as mayor is make sure we all have water and sewer and trash and a great police and fire department and that employees have great morale.”

He said Odessa can be better if all Odessans work for it.

“The things I can guarantee is I have worked hard all my career, and I will always do what I think is best for Odessa,” he said. “I feel like we are in a bad place now, but my goal is to focus on what I can do and not what someone else has failed to do.”

He said he hopes for a “normal” election of candidates running on their platforms and engaging in forums to explain their vision for Odessa. “I have a servant heart and don’t want any glory … I am here to serve.”


  • Oct. 7 is the last day to register to vote.
  • Early voting begins Oct. 21 and ends Nov. 1.
  • Nov. 5 is election day.
  • Other municipal offices up include Districts 1 and 2 city council seats. Also, the at large seat on city council. Steve Thompson (District 2) has indicated he will seek the office again as have (District 1) Mark Matta and (at large) Denise Swanner. Odessan Craig Stoker has indicated he will run for the at large seat.