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Mihir "Mark" Pankaj, Paula Portugal, center, and Linda Knox

Candidates filed for all three available spots on Paris City Council in the May 1 municipal election, according to City Clerk Janice Ellis.

Mihir “Mark” Pankaj, a local hotelier who serves as a Paris Economic Development Corp. director and Paris ISD trustee, became the first candidate to enter the race early Tuesday, followed by incumbents Mayor Pro Tem Paula Portugal from District 7 and Linda Knox from District 5. Pankaj filed for the District 4 spot currently held by Mayor Steve Clifford, who is term limited.

“I’m running because I want to give back to the city that has helped shape my life and has given back so much to me,” Pankaj said. “I also want to continue the progress in growing our community and to help put Paris on the map. We must look out for the needs of our citizens, and that always comes first.

Portugal and Knox both are interested in serving their last two-year term before being term-limited in 2023.

“It has been quite a turbulent four years, but for the good of Paris, I believe,” Knox said. “I would like to see our efforts continue. I would especially like to support Mr. (Grayson Path) in his job as city manager; I think he is doing an awesome job.”

Portugal said she has several goals, to include bringing fiber optic capability to all areas of the city and high-paying job opportunities to Paris and Lamar County.

“I am working with the city to investigate how our citizens can receive affordable, consistent and responsive cable and internet,” Portugal said. “And tomorrow the mayor and I are going to be on a teleconference call with Gov. (Greg) Abbott to find some answers to the problem of getting vaccines to our citizens.”

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at

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