Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

January 14, 2014

Candidates share thoughts at GOP meeting

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — On the local level, only two primary races will be contested in Navarro County in March. On the Republican ballot are two filers for County Commissioner, Precinct 2, and for county treasurer.

The incumbents in those seats, Dick Martin, who’s been the county commissioner for one four-year term, is seeking reelection and is being challenged by Leon Tates, the general manager of McCoy’s; while incumbent treasurer Frank Hull is being challenged by Ryan Douglas, a bookkeeper and part-time employee in the treasurer’s office.

Douglas, 30, who does bookkeeping for the Corsicana/Navarro County Chamber of Commerce, in addition to running his own bookkeeping service on the side, has been working part-time in the treasurer’s department, giving him insight into the work done in the office, Douglas explained.

He graduated from Corsicana High School in 2001, majored in accounting at University of Texas-Arlington, and then spent 10 years working in accounting for various firms.

“If I set my mind to something I’m going to do that to the best of my ability,” he said Monday. “My skills and the treasurer’s office go hand in hand.”

“I won’t be absent, I’ll be there,” he said.

Incumbent Frank Hull pointed out that he has 40 years of business experience and has been county treasurer for the last four years. He referred to some of the accomplishments of the office, including cross-training within the staff, and his work as an officer in the County Treasurer’s Association.

“I think you can be very proud of your treasurer’s office,” he said. “Nobody knows about us, but your money’s safe.”

He referred to Douglas’ challenge only obliquely, praising his staff and saying that Douglas had been an asset to the staff before adding: “I’d recommend him for any  job but mine,” Hull joked.

Running for County Commissioner, Precinct 2, are incumbent Dick Martin and challenger Leon Tates.

Tates said he and his wife came to Corsicana eight years ago when he was sent here to rebuild the local McCoy’s Building Center on U.S. 287.

“I have the operational experience to make sure precinct 2 thrives,” Tates said.

He said his goals were to make sure the taxpayers’ money is spent wisely, that the sheriff’s office and volunteer fire departments are supported, and that the work on the roads is closely supervised.

“I’m running to make sure our community’s safer,” he said, referring to the car jackers who evaded deputies for about 12 hours on Christmas Eve until some residents caught them on Christmas morning.

“It’s important to stand in the gap, to make sure somebody’s supporting our sheriff’s office and fire departments,” Tates said.

Tates called himself a problem solver, and said he would be hands-on in responding to issues in a timely fashion.

Incumbent Commissioner Dick Martin said that all the things Tates brought up were already in the works in precinct 2.

Martin was formerly in the insurance industry. He was elected three years ago, and is seeking reelection because he believes things are headed in the right direction.

“I’m running again because I think we have quite a bit of momentum and I’d like to see that momentum go forward,” he said.

In addition to the accomplishments, like replacing aging or worn-out bridges, and rebuilding Southeast County Road 2240, Martin said his road crew now has a customer service attitude.

“I’m proud of my work team,” he said, pointing to foreman Tyrone Bailey as an outstanding crew leader.

He also mentioned that there had been not tax increases in the last three years, the creation of the county-court-at-law court, and the courthouse restoration project as accomplishments in the last three years.

The primary election to decide which Republican name will go onto the general election ballot in November, will take place on March 4. There are no local Democratic challengers, but there will be a Democratic primary because of some state-wide candidates.

A member of the audience challenged Tates and Douglas, saying that they haven’t been long-time Republicans. Douglas said he hasn’t been around much. Tates said that as a pastor he agrees with the conservative Christian principles of the Republican Party, adding that he is the first African American to step out as a Republican locally.

“It’s important to reach out to other demographics,” Tates said.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com