Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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February 15, 2014

Q&A: State Representative District 8

The Daily Sun asked the three candidates in the race for State Representative District 8 in the March 4 GOP Primary to respond to several questions about the race. Their responses appear in ballot order.

Byron Cook

Age: 59

Position sought: State Representative, District 8

In which city/community do you live? I have lived in Corsicana since 1968. I am a graduate of Corsicana High School and Navarro College.

Relevant work experience: For over 30 years I have been involved with great organizations and people. I am a businessman who, along with my partners, started one of the first video game software companies in the United States. I am involved in community banking, ranching and other business interests.

Community service: My family and I have a long history of community support and involvement. I am a member of Northside Baptist Church, member and past president of the Corsicana Rotary Club, have been on the YMCA Board of Directors, coach of YMCA basketball and football programs, support the Salvation Army, House of Refuge, Boys and Girls Clubs, have volunteered in the public school mentor program, and support many other worthy causes. Since first being elected in 2003, I have given my monthly check to charities throughout the district.

Prior political experience: It has been my privilege to serve as State Representative for House District 8 beginning in 2003 to present. Currently, I serve as chairman of the State Affairs committee and am a member of the Calendar committee. I have also served as chairman of the Environmental Regulation committee, and chairman of the Civil Practices committee. I have also served twice on the Texas Sunset Commission, which reviews all state agencies.

What is the most important part of the job you’re seeking? A very critical part of the job as State Representative is the ability to work with policy makers and stakeholders for the benefit of Texas and our rural district.

What makes you the best candidate for this job? My professional and public service experience makes me uniquely qualified to continue to represent the citizens of District 8. Additionally, my leadership position in the Texas House is beneficial to our district.

What are the two most pressing matters in state government? Our state economy and our children are the top state issues. The same is true for our rural community. Texas leads the nation in new job growth, and I have fought to keep our state and local economy growing by passing balanced state budgets, business tax cuts, and tort reform. For our children, I have fought for local control of our schools and treating teachers as professionals. I also support our state colleges and universities.

Why are you running? I want to continue to be a strong voice in the Texas House of Representatives for District 8 and rural Texas. Our rural district needs to continue to have an experienced leader in the Texas House who knows how to get things done.

Bobby Vickery

Age: 53

Position sought: State Representative, District 8

In which city/community do you live: Frost

Relevant work experience: Owner, Texas Environmental Training & Compliance, LLC (TETC).  Prior to TETC was General Manager for $3.8 billion dollar Solid Waste Company. Responsible for P & L at a $10 million facility, responsible for Environmental Compliance at 10 facilities in Texas. Managed 17 employees. Participated in Legislative rule making before the Legislature as well as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Community service: Co-founder of the Frost Community Center (FCC)/Food Bank, Board Member for FCC. Member of the Frost United Methodist Church, were I serve as Chairman of the Trustees. Supported Navarro County Youth and Friends of Frost Youth

Prior political experience: Served as Frost ISD Trustee, ran for State Rep. 2008 and 2012

What is the most important part of the job you’re seeking? Making sure that our freedom and liberty are preserved and are not diluted by passing so many laws. As the legislature files over 6,000 plus bills and passes over 700 new laws when they meet, it will be my job to vote no on laws that are not in line with the constitution nor with a Christian moral compass. We will become a Nanny State if we keep on passing more laws. We, as elected officials, have to represent our District and its values (principles), not those of special interest groups. One has to ask themselves when voting on a bill: does it meet the requirements of the Constitution? Is it being filed at the right level of Government and how will it affect the Constituents of District 8?

What makes you the best candidate for this job? My faith guides me and my business experience leads me. As a business owner, I understand the need to create more jobs. These have to be quality jobs to keep our young working adults in our community. I will have a District Office and will be accessible to the people. I am a servant and I understand that role. This is an honorable position and not an honorary position.

What are the two most pressing matters in state government? There are more than two pressing matters in our state government. The Texas constitution requires the legislature to provide security, infrastructure, a quality education and protect our natural resources. The 83rd Legislature failed in doing those core constitutional requirements. We have to properly fund education, with more money going to the classroom instead of to bureaucrats and secure the Teacher Retirement Fund as well as funding Infrastructure which includes water and roads.

Why are you running? I can make a difference. I believe that the State Representative is more than just a law maker.  I will be the ambassador to the community, my door will always be open and I will always respond in a timely manner to you the constituent. I believe that we have not had that for sometime now.

Charles Morgan

Age: 70.

Position sought: State Representative, District 8

In which city/community do you live: I live in the Lanely Community on the Morgan Ranch, five miles east of Dew in southern Freestone County.

Relevant work experience: I have performed as a U.S.A.F. engineer manager on major construction programs costing in excess of $3.1 billion all around the world, working with Saudi princes and Thailand government officials. I worked as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice environmental manager, project engineer and energy manager that required making decisions for the entire TDCJ. I proposed legislation on energy conservation in coordination with the State Energy Conservation Office.

Community service: I was a 4-H Soil Judging Program Leader. Our team went to state competition, winning sixth place overall and first place in individual score. I have helped coach baseball and soccer teams. I have assisted citizens with environmental issues all across Texas and the United States, plus New Brunswick, Canada. I represented citizens of Freestone County in contested case hearings for electric power plants before the State Office of Administrative Hearings. I provided site plans, specifications and cost estimates for a county air monitor.

Prior political experience: I served several years as vice-president of the Dew ISD School Board. I proposed amendments to state senate and house noise bills that were accepted by the members and their staffs. I testified before the Texas Sunset Review Commission on Railroad Commission and Public Utility Commission duties.

What is the most important part of the job you’re seeking? It is to protect the health, security and safety of constituents.

What makes you the best candidate for this job? My experience in working with the legislature, my broad and professional work experience and extensive education makes me the better candidate. My work with the legislature and a summary of my broad work experience are noted above. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, and have the equivalent of a master’s degree in management. I graduated from the U.S.A.F. Air Command and Staff College and Air War College.

What are the two most pressing matters in state government? State budgeting, and passing legislation that will make our state a better place to live. We must have a balanced budget each legislative session. Of course, having a better state economy will make Texas a better place to live.

Why are you running? I believe I can make a positive difference in the lives of our citizens.

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