Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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May 10, 2012

Elections 2012 - Precinct 1 County Commissioner Q&As

A field of four GOP candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for Precinct 1 Navarro County Commissioner.
The winner will face Democrat Harold Tate in the November election.

Larry Bailey

Age: 65

In which community do you live? Rice, since 1969

Relevant work experience: I worked 47 years in the automotive industry, 41 of those in management.

Community Service: I have been a deacon of the First Baptist Church of Rice since the mid 1970s where I have also served as Sunday School superintendent, janitor, plumber, lawn care personnel, maintenance man and Elder. Served on the advisory board of the Cedar Valley Community College in Lancaster for the first two years it was open. Co-founder of the Richland Chambers Little League Association, and president for the first year. Mike Dickens Memorial Youth Association.

Prior political experience: Twelve years as mayor of Rice; four years as council member for Rice; elected to the Rice school board in the 1970s, and served as vice president of the board, and building chairman; Navarro County Advisory Board, regional steering committee.

What is the most important part of the job you’re seeking: Citizens’ perception of government officials is that they do not care about them. My goal is to change that perception by showing that I do care about their needs and wants. During election time citizens often pick the candidates that “blow the most smoke,” but too often find the same old broken promises. I would like to replace those broken promises by presenting a vision and plan and executing those plans. Without a plan we will not go forward.

What makes you the best candidate for the job? I have 41 years of experience in local business. I have served on the School board, city council, mayor pro-tem and mayor. I have set, maintained and kept budgets. I have set tax rates in the best interests of the public. There is a difference between public moneys and public moneys but both should be handled with integrity. I am a conservative. Other candidates have spent up to $40,000 to buy your vote. I have spent a mere $1,000. I am conservative, conservative, conservative.

Are there aspects of the job you would like to see changed: We need more leadership to help encourage Lee McCleary to bring in more business and help maintain existing businesses that have made Navarro County their home. If we create a larger tax base (new businesses) we can lower every citizens’ tax rate. By lowering the tax rate it will bring in yet more businesses and, in turn, lower our tax rate even more. Hello! 45-cent tax rate goal. Change, yes, it’s a must.

Why are you running? Counties provide essential services that we cannot live without — police protection, local business development, roads. Counties should protect the value of our properties through thoughtful rules that benefit everyone. Counties strive to keep taxes low while meeting the needs and demands of our citizens. It is evident that keeping taxes low while meeting citizens’ demands for services will always be my core value.

Jason Grant

Age: 44

In which community do you live? Chatfield, over 30 years in precinct 1

Relevant work experience: Public service, the various budgets and maintaining the roads/bridges. I have provided unparalleled public service to the taxpayers for 22 years. I own rental property, owner finance homes and run some cattle. I manage the budget for these businesses. I have served on budget committees for the city. I’ve worked in every area of construction; from dirt and gravel work, slabs, concrete, drainage, culverts, welding; to building houses from the ground up.

Community service: Dedicated law enforcement officer for 22 years. Longtime member of Northside Baptist Church. President of the Chatfield/Tupelo Community Center. Little League Baseball Coach for 11 years. Involved in Navarro County Youth Expo, Humane Society, Animal Shelter, United Way, Relay for Life, all Navarro County Volunteer Fire Departments, Red Cross, Corsicana Emergency Corps, Boys and Girls Club, member of Masonic Lodge #174 and Salvation Army volunteer.

Prior political experience: I am proud to say I am not a politician and hope to never become one. However, I have worked closely with all Navarro County officials and agencies throughout my career. And I am experienced at being a conservative Republican.

What is the most important part of the job you’re seeking: Customer service, without a doubt. Half of my life has been dedicated to serving the public. I’m very good at it and I enjoy it. If you call me at 4 a.m. and say a tree fell across your road I’ll have it cut up and out of your way before you leave for work. When you get home it may be split and stacked on your porch for the winter; that’s just how I am.

What makes you the best candidate for the job? I listen; to your opinions and concerns. I am a fixer, a doer and a problem solver. I get things done. I will not be out-worked. You don’t have to look any further than this campaign to see that. No candidate in this race has worked harder or longer than me. You will get that same strong work ethic if I take office. I am qualified in public service experience, budget experience and construction experience.

Are there aspects of the job you would like to see changed: The commissioners position needs to be more involved in the aesthetics of our community. Some people think that the commissioner’s only responsibility is roads/bridges; in reality, they are responsible for much more; the budgets for just about everything in the county, decisions that affect all taxpayers. I have construction/equipment experience, but this isn’t an operator’s position. New roads/bridges are seldom built. Trashy ditches and cluttered creek beds don’t attract new businesses.

Why are you running? I love Navarro County. It’s our home so I want to make it the best county it can be. I want safe roads in good condition. I want this community cleaned up with nice entryways into town. I want new businesses and prosperity. I want to run for the man who wants to see this too but is too busy working two jobs to run himself. I am running for you.

Johnny Lake

Age: 53

In which community do you live? I live just outside the west city limits of Corsicana.

Relevant work experience: My first job was working road construction with my father and uncle in the Dallas area, where I was part of the construction crew that did the grade and dirt work to pave streets.

Community service: Past president and vice president Navarro County Peace Officers Association, member Lone Star Cowboy Church, volunteer on Relay for Life team.

Prior political experience: As of this time, I have no political experience, but believe I am capable of doing the job at hand.

What is the most important part of the job you’re seeking: The most important part of the commissioner’s job is to see that the wishes of the taxpayers are carried out, to use their tax dollars wisely while seeing the county government is run and maintained efficiently. To listen to the complaints and compliments of the citizens of Precinct 1 and to address those issues in a timely and effective manner.

What makes you the best candidate for the job? I have been employed with the county for 33 years and I feel I am more familiar with Precinct 1 and the citizens. I am involved in the budget process to a small part, but am familiar with what is required of making up the annual budget and work within the budget. My longtime involvement in county government, more than just the sheriff’s office, puts me heads above the rest in the way  county government is run.

Are there aspects of the job you would like to see changed: I believe that I would just have to be in this job for a time to see if any or what changes could be made to make this position run more efficiently. I do not plan to come into this office if elected and begin making changes where changes don’t need to be made. I will listen to my employees’ concerns and make my decision from there.

Why are you running? To continue my service with Navarro County and the citizens of precinct 1 as I have for the last 33 years, with confidence, professionalism, and most of all, integrity.

Darrell Shelton

Age: 54

In which city do you live:  Corsicana, Pct. 1

Relevant work experience:  Growing up, my family owned bulldozers, motor graders, scrapers, compactors, and backhoes. After college, I worked for 5 years building parking lots, government dams, roads and pads for drilling rigs (all meeting set specifications); I also operated equipment every summer for the past 27 years.  I am completing 27 years as an educator with Corsicana ISD. While serving as science department chairman, I have successfully operated from our curriculum budget, despite drastic cuts in public education.

Community service:  Member of First Baptist Church; Navarro County Youth Expo-Co-Chairman of Rabbit Division; Christmas in Action Volunteer; Special Olympics Volunteer; Corsicana Residential Treatment Center Volunteer; Former Youth Sunday School teacher-20 Years; Supporter of Humane Society of Navarro County.

Prior Political Experience:  None

What is the most important part of the job you’re seeking?  The most important part of this job will be serving the people of Navarro County with my education, integrity, and hard work. I am a good communicator and will use this skill as I try to find the best solutions to problems faced in our county. I will look at all the issues, visit with my constituents, and make decisions that would be most beneficial and cost effective for the citizens of Navarro County.

What makes you the best candidate for this job?  As a college graduate with six teaching certificates, I have the knowledge to research issues, make wise decisions in budget planning, and set yearly tax rates for the county. As an educator, my experience in working with parents and teachers will be an asset in working with the citizens of Navarro County and Commissioners’ Court. Based on my experience with heavy equipment, I am highly qualified in maintaining and constructing roads and bridges for Navarro County.

Are there aspects of the job you would like to see changed?  I would like to share equipment used to put down oiled sand on the roads. Currently it is spread with a motor grader and cannot maintain an even thickness; motor grader tires compact it, which leaves the road rough. A shared laydown machine would maintain an even thickness, and a steel wheel roller would compact the sand, creating a smooth surface. With careful scheduling, I feel that sharing equipment can be accomplished and cost effective.

Why are you running?  I am seeking the office of County Commissioner because I am qualified for the job by experience. I understand the importance of doing things right the first time so tax dollars are not unnecessarily wasted. As commissioner, I will work hard for you with integrity and pride that this job deserves. I will retire May 31, ready to fully commit myself, my time, and my attention to do the best job possible for Navarro County.

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