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Chris Woolsey, Corsicana City Council, Pct. 3

Please introduce yourselves. Why are you running for the position of Corsicana City Council? Describe the experiences you will draw upon to represent Precinct 3.

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I’m your Precinct 3 City Councilman and I’m running for another term to continue serving taxpayers. Outside of serving in this office, I’m Warehouse Manager at Collin Street Bakery and a member of First Baptist Church, and before I came to work at the bakery I was a high school teacher and coach. I’m running for re-election because taxpayers deserve someone who will listen to their concerns: lower property taxes, more police and fire funding, and better streets—these are the clear top three issues that I’ve heard from the hundreds of residents I’ve talked to by simply taking the time to knock on their door. I’m proud to have delivered results on each of these taxpayer priorities in my first term.

Each of you have previously mentioned that work needs to continue on the city’s roads and continued economic development would be priorities if you were elected. What would be your focus as a council member to promote the city, increase the tax base while serving existing commercial and industrial businesses to assist economic development? What can be done to encourage that development occurs throughout the city?

Economic development begins with creating an attractive tax and regulatory environment. I’m proud to have delivered a property tax cut in my first term, as well as voted against forced business shutdowns during COVID. I believe that every councilman is an ambassador of the city and we should always be promoting our city and being present in the community. My goal is for Corsicana to become the easiest place in Texas to open a business, which is why one of my ongoing projects in office has been studying our current business regulations and forms and working on a way to streamline the process. I want to see a seamless process that defines Corsicana as the place in Texas to move your company or open a business—where business owners submit less paperwork, pay lower fees, make fewer calls, and feel more appreciated than anywhere else in Texas.

Working through the city’s budget is arguably the most difficult aspect of this job. Please describe your priorities and the process you would use to arrive at those decisions. What issues do you foresee during this state legislative session playing a role in local budgets?

It’s time consuming, but the city budget process is my favorite part of the job—it’s when we get to have real discussions about priorities and the direction of our city. My priorities going into budget season are the priorities that taxpayers in Precinct 3 have overwhelmingly communicated from the hundreds of doors I’ve knocked on—lower property taxes, more funding for police and fire, and more street repairs. I worked hard on these issues this past budget, and our city council delivered results on each of those taxpayer priority items in this most recent budget. I hope the biggest change that local governments see from this current legislative session is an end to the practice of taxpayer funded lobbying. Oftentimes taxpayer dollars are collected from property taxes and then used to fund lobbyists in Austin who advocate against taxpayers’ best interests. These taxpayer funded lobbyists have a history of opposing property tax relief, election integrity, bond transparency, and even funding teacher retirement. Ending taxpayer funded lobbying would be a big win for taxpayers across the state, and will be reflected in local budgets as well.

Finally, what do you consider the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Corsicana? What role do you believe city government should play in mitigating the challenges and accentuating the positives about our community?

The role of city government is simple: provide the public safety and infrastructure to support growth, and eliminate the red tape and redundant bureaucracy that frustrates business owners. There is no magic solution that addresses these issues other than constant work and improvement. We want Corsicana to grow, but we need be properly prepared for growth. Water infrastructure will need some major investments in the coming years to prepare for population growth. Our tax and regulation environment needs to be one that attracts companies, homebuilders, and entrepreneurs to Corsicana. Our police and fire departments need to be properly staffed and funded to ensure the continued quality of service with a growing population. Our fantastic city/county relationship needs to continue as we partner on big projects. I’m excited for the direction the city has been taking over the past couple years, and I look forward to continuing to contribute solutions and growth for our community.

Neal Green, City Council Pct. 3

Please introduce yourselves. Why are you running for the position of Corsicana City Council? Describe the experiences you will draw upon to represent Precinct 3.

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I am Neal Green, Jr. I grew up in Corsicana, attended James L. Collins Catholic School, and graduated from Corsicana High School. After graduating from Texas A&M University and Baylor Law School, I returned to Corsicana to practice law. I’ve been running my own law firm since 2008. My wife, Laura, is a teacher at Corsicana Middle School, and I’ve raised two children here. My older son, Neal III, is at Texas A&M University, and my daughter, Libby, attends Corsicana High School. My father, Dr. Neal Green, Sr., delivered babies in Corsicana for over 40 years, and my mother, Sylvia, worked as a dental hygienist for about the same period of time.

I’m running for Corsicana City Council because I want to give back to my hometown. As the only person in the race from Corsicana, I’m committed to this town for the long run. I want the City to focus on bringing new businesses to town so our citizens can have good jobs that pay them enough to raise their families and reinvest in the town. I also want to focus on supporting the families and businesses who are already here.

I hope that my 18 years of experiences as a practicing attorney and small business owner have given me the experience and judgment necessary to make good decisions for the City of Corsicana.

Each of you have previously mentioned that work needs to continue on the city’s roads and continued economic development would be priorities if you were elected. What would be your focus as a council member to promote the city, increase the tax base while serving existing commercial and industrial businesses to assist economic development?  What can be done to encourage that development occurs throughout the city?

My focus would be on marketing Corsicana to the rest of the State. Corsicana is in a great location for economic expansion and has numerous advantages over other similar towns. We’re 50 miles from a huge population center, yet we are in a rural setting. We have numerous highways and rail facilities that make us the ideal setting for manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation businesses. We have great schools and devoted teachers and administrators. Our focus has to be on putting our best foot forward and aggressively pursuing businesses when we know they are looking for a place to relocate.

Working through the city’s budget is arguably the most difficult aspect of this job. Please describe your priorities and the process you would use to arrive at those decisions. What issues do you foresee during this state legislative session playing a role in local budgets?

The money in the budget belongs to the people of Corsicana, and it would be my job to make sure it is used wisely. The people of Corsicana want improved streets, economic development, and public safety. It would be my job to make sure that when the City spends money, that money is going toward achieving these goals.

Finally, what do you consider the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Corsicana? What role do you believe city government should play in mitigating the challenges and accentuating the positives about our community?

Our challenge is to promote Corsicana to the rest of the world. We need to be focused on providing solid economic growth, improving our streets, and enhancing public safety. As I said in a prior response, Corsicana has a lot to offer. We just need to make sure other people know about it. Our city government should be actively promoting Corsicana to businesses and citizens who are thinking about moving here while supporting the businesses and citizens who have already made Corsicana their home.

Michah Haden, Blooming Grove ISD School Board

Please introduce yourselves. Why are you running for a position of on the Blooming Grove School Board? Please describe the experiences you will draw upon in order to best serve the district’s partners.

My name is Micah Haden. I am a third-generation graduate of Blooming Grove High School. After graduating in 1990, I attended Navarro Junior College and then Louisiana State University where I earned a B.S. in Ag Business. I then attended law school at Texas Tech University where I graduated with honors. I own and operate a small law firm in Corsicana and I also run about 275 cows on a family farm.

I currently serve on the Blooming Grove ISD School Board where I have been a board member for 12 years. In addition, I currently serve on the board of directors for the Navarro Mills Water Supply Corporation and the Dresden Cemetery Association. In the past, I have served on the board of directors for the Navarro County Child Advocacy Center and the Navarro County Bail Bonds Board.

However, my greatest accomplishment has been my family. My wife, Nancy, and I have been married 24 years and we have three sons, Seth, Isaac and Joseph. Seth and Isaac both graduated from Blooming Gove High School. After completing college, Seth has started his own construction business. Isaac is a freshman at Tarleton State University. Joseph is a sixth grader at Blooming Grove Jr. High.

Having grown up in Blooming Grove, I identify with the people from our district. I share the same conservative values that has made our district a great place for children to grow up, gain an education and become productive members of society. I understand the importance of a great education because I have experienced the success imparted from a great education. Blooming Grove provided my career’s educational foundation and taught me the necessity of hard work and discipline to be successful. I owe the school and many of its great teachers such as Bonnie Mathison, Mary Hiler, David Brewer, Jim Owens and many others for my success. I first ran for the board 12 years ago to contribute back some of what was given to me. I hope to continue in that role. As a board member, I have striven to improve our educational goals and discipline at the school as well as maintain the school’s financial integrity. If elected, I will continue to ensure that the children of Blooming Grove are provided the best education available so they can capture their dreams as I have done as a result what Blooming Grove provided.

What issues or concerns have you been asked to address by the people of the community while you were campaigning for this position?

Over the years, the citizens of our district have expressed a desire to improve accountability and discipline and to hold to the conservative, small town values that makes us unique.

I believe the parents and citizens of our district want us as board members, administrators, teachers and staff to hold each other accountable to the children of the district. Accountability means we have to earn our jobs each and every day and not be given something because of who we are. Each person, whether you’re a board member, principal, teacher, coach, bus driver or custodian, serves an important role in making the student’s experience at Blooming Grove a success. This only occurs by doing our jobs to the best of our abilities each and every day. By holding each other accountable, not only do we provide the best possible education for the students, but we also teach the students with which we are entrusted that hard work and dedication leads to success. No one succeeds by simply being there. This is as important of a lesson as the math, science or English lessons taught because success is never gained by mere participation.Discipline is, likewise, just as important. As adult members of society, we find that there are consequences for our actions or inactions. Society does not give us a free pass because we are poor, of color, from an abusive home or because of the many other circumstances that plague us. We don’t become successful and productive members of society by making excuses. While these factors may be a hurdle or hardship, we only become successful by overcoming. Good discipline, not only provides an atmosphere free of distractions that is conducive to learning, it imparts the lesson that only the individual, regardless of the circumstances from which they came, is responsible for their own actions and ultimately their own success or failure.

Finally, the citizens of our district expect us to commit to holding to the conservative values of our small town. They believe it is imperative that we continue to teach and exemplify the importance of our families and faith.

What do you hope to bring to the Blooming Grove School Board this term to further assist the faculty staff and students?

The educational system is unlike any other industry due to the maze of legislative and administrative regulations and restrictions. I bring to the board 12 years of experience and leadership that can only be gained by having served on the board. I hope to continue to be a leader and an example to the new board members so that they can become the board members that will lead this district to a successful future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously presented both challenges and opportunities for school boards across the state and nation. Discuss how the last year has influenced your perspective about the role of health, and local control of education, and describe the process you will use to evaluate the issues that come before the board.

Serving on the board at Blooming Grove ISD during the pandemic made me realize that due to the limited local control of our schools, our students, just as most others, lost a year of their education that will probably never be regained by not having the students in the classroom. Neither at-home nor virtual learning, while better than nothing, can replace what the student learns from our talented teachers in the classroom. Our board will have to take advantage of every opportunity to ensure each student recaptures as much of the education that was lost due to the pandemic and the lack of local control that would have allowed our local board to decide what was best for our students and not someone sitting in Austin or Washington D.C. under different circumstances. The students at Blooming Grove are our future and the pandemic damaged their education and our future. It is incumbent on us to strive to make up that lost ground before these students leave our halls.

Thomas (T. C.) Lawhon, Blooming Grove ISD School Board

Please introduce yourselves. Why are you running for a position of on the Blooming Grove School Board? Please describe the experiences you will draw upon in order to best serve the district’s partners.

My name is Thomas (T. C.) Lawhon. I am a 1998 graduate of Blooming Grove High school. I am currently the Chief of Police for the City of Blooming Grove where I have served the community since November of 2008. I am also a Registered Nurse for Baylor University Medical Center – Dallas. I am running for the Blooming Grove ISD school board to be more involved in my school district and to further serve my community. I have over twenty years of experience in both law enforcement as a police officer and as an emergency room/trauma nurse, nearly 19 as a Registered Nurse and nearly two as a Licensed Vocational Nurse. I have been involved in numerous committees involving process improvement in nursing as well as police work. I am the parent of a Blooming Grove graduate and two current students.

What issues or concerns have you been asked to address by the people of the community while you were campaigning for this position?

One of the main issues I have been asked to address is safety of our students and staff along with being a voice for the staff and tax payers. I am committed to providing a safe environment for all of our students, faculty and visitors. I also am committed to supporting the needs of our students and staff of the district without bias. I believe in doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is not always the popular thing. Our district has been seen by many as a revolving door for faculty. This creates unnecessary instability for our children. Our faculty deserves recognition for their tireless effort in educating our children.

What do you hope to bring to the Blooming Grove School Board this term to further assist the faculty staff and students?

I hope to bring a fair, non-biased, relationship with our community and school district to strengthen working relationships and to represent the students, staff and all BGISD taxpayers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously presented both challenges and opportunities for school boards across the state and nation. Discuss how the last year has influenced your perspective about the role of health, and local control of education, and describe the process you will use to evaluate the issues that come before the board.

Working on the frontlines in one of the busiest emergency departments in the state this past year during the pandemic has taught me that there is always a need for improvement in disease prevention as well as the need to be flexible to change. With so much unknown about the illness it is imperative that the illness be taken seriously and to use precautions necessary to prevent the transmission of COVID. We must remain diligent in our efforts. The decisions made locally must be based off of science and not one’s personal feelings about the virus. The board maintains the responsibility to protect the students and faculty. The process used to evaluate the issues that arise should be a process that is based on the recommendations by the state and local health authorities. It is better to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

Mary Spence, Blooming Grove ISD School Board

Please introduce yourself. Why are you running for a position on the school board? Please describe the experiences you will draw upon in order to best serve as district partners?

Mary Spence, small business owner originally from Corsicana. Moved to Blooming Grove seven years ago. I moved to Blooming Grove because I wanted my kids to go to the Blooming Grove School District. They had good testing scores, they didn’t require uniforms, the smaller classrooms. Everybody knows everybody. People are friendly. All of my kids are very involved in everything. Having a smaller student population gives my kids a chance to participate in things. Callye graduated in 2020 in the pandemic. She was an officer in FCCLA, cheerleader, all sports, National Honor Society. Reagenn is 16 and in the 10th grade, plays all sports and was a member of Junior Honor Society and Bentley is 10 and in the 4th grade. I wanted to find a way to get involved in my community. I saw the Blooming Grove board election and decided to run for it. I want to help make important decisions for the students and teachers. I’m a working person and I’ve seen the struggles that some people have. I worked for The Salvation Army for over six years. There are parents with kids who are struggling and I think that needs to be addressed. I have experience with budgeting, preparing reports and did strategic planning for 56 counties; working with their budgets and helping them spend their money to its most effective use.

What issues or concerns have you been asked to address by the people of the community while you were campaigning for this position?

Health and Safety issues are important. I believe our teachers and administrators did a good job with COVID-19 and they still are.

What do you hope to bring to the Blooming Grove School Board this term to further assist the faculty and students?

I would like to find ways to increase parent involvement. You hear things around town but some people may be nervous about sharing their concerns. I hope I could help build a bridge of communication between parents and the school board and administrators.

I understand that research shows involved parents can affect a child’s involvement and performance in school. Students with parents who participate in their child’s functions and education achieve more, are more likely to graduate, continue to higher education and have success later in life.

The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously presented both challenges and opportunities for school boards across the state and nation. Discuss how the last year influenced your perspective about the role of health, and local control of education, and describe the process you will use to evaluate the issues that come before the board.

Last year when school ended. BGISD helped with food for everybody, gave sack lunches and more. It was a tremendous help for the gap in people’s food budget. When a problem arises, I usually look at both sides of the issue. I try to be understanding, gather facts and then make a decision.

Danika Herod-Watson, Blooming Grove ISD School Board

Please introduce yourselves. Why are you running for a position of on the Blooming Grove School Board? Please describe the experiences you will draw upon in order to best serve the district’s partners.

Hi, I am Danika Herod-Watson and I’m running int the upcoming school board election for BGISD. Born and raised in Barry, Texas, I am a homegrown BG Lion and a parent to one current and one future lion. I look forward to serving the student body of 941 and giving back to the school district that laid the foundation for my future. I am passionate about public education and want to work with the community to help improve student achievement. I would be honored to have your vote on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Go Lions!

What issues or concerns have you been asked to address by the people of the community while you were campaigning for this position?

I look forward to serving our small community as a Board of Trustee on the BGISD school board, if elected on May 1, 2021. Safety and education are my top priority, as I have based my career off of these two staples. It would be a pleasure to bring my education and perspective on the subjects to the board. I want to grow individuals who will someday serve our community, giving back to the rich foundation set forth by BGISD.

What do you hope to bring to the Blooming Grove School Board this term to further assist the faculty staff and students?

In my as a Nurse Practitioner, my career is based around pediatrics with children ranging from infancy through 18 years of age. I spend every day investing in the health and wellbeing of the children of our community. As an advanced practice provider here in Navarro county, I pride myself on contributing to the growth and development of our future.

I am extremely fond of education and believe in being a lifelong learner. Not only do I implement educational growth in our daily well child exams, I also extend my knowledge as an educator at Navarro College School of Nursing. In this position, I've spent the past 9 years guiding and teaching new nurses the scope of practice. I understand the importance of education and establishing a solid foundation for success in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously presented both challenges and opportunities for school boards across the state and nation. Discuss how the last year has influenced your perspective about the role of health, and local control of education, and describe the process you will use to evaluate the issues that come before the board.

As a Health Care Provider for our County the last year has presented many learning curves. I have been on the frontline of this Pandemic, developing and changing processes as new information arises. This has given me resources to see the effects of the pandemic from a different perspective. With my unique background I will be able to efficiently guide our board, keeping our students and faculty safe as we move forward.

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