Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Why and why are the questions I have been asked most since making my intentions to run for office public.  Why are you announcing so early, and why are you running for Milam County Judge?  I can understand both questions since it is early to announce for the 2018 primaries, and the next few years for Milam County does not look too promising.

Why so early?  Well, as many of you know I have run campaigns in the past.  From that experience I have learned that it takes a long time to get your message out to the voters.  Texas campaign laws require candidates to have a campaign treasurer filed before they can spend or accept campaign funds.  One way I plan on getting my message out is by running columns in the local newspapers on a monthly basis during 2017.

Why do I want to be Judge in a county where the future does not look too bright?  First and foremost I love Milam County.  Fell in love with the county in 1969 when we first purchased property in the county.  I graduated from high school in 1969 and spent that summer enjoying the beauty and serenity of Milam County.

I believe in the people of Milam County and the future of Milam County.  While things do not look too great right now what happens in the future will be dependent on us.  We can sit back and let things happen or we can be creactive.  Yeah I know that is not a word.  Something I came up with during my graduate work that is a combination of create and react.

We can either sit back and react to what happens in the future which means we are reactive, or we can attempt to direct the future now by creating plans for a desired outcome.  By not looking ahead we have to react to everything that comes our way.  On the other hand we can try to create what we want in the future and be creactive.

We know Alcoa did not last forever, and we know Luminant will not last forever.  Housing out prisoners is something else that could end tomorrow.  The loss of either of these revenue sources for the county will be devastating if we are not prepared.  I will be the first to admit I do not have all the answers.

If elected I plan on bringing leaders from across the county together to discuss our options for the future.  In my past tenure I utilized citizen input on renovation of the courthouse and on the construction of the new jail.  Committees were formed by the Commissioners Court to get public input on both of these major projects.  By bringing folks together we made a difference in Milam County, and we can do it again.

Monday, April 25, 2016


Yeah it has been awhile since my last blog.  Been things to blog about, but been busy.  However I would like to share some thoughts about the recent activity with the Milam County Health Department.  Been a lot going on.

First of all the Judge’s report of March 30th on the Milam County website is not exactly correct.  The Commissioners did not vote to turn the Health Department over to Region 7.  On the Milam County website his March 30th article states, “In another move to reduce costs, at Monday’s regular meeting of Commissioner’s Court we voted to have Region 7 of the Texas Department of State Health Services take over the operation of the Milam County Health Department.”  They in fact tabled the motion to the next meeting where the court voted 3 to 2 to keep the Health Department as is.

I do have to add that the article printed in the local papers was corrected to say the issue was tabled.  I wonder why the article on the website says something different?

Commissioners Fisher, Muegge, and Shuffield voted for keeping the department, and Watkins and the Judge voted against.  Muegge stated he had talked to a lot of his constituents and that they were in favor of keeping the department as is.  The other two yes votes said pretty much the same. 

If you had attended the meetings leading up to the vote at the last court meeting you would have seen there was a definite push by the Judge and current Health Department Interim Director Mary Beth Sexton to move the department to the control of Region 7.  Previous workshops on moving the department had many uncertainties mentioned.  Every time Region 7 representatives were asked a question the answer was qualified by an if, a maybe, contingent upon or other qualifying lead in that left the average person understanding that there was no definitive answer.

With all the uncertainty about the move three Commissioners should be congratulated on their votes.  The fact is that if the doom and gloom theory of Luminant’s demise does come to pass Region 7 will be required by law to take over the department anyway.  So why the rush?  Could there be an alternative motive?

Other questions were also raised during the meetings.  Just how much would the cutting of the department save?  Several amounts were mentioned during the meetings including $162,000, $167,000, and at last report the Judge told the media the savings would be $200,000.  What’s the real savings?

Taking into account any of the savings you would have to subtract the income generated from the Health Department’s activities.  2015 ending year reports showed an income of over $99,000 for the department, but never once during the meetings was this information shared with the Commissioners.

It is true that we do not know what the future holds, and yes Luminant could win the law suit, but I truly believe that there will be an agreement reached that allows the county to collect a majority of the remaining taxes Luminant owes for this year.  That being said, even if they do win and Milam County comes up the two million short the Judge keeps mentioning and cuts have to be made Region 7 will still take over the Health Department responsibilities.
That however, will only cover a part of the numerous cuts that will have to be made if Luminant wins.  So even if Luminant does win cuts will have to be made but we will still have a Health Department, or some semblance of what we have now.

Friday, February 5, 2016


Early Voting begins February 16 for the 2016 primary election.  As I wrote in my last blog this is going to be one of the most important elections for our country that most of us have ever seen.  Your vote does count, but only if you cast it.

As we draw closer to voting time I am beginning to hear more about the elections.  On Monday I was talking with an individual about the upcoming election and I was asked about my opinion on a local election.  Just happened to be a contest that I will not be able to cast a vote in since it is a precinct race and I do not live in that precinct.

My response to him was that I really wasn’t thinking about that race cause “I didn’t have a dog in that fight,“ it was out of my precinct.  His response made me start thinking.  He said yes you do.  Even though the winner may not be directly responsible to you they will still be representing Milam County and you should care about that.  You know he was right.

The elected officials of Milam County represent all of Milam County whether they are precinct or countywide officials. Think about it.   A county official elected to any county office represents Milam County   Along with that representation comes potential liability for the county.  While in the performance of official duties an elected official could wind up in a situation that would result in a law suit and cost Milam County a lot of money.  All the taxpayers foot that bill.

Another point he made was that in emergency situations it was an all hands on deck program for Milam County.  What he meant was that in the past emergency circumstances have required all county officials to take a part in meeting that emergency.  During a train derailment some years ago county officials were required to perform certain services above and beyond their normal roles.  This was also true during the county’s response to hurricane Rita.

Guess my point is that at all levels we have a dog in the fight beyond those that we can vote for.  While it might seem as though the state and federal levels are beyond our reach certainly the local races are within our reach.  Even if you can’t vote for a candidate  you can help candidates at all levels by contributing time, cash and word of mouth recommendations to friends and family to help their campaign.

I know we are all busy and seem to never have enough time to get everything done, but we need to make time to learn all we can about our candidates at all levels.  Talk to our neighbors and urge them to support the best candidate for the job.  Bottom line is we all need to take our government more seriously at every level and get involved and cast our vote.  Remember it’s for the people by the people, and to get there WE the people got to get involved.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


This is going to be one of the most important elections in history for our country.  Can you imagine another four years of the past eight?  I know I can’t, and only hope and pray for the sake of all of us that Hillary or the other guy does not win.  That being said you know who I am not going to vote for.

I will perform my civic duty and vote in the upcoming election, and if we have any chance left for this country we all need to exercise our right to vote.   Our national and state elections are very important, but so are our local elections.  There might be someone in Milam County who personally knows one of the candidates for president, but I doubt it.

However, as voters we can get to know our local candidates.  On the state and national level that is a bit harder to do.  We can only go by what we learn about them in the media.  On the local level it is a different story.  You can and should get to know your local candidates.  There will be a number of opportunities for you to meet them and learn more about their position on the office they are running for.

One of the most important things you can do about local offices is to learn what they do.  You can check online to find out what the constitutional mandates are for your local elected officials.   Knowing what the responsibilities of each office are will better allow you to select the best qualified candidate for that office.

Key words here are being the best qualified candidate.  Just because someone is an incumbent does not necessarily mean they are the best qualified.  They do have a record in that office that you can check to see if they have in fact been doing the job.  There are also candidates running this year for some offices that have never served as an elected official.

A lot of you know some of the candidates and may consider them friends.  Just because someone is a friend does not always make them the best choice for the office.  As a matter of fact sometimes the fact that they are a friend and you know them very well might be a good reason to not vote for them.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we need to look at elections as job interviews.  You wouldn’t hire someone to work for you if they didn’t meet the qualifications for the job that you were hiring them for.  Why vote for someone just because they are a friend if they can’t or haven’t been doing the job.  These folks will be working for us for the next four years in very important jobs.  These are jobs that are paid for by our tax dollars.  We need to get our monies worth.

Just because you know someone or they have held the job in the past does not mean they are the most qualified for the job.  Take time to get to know the candidates and the job they are “applying” for.  Then cast your vote for the person you believe is most qualified for the job.  An uneducated voter can be their own worst enemy. 

Voting is easier than ever in Milam County.  You can vote early or vote on election day at any of the polling places.  Do what you can to learn all you can about the candidates and their office at all levels of government.  Then most important of all be sure to cast your vote.

Friday, January 1, 2016


Been a good while since my last blog, but it has not been because there has been nothing to blog about.  Its just that my Mother always taught us to just not say anything if you can't say something nice.

There has been a great deal going on since my last blog in July.  Since then we have adopted a budget, lost two more county officials and finalized the ballot for the March primary.

I’ll leave the officials alone because I don’t really know all the facts and issues involved.  Lots of rumors going around and some claim to know all the facts, but there are so many variations floating around it’s hard to define the truth.  Some say the Judge took them down because of past conflicts, but I truly do not believe that.  Most of what I do believe is that there was some inappropriate behavior on their part that led to their demise.

On the budget note it is easy to define the truth because it is all on paper.  However, it is hard to add it all up.  The Judge has been preaching doom and gloom again with the situation with Luminant and their pending bankruptcy and relating how broke Milam County is.  So broke in fact that more county positions in mandated offices and optional offices were cut.  You got to give him credit for being consistent with his doom and gloom theory.  That’s his story and he is sticking to it.

With these cuts savings should have been somewhere in the 200,000 dollar range.  Yet, the general fund which should have seen these savings went up right at 45,000 dollars.  In addition the 2016 budget is the highest budget in Milam County history.  You can check all this with the County Auditor’s Office.

Now the funny part to this is that there was a move, a brilliant move in my opinion I might add, made by Commissioner Donald Shuffield to not adopt the Judge’s proposed 2016 budget.  His motion if approved would have kept the 2015 budget for the 2016 budget year.  You just had to be there to see the circus that erupted after he made his motion.

Commissioner Shuffield was visually verbally chastised by the Judge for voicing his opinion.  Yet Shuffield’s motion would have made for a smaller budget, kept the Veterans Office employee and all mandated office employees in place and basically been in line with the Judge’s statements that the county is in dire fiscal shape. It just does not compute to me.

Granted the Judge is correct in assuming one scenario that Luminant pays nothing and the county will be in dire fiscal straits.  He also used the capital murder trial as an excuse to cut positions in past years.  He was advised that the case would most likely plead out and it did.  There was also the rumor of Luminant going bankrupt before it actually did which again was a reason to cut.  Three years of cutting and we have the highest budget in Milam County history.

Well at least it is a new year.  We made it through 2015.  Now we just have to hope and pray for a Happy New Year in 2016.  Heavy on the pray.