Meet the candidates for Williamson County Commissioner, Precinct 1

Two candidates are vying for the Precinct 1 seat on the Williamson County Commissioners Court to replace Commissioner Lisa Birkman, who is retiring from the court after three terms and serving 12 years. Republican Landy Warren and Democrat Terry Cook will face off in the Nov. 8 general election.
Answers were edited for length.







Landy WarrenLandy Warren


Occupation: banking executive
Past experience: 34 years of financial institution regulatory management and community bank executive
Party affiliation: Republican
Campaign website: www.landywarren.com


Give a description of yourself and your relevant experience.
I have 34 years of financial institution executive experience and have served in this market for 16 years. I have served on 15 boards, commissions and committees, chairing 11.


Why are you running for county commissioner?
I enjoy serving Williamson County and seek to continue building it to insure the future presents my children and grandchildren the same opportunities it has presented to my wife and me.


What makes you qualified for this position?
[Three-plus] decades of executive management and community involvement. In addition to nonprofit board experience, I have served on the boards of hospitals [and] foundations, and [I] have represented the Williamson County Commissioners Court as the chairman of the 2013 Williamson County Road and Park Bond Committee, and [I] presently serve as president of the board of the Lone Star Regional Water Authority.


What is your platform?
Williamson County is known worldwide for its excellence yet is one of the fastest-growing counties in Texas. My goal is to help manage this growth while maintaining the accolades of excellence and opportunity.


What are the top issues the county is facing?
Managing the growth is our top challenge. We must stay ahead by implementing infrastructure, supporting education at all levels, [and] focusing on economic development to continue recruiting great jobs and benefits to the area.


If elected, what would be your top priority?
Knowing solutions for the top issues are available and underway, my top priority would be to create a sustainable diversification of our long-term water supplies to ensure that the citizens of Williamson County will always have plenty of affordable water for their homes and businesses.


Why should people vote for you?
I have the personal and professional experience and temperament to do the job and am very well known and supported by the present leaders of Williamson County, which is as good of a reference as I can provide to the voters that I have not met.







Terry CookTerry Cook


Occupation: small-business owner
Past experience: contract negotiator with national and international companies; technical marketing and support with national and international sales teams; generated proposals for business improvements as a technical and corporate analyst; managed people, budgets and programs
Party affiliation: Democratic
Campaign website: www.terryforwilco.com


Give a description of yourself and your relevant experience.
I am energetic, enthusiastic, outgoing and a problem-solver. I definitely am inclined to see the glass as half-full. These qualities have served me well. I am a scientist and engineer by training who has worked in the tech industry, academia and government. I have worked successfully in each of these areas as well as when I’ve volunteered locally in neighborhood functions and my church families. ... I work cooperatively with others to develop and organize successful strategies, plans and events. I am a people person.


Why are you running for county commissioner?
After decades of Republican domination, the Commissioners Court has failed to be responsive to the increasing diversity of our growing population and has saddled us with the highest outstanding tax-supported debt of all Texas counties close to us in size. It is time for our government to better reflect the needs of all citizens in this rapidly growing county and to introduce a fiscally responsible leader to our Commissioners Court. I want to be the strong, assertive voice of Precinct 1 to ensure that “business as usual” for WilCo will be done for the benefit of all its taxpayers.


What makes you qualified for this position?
With a terrific education, I have experienced challenging employment opportunities and gained broad community experiences that have taught me to listen carefully, draw reasoned questions and develop pointed analyses. This will enable me to scrutinize contract bids [and] budget requests and assess other business issues that come before the Commissioners Court. I will listen carefully to constituents and to Williamson County employees. I am highly organized and love working with people to solve problems. I am inquisitive and strive for solutions.


What is your platform?
I want to be a part of a more responsive, more transparent WilCo. I want to better balance the desires and needs of our businesses, the county and our residents. Our tax base is expanding with growth, and we need to focus on reducing the tax burden on individual property owners.


What are the top issues the county is facing?
1. Accommodating growth—traffic congestion caused by few secondary roads force drivers to seek I-35, funneling too much traffic into Round Rock. We need to acquire land, prior to housing and business developments absorbing that land, for a secondary grid of roads distributing traffic away from I-35 and neighborhood streets. 2. Fair and equitable property appraisals—we need a citizen-led formal review of current procedures to implement reforms. Annual increases in taxes paid by residents is unsustainable. 3. Lack of transparency—the public should be able to easily follow the decision making of the court when it is spending our tax money.


If elected, what would be your top priority?
I will labor diligently to assure that all contracts signed by the county represent necessary work or needs. Furthermore, those contracts must be at a fair price, and the contractors must have a record of demonstrated quality work that is completed on time and within budget.


Why should people vote for you?
I will be the hardest-working county commissioner they have ever seen. I am approachable, inclusive and genuinely care about my constituents’ concerns. ... I will lobby for the funding needed to fix drainage, reduce flooding, correct unsafe sidewalks and ease traffic congestion in Precinct 1, the densest-populated district containing the majority of the county’s older neighborhoods.

By Caitlin Perrone
Caitlin covers Cedar Park and Leander city councils and reports on education, transportation, government and business news. She is an alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin. Most recently, Caitlin produced a large-scale investigative project with The Dallas Morning News and led education coverage in the Brazos Valley at The Bryan-College Station Eagle. After interning with Community Impact Newspaper for two summers, she joined the staff as a reporter in 2015.


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