With primary elections wrapped up, Republican incumbent Jack Cagle and Democrat M. I. Badat have emerged as the two candidates competing for the commissioner seat in Harris County Precinct 4. Cagle has served as commissioner since October 2011 after being appointed to replace Jerry Eversole. Badat has lived in Harris County since 1980. He has worked in business-oriented professions in the private sector, managing budgets and guiding his business through growth.

M. I. Badat–D

What are the top issues facing the precinct moving forward?

With Harris County being the second fastest-growing county among the most populous counties of our nation, I think the top challenges currently facing the county stem from accommodating population growth. This includes modes of transportation, prison systems and services offered for the welfare of the community.

For example, over the years, I, as a beneficiary of [Harris County Hospital District], witnessed the effects of a growing population at HCHD locations and the resulting strain on the system.

The most important responsibilities of a county commissioner are to contribute in ensuring the most efficient allocation of the resources available to the county.

What skills and experiences do you have that will benefit you as a county commissioner?

Mainly my education, my devotion to public service assignments and [my] experience in managing budgets for businesses. I have done that under the umbrella of nonprofit organizations and also through volunteer initiatives that were taken up by the community or our family. Thus, we volunteered when the county opened its doors to people displaced by hurricanes such as Katrina and Ike.

If elected, what are your top goals to accomplish?

My top priority would be to align the county budget with the priority and aspirations of the residents of the county. I realize that big and diverse Harris County has peculiar challenges when it comes to allocating resources.

I would work toward improving the county infrastructure. I would also like to actively contribute in ensuring greater transparency in the manner in which the county awards the contracts.

Jack Cagle-R

What are the top issues facing the precinct moving forward?

We are growing at such a clip that we have to stay in tune with transportation. The challenge is to have the connections, relationships and the skills to make sure we can continue to put the roads and the streets and infrastructure in place.

We have two types of water issues to deal with—too much water and not enough water. We have regions that still have problems with flooding. As we continue to grow, we need to make sure we have reasonable, sane policies in place.

We also had a serious drought three years ago. We need to make sure, if we do have a five-year drought sometime in the future, we have adequate water supplies.

What skills and experiences do you have that benefit you as a county commissioner?

Many of the skills I developed as a judge are important in my current role. Among them are problem-solving skills and experience with pulling together different types of bodies to get something accomplished.

One example is how we were able to deal with illegal activity at massage parlors in our region. I was able to have a meeting with [numerous local officials] to get a regulation passed. Since we've done that, we have had great success in cleaning up FM 1960 and other areas.

What accomplishments are you most proud of related to public service?

Polls say mobility is the No. 1 concern of a county resident. I was part of a multi-party conversation to help pull together the current package of Hwy. 290, Hwy. 249, the Grand Parkway and the expansion of the Hardy Toll Road into a memorandum of understanding with TxDOT.

For quality of life, I'm proud of the progress we've made on Spring Creek Greenway. We are trying to put together a contiguous, connected trail system.

Precinct 4 statistics

Total population: 1,117,000Unincorporated area population: 788,000Precinct size: 389 square miles