2 candidates hopeful for Comal County commissioner Precinct 4 seat as Election Day approaches

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Two candidates are in the running for the Comal County commissioner Precinct 4 seat. Incumbent Jen Crownover, a Republican, will face Dorothy Carroll, a Democrat, in this month’s general election.

With Election Day approaching, both candidates told Community Impact Newspaper why they feel they are the best person for the position.

Jen Crownover

Jen Crownover (via Courtesy Jen Crownover)

Jen Crownover, R, incumbent

Education

I have my bachelor’s of business administration with concentrations on marketing and communications.

Experience

Before taking office I had my own business—consulting in the areas of business planning, marketing, advertising and public relations. I was also incredibly involved in the community, including several capital projects in the county parks. That is where my curiosity in county government started. From there I attended Commissioners Court consistently for nearly four years before taking office.

Length of residency in your district

My husband and I met and married in New Braunfels while attending college (I was at Texas Lutheran University, he was at Southwest Texas State University). We left for a few years to finish our educations and returned to Comal County in 2006.

Why are you running for office?

Been there, done that. This round, I’m looking to keep my job so I may continue working for the good folks of Comal County. I initially ran for this position, not because I was fighting something, but because I felt that I could make a positive difference for our citizens. I also felt that my unique skillsets brought a perspective that was much-needed on Commissioners Court and that I could complement the team of county leadership in positive ways. I feel that I’ve delivered on this and will continue to build on the strong foundation I’ve set during this first term.

How do you feel your education and experience have prepared you for this position?

Before taking office I spent much of my time involved in the community and understanding all of the wonderfully diverse groups of people, issues, and working with the community to improve things and solve problems. As commissioner I have continued to do this and actively engaged with other entities to establish good rapport and productive working relationships. These efforts benefit my constituents directly, because it makes me an effective commissioner on their behalf. In addition my education and background in business communications have served well in improving those aspects of county government.

What issues do you feel are top priorities as the region faces rapid growth?

Growth continues to dominate our county, and addressing it is the top priority. Communication is a fundamental piece of addressing the growth. As we embark on capital projects at the county to address the growth (the new jail, remodeling buildings to have more court and clerk space, etc.), we must convey to our citizens why we have to do these things—and closely oversee the projects so they are done in a timely, cost-efficient and responsible manner.

Also, with regard to transportation, several improvements have and can continue to be made on our county roads as they host more traffic. A good working relationship with the Texas Department of Transportation is also a priority when highway issues arrive and need to be addressed. I will also continue to work continue to with our state legislators on matters that affect our county and advocate for our citizens. I also actively support our law-enforcement community and first responders in many different ways—both in court and in the community—and will continue to advocate for their agencies to be well-staffed and fairly compensated.

In addition to these things, I have and will continue to host educational gatherings to tackle topics that matter to citizens. The ‘Lunch’n Learns’ that I have hosted during my first term have been extremely informative and very well-attended. The results speak for themselves. Citizens are hungry to learn and eager to jump on these opportunities.

Why do you feel you are the most qualified candidate for this position?

I believe my track record speaks for itself. Four years ago I promised to work for everyone in my precinct, and I have. I promised improved communications, and I’ve delivered. I promised many other things, including support of law enforcement, an open process of board appointments, improved accessibility and fiscal responsibility. I have delivered on all of these things and will continue to build on the foundation I’ve laid. Being the commissioner is not an easy job. It takes time, dedication, tenacity and especially energy and determination to do an excellent job. Comal County deserves nothing less.

Dorothy Carroll

Dorothy Carroll (via Courtesy Dorothy Carroll)

Dorothy Carroll, D

Education

1996 Associate Degree, Austin Community College plus, through the years, numerous certificates of achievement and recognition for a variety of accomplishments in many
different fields and levels of endeavor.

Experience

Briefly, my unusual personal history and my success in many fields of employment make me uniquely qualified for the position of county commissioner. I began working at age 14 in the garment manufacturing industry and was promoted steadily from assembly line to accounting. I was hired by Texas Instruments in 1963 and was selected, after testing, for training as a computer programmer in New York. In 1973 I worked briefly in personnel management in Austin and in 1974 joined Handley and Miller Advertising in Indiana as financial accounts manager. In 1980, I opened my own commercial custom framing business. I was politically active in the ’80s and volunteered as an advocate for battered women, domestic violence survivors, and survivors of rape and sexual assault. In 1990, I sold my business and eventually invested in rental property. I oversaw and did much of the renovation as well as personally managed the property. In 2014 I made the decision to retire and move to Canyon Lake.

Length of residency in your district

I moved to Comal County in late summer 2014.

Why are you running for office?

I am running for Comal County commissioner because, after researching the county government and county officials, it is clear to me the majority of county residents are getting little in the way of public health and safety for their tax dollars and are on their own when faced with public health and safety events and issues. Further, all residents are being denied transparency in many county offices and receiving virtually no public information on any issue; information that is vitally important and critical to residents’ health, safety and well-being. I want to serve on Commissioners Court to bring about
changes that benefit all residents of the county. I want to ensure that county revenue is spent on the public health and safety needs of all residents and not invested narrowly to
benefit only a minority of residents or to appease the demands of any county official. Commissioners are the administrators of all county business and also have the power of the purse. They should exercise it when necessary to maintain officials’ boundaries and prevent future difficulties for the county and its residents.

How do you feel your education and experience have prepared you for this position?

I had always wanted go to college. I loved every minute of obtaining my two-year degree. I graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. I transferred to UT Austin; I thought about getting a degree in math and becoming a teacher since, I reasoned, I could get a position as a teacher even though I was “older.” At last, I determined I was happy as I was and decided to forego further formal education.

What issues do you feel are top priorities as the region faces rapid growth?

Issues facing the county due to the rapid growth should not be addressed by overreacting and addressing one ‘pressing’ issue before considering the possible consequences of that ‘solution.’ Issues that should have top priority include fiscal
responsibility to choose carefully any proposed project and avoid overpayment and overspending. A comprehensive plan of county growth and development should have top priority now. The county is at a disadvantage that one wasn’t created years ago. The health of the Comal Springs and the Edwards Aquifer need to be of paramount consideration when planning for future growth. The rapid increase in population puts increased demands on public health and safety, and those should be a top priority. The possibilities of major negative health and safety events are larger when an area is beset with rapid increases of people. The extremely limited number of public health services offered by the county should be expanded, and the expansion should be a top priority on the county’s agenda.

Why do you feel you are the most qualified candidate for this position?

All of the above, plus my personal history, but I think that is best for another time and publication.

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Rachel Nelson
Rachel Nelson is editor of the New Braunfels edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She covers local business, new development, city and county government, health care, education and transportation. Rachel relocated to Central Texas from Amarillo in 2009 and is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
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