ELECTION Q&A: Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner candidates discuss flooding, traffic and other issues

Two candidates are running for Harris County Precinct 4 commissioner this November, which covers portions of Cy-Fair, Spring, Klein and Tomball, Humble and The Woodlands. Community Impact Newspaper asked candidates for their thoughts on flood control, traffic and challenges facing the precinct.



Jack Cagle
Party affiliation: Republican

Occupation: Harris County commissioner, Precinct 4
Experience:
Judge, Harris County Civil Court at Law No. 1 (2000-2011); staff litigation counsel, Probate Court No. 3.; associate judge, 311th Family District Court;
private law practice (1986-2000)

Top priorities:
Our top priorities are public safety and preparing for population growth.

Contact information:
713-838-8553
www.commissionerjackcagle.com

1. What do you see as the most critical project or initiative to prevent future flooding in the precinct?
Wherever the water falls, it always flows downhill. The voters recently overwhelmingly approved the $2.5 billion flood control bond. I will ensure those dollars are spent according to the comprehensive flood plan laid out in our over 24 public meetings. These projects, no matter which precinct or area they are in, will help decrease flooding countywide by increasing water drainage and flow.

2. Aside from flooding, what is the biggest challenge facing the precinct? How would you address that challenge?
Parts of Precinct 4 are expected to double within the next 15 years. We must prepare for this growth with adequate mobility, flood protection, green space arrangements and park space for our residents. I have, am and shall continue to strategically prepare the precinct for the next generation.

3. How should the county address increasing traffic on roads with its limited revenue sources?
While I have been commissioner, we have been engaged in a strategic road planning process through our capital improvement program. As funding becomes available, we process new roads through four Phases. P1: preplanning and study phase (8 percent); P2: planning and road design phase (7 percent); P3: preparation phase which includes utility relocation and right of way acquisition (20 percent); and P4: the construction phase (65 percent). Utilizing this framework has been an effective tool in efficiently stretching every county dollar allotted towards mobility.






Penny Shaw
Party affiliation: Democrat

Occupation:
Attorney

Experience: Attorney, 18 years; business owner, 25 years; U.S. Congressional legislative advocate, six years; mother of four; legislative committee chairwoman
Top priorities: flood prevention and preparedness; transparent county spending and reporting; pay and gender equity

Contact information:
713-493-4688
www.votepennyshaw.com

1. What do you see as the most critical project or initiative to prevent future flooding in the precinct? Create and fund an expert-based comprehensive county-wide flood prevention plan that addresses the 23 watersheds and considers water conveyance from the surrounding counties and reveal it to the public. Obtaining federal cooperation for additional reservoir; repairing the existing reservoirs to raise them to a safe standard; and constant maintenance and clearing of waterways to increase capacity and conveyance. Ensure safe and sustainable building, expansion and economic development.


2. Aside from flooding, what is the biggest challenge facing the precinct? How would you address that challenge? According to the county, the budget—a lack of funds to address the widespread needs of the county-governed and funded projects. Initiate a county budget audit and overview of spending to expertly determine where there is necessary adjustment and best practices for creating increased partnerships to address unmet needs throughout Harris County and especially in the unincorporated areas where rapid growth is taking place.


3. How should the county address increasing traffic on roads with its limited revenue sources? Introduce innovative and feasible traffic reduction practices. Strategically distant road improvement and expansion projects to ensure spread out and regional blockages; economically expand and promote mass transit; metro rail and metro mover projects to serve large corporate campuses with shared partnership stakeholder and corporate funding. Incentivize use of car-sharing such as Zip Car and carpooling. Better expansion planning to avoid foreseeable traffic clustering.





By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


MOST RECENT

The county experienced its largest-yet single-day active and total case increases July 14. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County sees highest daily active, total COVID-19 case count increases July 14

A total of 359 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths were reported July 14.

Montgomery County Food Bank volunteers welcome and serve residents at a mobile food distribution site in east Montgomery County. (Courtesy Liz Grimm/Montgomery County Food Bank)
Montgomery County Food Bank distribution up 163% from last year

The Montgomery County Food Bank has distributed nearly 3.5 million pounds of food in around four months.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, giving claimants $600 per week, will end July 25. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Federal unemployment payments of $600 per week end July 25

While the added $600 federal unemployment benefits will end, Texans are still eligible for other forms of relief.

Dr. Steven Kelder is a professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin with a career spanning more than 25 years. (Graphic by Chance Flowers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Disease expert discusses ongoing pandemic and nearing school year

Dr. Steven H. Kelder recently answered several questions for Community Impact Newspaper regarding COVID-19; trends in cases statewide; and important considerations for parents, students and educators as the 2020-21 school year approaches.

Humble ISD announced upcoming graduation ceremonies at George Turner Stadium will be smaller than originally anticipated to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Humble ISD drops high school graduation capacity to 25% to curb spread of coronavirus

Humble ISD announced upcoming graduation ceremonies at George Turner Stadium will be smaller than originally anticipated to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said July 13 that he would like to see a two-week stay-home order in Houston. (Courtesy HTV)
Houston coronavirus updates: Mayor Turner seeking two-week shutdown; 1 in 4 tests coming back positive

Mayor Turner made a series of announcements July 13 related to COVID-19 precautions.

Montgomery County officials are urging residents to wear face masks and take caution. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County reports 19 new active coronavirus cases July 13

2,011 people have recovered out of the total 3,112 cases.

Public health officials in Houston and Harris County reported that 2,001 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed July 13, a new single-day record for the county. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 2,001 cases, 8 deaths confirmed July 13

Public health officials in Houston and Harris County reported that 2,001 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed July 13, a new single-day record for the county.

A Cy-Fair ISD employee distributes meals via curbside pickup for district students during the summer. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
'Community Impact Newspaper' seeks feedback and more Houston-area business, community news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news here.

Thousands of Montgomery County voters appeared in person or submitted absentee ballots during the 10-day early voting period. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than 21,000 Montgomery County residents participate in early voting for July 14 runoff

Just under three-fourths of the total early voting turnout was Republican, and one-fourth was Democratic.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shown here in March, announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide additional resource to help Texas combat COVID-19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Department of Defense task forces deployed to help Texas combat COVID-19

Gov. Greg Abbott announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide more resources to Texas to combat the rise of COVID-19.

A Cy-Fair ISD employee distributes meals via curbside pickup for district students during the summer. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
'Community Impact' now seeking feedback from parents, teachers regarding 2020-21 school year

Help us adequately cover local education by submitting feedback here: