Republican candidates for Montgomery County Precinct 1 Commissioner talk government spending, flooding

Early voting begins Feb. 18 in the 2020 Texas primary. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Early voting begins Feb. 18 in the 2020 Texas primary. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Early voting begins Feb. 18 in the 2020 Texas primary. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Image description
(Courtesy Robert Walker)
Image description
(Courtesy Billy Graff)
Robert Walker and Billy Graff will face each other in the Republican primary for Montgomery County Commissioner Precinct 1.

Robert Walker

Years in district: 61

If elected, I would change: Precinct 1 to be more involved in social media ... It would be good for people to get updates on road construction, traffic issues, etc., via their social media apps.

www.walkermctx.org


Why are you running for Precinct 1 commissioner? I care about our county a whole lot. I want someone in this office who will listen to our community, respect our values and do right by all of my neighbors and friends. I've been doing that all of my life and I would like to continue to do that in this role. Also, I think my business experience and devotion to our community has qualified me for this position. Specifically, I've built a small business with very little capital into a multi-million dollar company that has provided well for my family, given back to our community, and provided jobs for a lot of people. I got here by being very careful with my money and operations, treating people well, and by being an honest person. I think all of these things will serve our community well.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing Precinct 1, and how do you plan to address them? The biggest problem is tremendous growth. With growth comes increased crime and congestion, and a decrease in community.

How will you work to both reduce county government spending while also meeting the needs of a growing population? With growth, spending will increase because you have to provide county services (such as law enforcement, infrastructure, courts, etc.) to meet the needs of the new population. But, you can reduce the tax burden by not matching the growth with equal spending. Additionally, I would work very hard to attract businesses to Montgomery County who will help us with our tax burden. Businesses typically cost the county less to service, while they pay more in taxes. This could provide major relief to residential taxpayers.

What are your thoughts on how to mitigate flooding not just within the district but also in areas downstream? A lot of the flooding issues are due to clogged creeks and rivers, which are under the control of the Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency. I will be an advocate for all of Montgomery County to our federal representatives to get this addressed while also working with agencies throughout Texas to develop better policies regarding flood mitigation.

Billy Graff

Years in district: 3

If elected, I would change: county's spending, hiring and budgeting policies and practices

www.billygraff.com

1. Why are you running for Precinct 1 commissioner?

Because the taxpayers deserve a commissioner with a work ethic and integrity they can count on. Montgomery County is growing and deserves someone with the qualifications and experience to lead with vision into the next decade. I am that person. I want to ensure that the uniqueness and beauty of this county remains intact while growth is strategically planned for. I will lead in the effort to bring down our tax bills while strengthening law enforcement, making our county safer and more affordable for families that live here.

2. What do you see as the biggest issues facing Precinct 1, and how do you plan to address them?

Fiscal discipling, ethics and transparency and county mobility are the biggest issues. I will push to maintain a budget that reflects disciplined priorities ... work with commissioners' court to ensure meetings are held at a time that is conductive to citizens attendance ... and push for a mobility study.

3. How will you work to both reduce county government spending while also meeting the needs of a growing population?

Analyze the needs/problems and identify corrective actions. Build teams of community members who understand the vision for Montgomery County. Interface with federal, state and local officials to identify areas for shared expense. Streamline cost expectations and maximize successful project completion. [Place] a greater focus on successful grant applications. [Conduct] long-range planning and mobility studies to minimize wasteful spending.

4. What are your thoughts on how to mitigate flooding not just within the district but also in areas downstream?

Flood mitigation requires a team effort. ... Project planning with all community members in mind should be priority. Our downstream neighbors should work with us to ensure safe movement of rainwater at all times. Developers need to be challenged and required to ensure that natural water movement is not detrimentally misdirected or disrupted due to new construction. All natural and man-made drainage outlets should be kept free of debris and settling. Regular maintained schedules should be observed. Flood resilience requires: proper engineering, proper discharge methodologies and proper maintenance of water ways.
By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


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