Editor's note: This interview was taken in March.

Robert Walker was sworn in as the county’s Precinct 1 commissioner Jan. 1, replacing Mike Meador, who was the county’s longest-standing commissioner. Walker sat down with Community Impact Newspaper to discuss his background and first few months since taking office. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tell me a bit about yourself and your family.

Our family has been here since like 1876. I grew up in Conroe, graduated Conroe High School in 1975 and attended Sam Houston State University for a year. I watched Conroe grow from a small little sleepy oil field town to what it is now.

I’ve worn many hats. We owned a convenience store back in about 1989. I was a reserve deputy with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department when I was in my 30s, so about 1990/1991, then later on I was a reserve deputy for the Constable Precinct 1. I opened up Walker’s Feed & Farm Supplies [in Willis] in 1993. I built houses till about 2 years ago when I ran for this office.

If you asked me 40 years ago, I would never have imagined I was going to be a county commissioner. Mike Meador was my cousin, and after following him around for all that time, I’ve learned all the politicians. I love people; it fit right in with me.

One platform you ran on is being fiscally conservative. How have you taken that on as commissioner?

I was taught the value of a dollar when I was a young man. I’m very careful on the way we spend our money. We are fixing to have to buy a couple new pieces of equipment—which ... is very expensive—but anybody who knows me knows I am very thrifty with a dollar.

What are some big issues commissioners court is focusing on?

The biggest issue right now is emergency services with COVID-19. Also, the new tow truck rotational system, which was before my time, is an ongoing thing. We are going to leave it to the sheriff. ... As commissioners, we are trying to stay out of it, but we always seem to be drawn back into it. I don’t really like to see government getting into everyone’s business, but sometimes there has to be regulations.

What is an issue specific to Precinct 1?

For me, it’s roadways. We are growing on a regular basis, so just keeping our traffic moving and safe [is important]. We’ve had some new studies done on where we need new connector roads; we got those back on [March 23]. That’s a long-term project; it takes time to build these roads.