Q&A: Candidates for Harris County Precinct 3 commissioner talk COVID-19 response, criminal justice





HOUSTON



Harris County Commissioner, Precinct 3





Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.








Tom Ramsey



R




Occupation: 42-year “award winning” civil engineer. Before selling the firm in 2017, I served as senior vice president and partner of Klotz Associates (Engineering firm in Pct. 3) where I employed hundreds of people and completed dozens of projects in Precinct 3 and 50 surrounding cities and counties. I served as mayor of Spring Valley for eight years where I was named, along with former County Judge Ed Emmett, “Elected Official of the Year” in 2017.


Experience: For 25 years I ran a successful small business in Precinct 3. During my 42-year engineering career, I completed numerous projects including the Hardy Toll Road; Harris County Drainage Plan Update and Precinct 3 road improvements. As Mayor of Spring Valley, I reduced the city’s tax rate by 21%, oversaw Spring Valley’s ascent to being named the safest city in Harris County according [to]FBI statistics and invested over $38 million in infrastructure, assuring no one flooded in [Hurricane] Harvey.






Why are you the best candidate for Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner?




TR: I have a long track record of improving the safety, infrastructure, livability and financial health of the communities I serve, and have often been called upon by peers, and other community leaders, for my expertise. As mayor, I reduced taxes by 21%, led my city to being named the safest in Harris County and invested almost $38 million in infrastructure. I know how to get the job done and will be ready from day one to serve.




If elected, what would your priorities be regarding the county's response to the coronavirus pandemic?




TR: Making decisions based on science, adhering to [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines and rebuilding the economy should be the priorities. I trust that residents, small business owners and church leaders will make the right decisions for their family, customers and parishioners. The county government should not arbitrarily pick winners and losers; we can make wise moves to ensure the safety of residents and get our community moving again.




What do you think the county's role should be in navigating calls for criminal justice reform that have been made in Houston/Harris County?





TR: Every citizen should feel safe in their own home. Unfortunately, under the leadership of the radical left on Commissioners Court, In Harris County, violent crime is up 36% and homicides are up 41%. They are also attempting to do away with the constable program which is unacceptable. I will work to keep residents safe. That’s why I have been endorsed by the Harris County Deputies Organization, the Houston Police Officers Union and Constables Mark Herman and Ted Heap.





If elected, what other issues will be among your top areas of focus?





TR: As commissioner, I will focus on keeping our streets and neighborhoods safe (as mayor, my city was named the safest in Harris County). I will also fight for lower taxes (as mayor, I reduced taxes by 21%). The Democrats on Commissioners Court have been pushing for historic tax increases; fortunately, Commissioners [Steve] Radack and [Jack] Cagle stopped these unnecessary tax hikes. I will maintain and improve our streets and parks while working to prevent future flooding.














Michael Moore



D





Occupation: Communications strategist



Experience: I served as chief of staff to former Houston Mayor Bill White and helped manage the fourth largest city in our country with a multi-billion dollar budget. I was the mayor’s point person for Houston’s response to hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike, working closely with emergency responders. Part of the team that dealt with the economic downturn during the Great Recession, without cutting city services. Co-chair the Senior Care Facility Coronavirus Task Force, working to keep seniors safe and healthy during this crisis. I worked respectfully and professionally with Republicans and Democrats together to get the job done in a nonpartisan government.








Why are you the best candidate for Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner?





MM: First and foremost, I have the most and the best experience. I helped lead a city of 2 million people and oversaw a budget of $2 billion and a workforce of 20,000 employees. My opponent, respectfully has helped lead a village of 4,200 residents. Second, I have proven experience cutting through government bureaucracy and collaborating with other agencies at every level of government to get results. I am a practical person, not an ideologue, who knows how to build coalitions and who will listen carefully to my constituents and fellow commissioners.






If elected, what would your priorities be regarding the county's response to the coronavirus pandemic?







MM: As co-chair of Commissioner Adrian Garcia’s Senior Care Facility Coronavirus Task Force, we’re listening to doctors and scientists, not politicians, when it comes to keeping seniors safe and healthy in this pandemic. I would bring that same approach to the office of county commissioner. For example, I have called for merging our county and city health departments to improve health outcomes and squeeze more out of every tax dollar. We must also prioritize the [Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security] Act funds for those most in need and I will as commissioner.






What do you think the county's role should be in navigating calls for criminal justice reform that have been made in Houston/Harris County?







MM: Our first priority should be to keep everyone in Harris County safe. Defunding the police is not the answer; better policing is the answer. I support the work that Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is doing, using data-driven strategies to provide for public safety and prioritizing treatment for nonviolent individuals with mental illness, rather than jail time.






If elected, what other issues will be among your top areas of focus?







MM: Even during this pandemic, I will focus on the basics: investing in infrastructure to prevent flooding, repairing our economy, upgrading roads and transportation options to reduce congestion, improving county healthcare services, protecting our environment and creating more parks, green spaces and making local communities safer. I will also work to make county government more efficient, transparent and more responsive to those we serve.







By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


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