Q&A: Jason Nelson, The Woodlands Township board of directors' newest member, talks about coronavirus response, budgeting and future plans

Jason Nelson was nominated to Position 2 on The Woodlands Township board of directors April 16 and was sworn in April 22, filling a position vacated by Brian Boniface when he resigned to provide coronavirus relief with the U.S. Army Reserves. Community Impact Newspaper asked Nelson, who is lead pastor at Rose Hill United Methodist Church in Tomball and has not previously served in a public office, about his experience and plans in the two-year position, which expires in November.

Have you previously sought a term on the township board of directors or considered running for a position?

I really try to follow God’s will for my life. I decided to run for the township board last August but pulled out of the race because I ultimately felt God leading me to do so at the time. So then, I decided to spend my time and efforts serving the community in other capacities.

How long have you lived in the township and in which village?

I fell in love with The Woodlands when I moved here for the first time in 2013. I moved away in spring of 2017 because of some life changes and then moved back in January of 2019. My family and I absolutely love this community and are blessed to call it home. We reside in Alden Bridge.


What will your priorities be for the term you will be filling? How do you feel the recent coronavirus pandemic has affected the township, and how does it change the board of directors' priorities during the next year?

As a community we know how to navigate and persevere through natural disasters, which we have done with strength and honor. But we’ve never experienced anything like the current crisis surrounding COVID-19. People are suffering physically, emotionally and psychologically. Many are also suffering economically. People have lost jobs, businesses have closed, the oil and gas industry is facing lows it hasn’t seen in decades, and events have been canceled.

We might not know the total effects of this crisis for at least several months. Therefore, my top three priorities during my term are to work diligently with the board as we address the variety of emerging challenges facing us during these unprecedented times; continue the search for a new general manager/president; and prepare a budget for 2021, which will be one of the most important budgets we will ever develop.

What is your previous work and life experience that you believe will help you in this role? Have you served on a government or other elected or appointed board previously?

Though this is my first opportunity to serve in public office, I have had the privilege of serving my community throughout my career. I am an ordained elder in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and hold B.A., M.A., M.Ed., and M.Div. degrees. I have served several churches under episcopal appointment: Christ United Methodist Church [in Sugar Land], The Woodlands United Methodist Church, and [I] am currently the lead pastor at Rose Hill United Methodist Church [in Tomball]. In addition to fulfilling many pastoral duties, I have also served on vision and planning teams, capital and stewardship campaigns, and finance committees. Before full-time ministry, I spent seven years in public education. I taught eighth-grade U.S. history; served as a social studies department chair; and coached football, basketball and track. These are a few important experiences that will help me in this role.

When and how do you think the township should return to its previous discussion of incorporation? Do you have a position on the topic of incorporation?

As of right now, I believe our primary focus should be on addressing the challenges within our community surrounding COVID-19. We have obtained some important and useful information from the study on incorporation, which I plan on studying in-depth. Should the township decide to resume the discussion on incorporation, I will approach it as I would any topic, with an open mind.

What other issues do you feel are of greatest importance in the township at this time?

As I stated earlier, people are struggling in a variety of ways. We need to open up the economy and get everyone back to work as soon and as safely as possible. Many are discouraged and despondent, feeling like they are at the end of their rope, at the end of their hope. I am deeply saddened by the rise in suicide. As a caring community we must become advocates for mental health. We have to look for ways to edify and encourage our neighbors, especially in light of the isolation so many people are now experiencing in these social distancing days. At the same time, we must become more aware of the pain around us and become informed of the signs of depression so we can reach out in care and concern. For those reading this right now, if you or someone you know is wrestling with despair, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255); if you need to, you can call me. You are important. Your life matters. This community needs you.

Do you expect to run for re-election when your time filling the unexpired term is up?

Yes.
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 Woodlands Township board of directors met April 22 and held a public hearing on a resolution concerning tax abatements. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)
The Woodlands follows Montgomery County in adopting revised tax abatement agreement

The Woodlands Township adopted the Montgomery County guidelines and criteria for tax abatement applications for the sixth time since 2009.

Maverick Remodeling and Construction employees use electronic gauges to determine how well a League City house that flooded from bust pipes is drying. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Freeze-damaged homes might qualify for property tax reduction

As of March 31, HCAD said it had only received about 150 applications for the exemption.

The CISD board of trustees met April 20 and discussed the naming process for new campuses. (Screenshot via YouTube)
Conroe ISD begins naming process for new campuses

Submissions for names will be accepted through May 14.

As part of President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen schools safely nationwide, the department’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option is being expanded beyond the summertime. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
USDA extends free school meals provision through 2021-22 school year

Schools nationwide will be able to serve nutritious meals to all students free of charge regardless of eligibility through June 30, 2022, officials announced.

Appointments for a coronavirus vaccine are not needed at Woodforest Bank Stadium. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Appointments no longer required at The Woodlands-area vaccination hub

Everybody age 16 and up is eligible for a vaccine at the hub.

Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston region in 2017. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
How Harris County residents can prepare for hurricane season

After the most active hurricane season on record in 2020, Harris County officials said residents should be prepared for the upcoming season starting June 1.

(Courtesy Conduit Coffee)
Conduit Coffee opens on Glen Loch Drive

The coffee shop celebrated its grand opening April 20.

Home prices continue to increase, according to local real estate data. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
See where the most homes sold in The Woodlands area ZIP codes in March

In the highest price range for which data was collected, $1.6 million and higher, a total of nine houses sold in The Woodlands area ZIP codes in March.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks at an April 19 press conference at a mass-vaccination site at NRG Park. (Screenshot courtesy Facebook Live).
Harris County accepting walk-ins for vaccine at NRG Park

As demand for vaccines has fallen, officials are looking for ways to make them more accessible.

The Howard Hughes Corp. completes local move amid shifts in workforce in The Woodlands

In March, The Howard Hughes Corp., which steers both commercial and residential construction in The Woodlands, consolidated its regional offices within The Woodlands to the company-owned The Woodlands Towers at The Waterway.