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?

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.


The seven-day rolling average of deaths per day in Harris County has increased from 3.86 on July 8 to 8.29 on July 12. (Community Impact Staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: After three weeks of surging cases, death toll starts to rise

The seven-day rolling average of deaths per day in Harris County has increased from 3.86 on July 8 to 8.29 on July 12.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.

The county's active case count rose July 10 after three straight days of declines. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County adds 40 active COVID-19 cases, reaches 3,000 cumulative cases July 10

Five new hospitalizations and 87 new recoveries were also reported July 10.

The new partnership will provide on-site, same-day testing and results for assisted-living facility staff and their residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
State announces partnership for increased COVID-19 testing for patients, staff at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes

These test sites will help the state work toward the goal of processing up to 100,000 tests in the first month.

Pet Supplies Plus opened a new location on FM 1488 in May, and will hold grand opening events July 11-12. (Courtesy Pet Supplies Plus)
Pet Supplies Plus opens new FM 1488 location north of The Woodlands

The national pet supplies chain opened the store in late May.

Texas Medical Center reports only 4% uptick in ICU bed use despite continued COVID-19 case increases

Compared to 1,350 total intensive care units in use June 30, Texas Medical Center has seen only a slight uptick in occupancies since then, with 1,394 reported July 9.

When interest rates are low, homeowners may look to save money by refinancing, which means getting a new mortgage with a better term or interest rate to lower payments. (Source: Matt Frankel/Community Impact Newspaper)
Refinancing a home, police departments address protests: Popular news this week from Greater Houston

Read popular stories from the Greater Houston area on Community Impact Newspaper’s website.

REAL ESTATE: 4 home improvement tips from Casa Bella Design Build in The Woodlands

Andee Parker, the founder and owner of Casa Bella Design Build in The Woodlands, provides building and remodeling services on both commercial and residential new construction.

Two Lakes Edge
Howard Hughes expands multifamily footprint with 3 projects in The Woodlands

Work on several residential developments from the Howard Hughes Corp. continues in The Woodlands, including the opening of the new eight-story luxury residential complex Two Lakes Edge in Hughes Landing this spring.

road work
TRANSPORTATION UPDATES: 3 projects underway in The Woodlands area on Lake Woodlands Drive, Hwy. 242

Work on widening Lake Woodlands Drive made progress in June, and several Hwy. 242 projects are expected to finish in 2020.