Clark seeks re-election

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, September 16, 2017

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Wise County Judge J.D. Clark announced Wednesday he will run for re-election in 2018, so he can continue working to build a better county.

J.D. Clark

“I still think we have work to do for which I can be helpful on the team,” he said. “We have a lot of good things rolling as a county and a lot of things heading in a good direction … I want to see those things through.”

Clark, who is seeking a second term, will run as a Republican in the March 6 primary.

The judge said this week one of the accomplishments he’s most proud of is overseeing the county budget.

“The auditor and I put it together and present it to commissioners. It’s never easy, but it’s especially not easy when you’ve had the local economic turmoil that we’ve had the last few years,” he said. “I think it says a lot about our leadership and team here that even last year while we were down 18.5 percent total, we did that with the same tax rate.

“It was tight and it was tough … but I think it says a lot about us as fiscal stewards that our first response wasn’t to go to the pockets of taxpayers,” he said. “I’m proud of that.”

Clark said he’s also worked in his first term to proactively manage growth.

“We’ve focused on growth and economic development through the broadband infrastructure study we’re doing, making businesses more successful, and through the master transportation plan,” he said. “If we plan for roads correctly, it will steer particular types of growth and in a healthy, viable way that preserves our character and way of life.

“That’s something we have to keep doing. You can’t do it and just put it on a shelf.”

Other highlights from Clark’s first term include:

  • restructuring how county offices are housed to eliminate monthly lease payments
  • overhauling the Wise County Fairgrounds
  • making county government more accessible through mobile, nighttime county commissioners meetings and implementing a community forum in commissioners meetings
  • pushing for legislation that gives the county a seat on the Weatherford College Board
  • having an impact beyond Wise borders, creating a good image to regional, state and national entities and representing Wise County on those stages

“I strike a balance of being from here, so I have a respect for that and love that, but on the other hand, I want to be a guy who’s looking down the road at what’s coming our way,” he said. “We need to be mindful and respectful of who we are and how we got here and be thinking what we want it to look like decades down the road.”

If elected to a second term, Clark said he hopes to continue to fine tune fiscal responsibility, focus on countywide growth, and continue to improve outreach and transparency.

In the years ahead, Clark said it won’t be enough to just “cut the budget, cut the budget, cut the budget.”

“It will be about how we can more efficiently use those dollars,” he said.

To continue fostering growth, he plans to further the economic development iniatives that brought local cities and economic development corporations together.

“Like the mayors round table that we did at the end of last year,” he said. “That kind of thinking gets us out of our silos to compare notes and ask ‘What are some big things we need to work on together?'”

Clark is a United Way of Wise County board member, on the board of directors for TAPS, and is an executive board member on the Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition.

He is secretary/treasurer of the North Central Texas Council of Governments and secretary of the National Conference of Republican County Officials.

Clark also serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Counties (NACo). He’s chair of NACo’s Rural Action Caucus and is on the group’s International Economic Development Task Force.

He will host the 2017 RAC fall symposium in Wise County Oct. 5-7.

Clark, who is former mayor of Chico, still lives there with his wife, Leah, and daughter Claire.

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