Morrow wins 5th term

Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Jan Morrow handily won a fifth term in office in Tuesday’s Republic primary.

Morrow garnered 69 percent of the vote enroute to an 882-393 victory over Joshua Reynolds, an investigator with the Wise County Sheriff’s office.

“I would like to say that I appreciate the people of Wise County – the people of Precinct 1 especially,” she said. “Freedom is about people’s choices, and the people’s choices have been stated tonight.”

Morrow’s margin in the early voting was just over 70 percent at 488-204.

Reynolds could not be reached for comment.

Without an opponent on the Democratic ballot, Morrow is assured of re-election this November. She said she enjoys her job and is excited about civil law reform, electronic filing and the opportunity to continue serving the people of Wise County.

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Primary task: Vote Tuesday

After months of campaign pitches, candidates will now hear from the voters.

Election day for the Democratic and Republican primaries is Tuesday. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (See below for polling locations.) Be sure to note that Precincts 2-7 and 2-8 will vote at a new location this year: Assumption Catholic Church, 1305 S. Deer Park in Decatur. Also, be sure to bring a photo identification.

Early voting ended Friday with a total of 2,311 ballots cast. That is up from the 1,869 early votes from the primary elections four years ago. This year’s total includes 2,156 votes in the local Republican primary and 155 votes in the local Democratic primary.

Local candidates on the Democratic primary ballot include the following:

County judge – James “Jim” Stegall

Precinct 4 commissioner – Kristina Kemp

Local candidates on the Republican primary ballot include the following:

District judge – John Fostel

County judge – Kyle Stephens, J.D. Clark and Keith McComis

County Court-at-Law No. 1 judge – Melton Cude

District clerk – Brenda Starnes Rowe and Callie Watts Manning

County clerk – Sherry Coursey Lemon

County treasurer – Katherine Canova Hudson and Daniel E. Rivas

Precinct 2 commissioner – Kevin Burns

Precinct 4 commissioner – Terry Ross, Gaylord Kennedy and David Stewart

Precinct 1 justice of the peace – Jan Morrow and Josh Reynolds

Precinct 2 justice of the peace – Terri Lynn Johnson

Precinct 3 justice of the peace – Mandy Hopkins Hays

Precinct 4 justice of the peace – Clay Poynor and Teresa Marney Graves

Other contested races include U.S. senator, District 13 U.S. representative, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, commissioner of the General Land Office, commissioner of agriculture, railroad commissioner, Supreme Court chief justice, Places 6 and 8 on the Supreme Court and Places 3, 4 and 9 on the Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Wise County Messenger will hold an election-night watch party beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Messenger office located at 115 S. Trinity St. in Decatur. The public and candidates are invited. Refreshments will be served.

Results will be posted as they are available at WCMessenger.com, and full coverage of Tuesday’s election will be featured in the midweek Messenger on newsstands Wednesday.

POLLING LOCATIONS

PRECINCT 1-1
Decatur City Hall
201 East Walnut St., Decatur

PRECINCT 1-2
Ag Extension Building
206 S. State St., Decatur

PRECINCT 1-3
First Baptist Church
119 CR 2822, Slidell

PRECINCT 1-4
Masonic Lodge, 1st floor
147 CR 2640, Greenwood

PRECINCT 1-5
East Wise Fire Hall
107 CR 4421, Blewett

PRECINCT 1-6
New Fairview Community Center
Farm Road 407 E., New Fairview

PRECINCT 2-7
Assumption Catholic Church
1305 S. Deer Park, Decatur

PRECINCT 2-8
Assumption Catholic Church
1305 S. Deer Park, Decatur

PRECINCT 2-9
Alvord City Hall
215 W. Elm, Alvord

PRECINCT 2-10
Victory Baptist Church
4346 Texas 101 N., Sunset

PRECINCT 2-11
Crafton Baptist Church
Fellowship Hall
2590 FM 2127, Crafton

PRECINCT 2-12
Chico Public Library
106 W. Jacksboro, Chico

PRECINCT 4-13
Bridgeport High School
One Maroon Drive, Bridgeport

PRECINCT 4-14
Lions Hall
1107 8th St., Bridgeport

PRECINCT 4-15
Norma Coble Civic Center
51 Runaway Bay Dr., Runaway Bay

PRECINCT 4-16
Boonsville Community Center
West on Farm Road 920 off County Road 3743, Boonsville

PRECINCT 4-17
First United Methodist Church
Activity Center
302 S. Oak, Paradise

PRECINCT 2-18
Bridgeport Recreation Center
1102 Lawdwin, Bridgeport

PRECINCT 2-19
Lake Bridgeport Fire Hall
301 S. Main St., Lake Bridgeport

PRECINCT 3-20
Cottondale Community Center
161 CR 3571 off Farm Road 2123, Cottondale

PRECINCT 1-22
Ag Extension Building
206 S. State St., Decatur

PRECINCT 3-23
Boyd Community Center
420 E. Morton Ave., Boyd

PRECINCT 3-24
Newark Fire Hall
406 Hudson St., Newark

PRECINCT 3-25
Boyd Community Center
420 E. Morton Ave., Boyd

PRECINCT 3-27
Boyd Community Center
420 E. Morton Ave., Boyd

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City, school ballots set

The filing period for May 10 city council and school board elections ended Friday.

Wise County voters will face choices in eight city council and six school board races this spring. Listed below are the candidates who filed for office. Entities holding special elections to fill vacancies can accept filings until March 10.

ALVORD CITY COUNCIL

Place 3 – Kirk Gibson (incumbent)

Place 4 – Debra McKelvain, Shane Raney, Lenda Barnes

Place 5 – Jim Enochs (incumbent)

ALVORD SCHOOL BOARD

Place 6 – Lex Williams, Tracy Barclay Parker, Lance Thweatt

Place 7 – Jeannette Ward (incumbent), Charles Neal Matthews

BOYD CITY COUNCIL

Place 1 – (no one has filed)

Place 2 – Tim Hammonds

Place 3 – (no one has filed)

Place 5 – (no one has filed)

BOYD SCHOOL BOARD

Place 1 – Rebecca Parr

Place 2 – Jake Tackett

Place 3 – Jana Tate (incumbent)

BRIDGEPORT CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Kathy Kennedy, Corey Lane

Place 1 – A.Z. Smith (incumbent), David Correll

Place 2 – Calvin Coursey, Art Velasquez

Place 3 – Jimmy Meyers (incumbent)

BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD

Place 6 – Ken Kilpatrick (incumbent), Donald Majka

Place 7 – Marti Hines (incumbent), Robert Marlett, Steve Stanford

CHICO CITY COUNCIL

At-large (2 seats) – Karen Garrison (incumbent), Greta McDaniel

Partial term – Louise Gossett (incumbent)

CHICO SCHOOL BOARD

Place 6 – G.A. Buckner (incumbent), J.D. Coffman

Place 7 – Doug Bowyer (incumbent), Noel Ruddick

DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD

Place 3 – Jim Lamirand, Pete Rivera, Ricky Stutt

Place 4 – Jeff Alling (incumbent), Charles Ross

DECATUR CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Martin Woodruff (incumbent)

Place 1 – Carmelina Holloway

Place 3 – Cary Bohn (incumbent)

Place 5 – Jay Davidson (incumbent)

NEWARK CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Darla Loggains

Place 1 – (no one has filed)

Place 2 – Doug Anderson (incumbent)

Place 3 – Linda Anderson (incumbent)

Place 4 – (no one has filed)

NORTHWEST SCHOOL BOARD

Place 5 – Devonna Holland (incumbent), Jerry Burkett

Place 6 – Kristi Wade, Edward Mergenthal, Lillian Rauch, Andrew Bennett, Stan Durham

Place 7 – Mel Fuller (incumbent), Doug Smith

RHOME CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Louis Godfrey, David Wilson, Mark Lorance

At-large (2 seats) – Jo Ann Wilson (incumbent), Michelle Pittman (incumbent), Timothy Robison, Shawn Holliman, Jason Miller

RUNAWAY BAY CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Robert Ryan (incumbent)

At-large (2 seats) – Neil Peters (incumbent), Kay Simmons (incumbent)

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Clark’s contributions top $10K

Republican county judge candidate J.D. Clark topped $10,000 in campaign contributions, according to the most recent finance reports.

In the last month, Clark collected $2,700 to bring his total campaign contributions to $10,400 leading up to the March 4 primary.

Time to Vote

TIME TO VOTE – Early voting continues 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through the end of this week at Decatur City Hall, the Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center and Rhome City Hall. Candidates Monday turned in their final campaign finance reports before the March 4 primary election. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The reports turned in Monday detail contributions and expenditures from Jan. 24 to Feb. 22. All opposed candidates are required by the Texas Ethics Commission to file the report.

Fellow judge candidate Keith McComis reported $3,285 in contributions, which is more than he collected in the prior two reporting periods combined. The most recent contributions bring his campaign total to $6,085.

Kyle Stephens reported only $150 in contributions Jan. 24 – Feb. 22 and reported no contributions in previous reports.

Democratic county judge candidate Jim Stegall reported a single $2,000 donation, bringing his total campaign contributions to $2,035.

McComis led all candidates in expenditures during this time period with $4,665.36. Clark followed with $3,381.39 and Stephens spent $1,390.40. Total expenditures by Republican county judge candidates include $9,601.17 by McComis; $8,312.97 by Clark; and $4,326.50 by Stephens.

Stegall, the lone Democrat, has spent $2,518.74.

Below is a list of candidates and the information as it appears on their campaign finance report forms.

COUNTY JUDGE – REPUBLICANS

  • J.D. Clark: $2,700 contributions, $3,381.39 expenditures

Contributions included $1,000 from Louis Dorfman of Dallas; $600 each from Mike Overton and Richard Pietila, both of Decatur; $150 from Kevin Burns of Decatur; $100 each from Bob Johnson of Alvord, Rayce Cantwell of Decatur and Kelly Myers of Decatur.

Clark reported $50 in donations of $50 or less.

  • Keith McComis: $3,285 contributions, $4,665.36 expenditures
  • Contributions included $1,000 from John Coker of Decatur; $500 from Crisp Industries in Bridgeport; $250 each from Dan Selz, Gary Green and Dwayne Kennedy, all of Bridgeport; $200 from R.D. Molloy of Bridgeport; and $100 each from Tom Messer of Runaway Bay, Leon Wilkerson of Bridgeport and Robert and Deborah Rankin of Decatur. Messer also made a second contribution of $100.

    McComis reported $285 in donations of $50 or less.

    • Kyle Stephens: $150 contributions, $1,390.40 expenditures

    Contributions included $100 from Mr. and Mrs. Geary L. Washburn of Decatur and $50 from Frances Janecka of Decatur.

    Stephens also reported $100 in donations of $50 or less. His total contributions reported does not appear to include this amount.

    DEMOCRAT

    • Jim Stegall: $2,000 contributions, $1,048.86 expenditures

    Contributions included $2,000 from Tom and Lori Chivers of Carrollton.

    PRECINCT 4 COUNTY COMMISSIONER – REPUBLICANS

    • Gaylord Kennedy: $0 contributions, $2,662 expenditures
    • David Stewart: $0 contributions, $1,401.76 expenditures
    • Terry Ross: $0 contributions, $0 expenditures

    DEMOCRAT

    • Kristina Kemp: $200 contributions, $141.98 expenditures
    • Contributions included $100 each from Billy Kemp of Boyd and Jim and Pat Stegall of Bridgeport.

      DISTRICT CLERK – REPUBLICANS

      • Brenda Rowe: $100 contributions, $1,042.88 expenditures

      Rowe reported a single $100 contribution from Lisa Summers of Colleyville.

      • Callie Manning: $100 contributions, $1,390.40 expenditures

      Manning reported a $100 contribution from J.E. Haynes of Decatur.

      COUNTY TREASURER – REPUBLICANS

      • Katherine Hudson: $0 contributions; $2,075.82 expenditures
      • Daniel Rivas: $0 contributions; $1,498.33 expenditures

      PRECINCT 1 JUSTICE OF THE PEACE – REPUBLICANS

      • Jan Morrow: $0 contributions, $224.59 expenditures
      • Josh Reynolds: $0 contributions, $637.81 expenditures

      PRECINCT 4 JUSTICE OF THE PEACE – REPUBLICANS

      • Clay Poynor: $0 contributions, $281.25 expenditures
      • Teresa Graves: $290 contributions, $465.37 expenditures

      Graves reported a $100 contribution from Michelle Payton of Decatur and $190 in donations of $50 or less.

      Early voting continues 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through the end of this week at Decatur City Hall, the Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center and Rhome City Hall.

      WATCH PARTY

      The Wise County Messenger will host an election night watch party starting 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 4. After the polls close, hang out at the Messenger, 115 S. Trinity St., in Decatur to watch the numbers roll in. The public and candidates are invited. Refreshments will be served.

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Candidates continue to file

With the filing period for the May 10 city council and school board elections ending this Friday, Feb. 28, ballots are beginning to take shape in eight city council and six school board races in Wise County.

Listed below are those who have filed for office as of Tuesday afternoon. The entities will continue to accept candidates until the close of business Friday, although those holding special elections to fill vacant seats can accept filings until March 10.

ALVORD CITY COUNCIL

Place 3 – Kirk Gibson (incumbent)
Place 4 – Debra McKelvain
Place 5 – Jim Enochs (incumbent)

ALVORD SCHOOL BOARD

Place 6 – Lex Williams
Place 7 – Jeannette Ward (incumbent) and Charles Neal Matthews

BOYD CITY COUNCIL

Place 1 – (no one has filed)
Place 2 – Tim Hammonds
Place 3 – (no one has filed)
Place 5 – (no one has filed)

BOYD SCHOOL BOARD

Place 1 – Rebecca Parr
Place 2 – Jake Tackett
Place 3 – Jana Tate (incumbent)

BRIDGEPORT CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Kathy Kennedy, Corey Lane
Place 1 – A.Z. Smith (incumbent)
Place 2 – Calvin Coursey
Place 3 – Jimmy Meyers (incumbent)

BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD

Place 6 – Ken Kilpatrick (incumbent) and Donald Majka
Place 7 – Marti Hines (incumbent), Robert Marlett and Steve Stanford

CHICO CITY COUNCIL

At-large (2 seats) – Karen Garrison
Partial term – Louise Gossett (incumbent)

CHICO SCHOOL BOARD

Place 6 – G.A. Buckner (incumbent) and J.D. Coffman
Place 7 – Doug Bowyer (incumbent) and Noel Ruddick

DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD

Place 3 – Jim Lamirand and Pete Rivera
Place 4 – Jeff Alling (incumbent)

DECATUR CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Martin Woodruff (incumbent)
Place 1 – Carmelina Holloway
Place 3 – Cary Bohn (incumbent)
Place 5 – Jay Davidson (incumbent)

NEWARK CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Darla Loggains
Place 1 – (no one has filed)
Place 2 – Doug Anderson (incumbent)
Place 3 – Linda Anderson (incumbent)
Place 4 – (no one has filed)

NORTHWEST SCHOOL BOARD

Place 5 – Devonna Holland (incumbent) and Jerry Burkett
Place 6 – Kristi Wade, Edward Mergenthal and Lillian Rauch
Place 7 – Mel Fuller (incumbent)

RHOME CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Louis Godfrey and Mark Lorance
At-large (2 seats) – Jo Ann Wilson (incumbent), Michelle Pittman (incumbent), Timothy Robison and Jason Miller

RUNAWAY BAY CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Robert Ryan (incumbent)
At-large (2 seats) – Neil Peters (incumbent) and Kay Simmons (incumbent)

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Early voting reaches midpoint

The first week of early voting in the March 4 election ends today.

Through the first four days of early voting (Tuesday through Friday), 671 votes had been cast in the Republican primary and 57 in the Democratic primary for a total of 728 votes.

Wal-Mart in Decatur will host early voting 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. Early voting continues 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Feb. 28, at three locations: Decatur City Hall, the Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center and Rhome City Hall.

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Candidates continue to file

The filing period for the May 10 city council and school board elections ends Friday, Feb. 28.

Listed below are the places on this year’s ballot. Below the name of each entity are the people currently in those positions, and following is a paragraph with information on who had filed as of Friday afternoon.

ALVORD CITY COUNCIL

Place 3 – Kirk Gibson
Place 4 – Megan Adams
Place 5 – Jim Enochs

Enochs has filed for re-election. Kirk Gibson has filed for Place 3.

ALVORD SCHOOL BOARD

Place 6 – Currently unfilled
Place 7 – Jeannette Ward

Ward has filed for re-election. Lex Williams has filed for Place 6, and Charles Neal Matthews has filed for Place 7.

BOYD CITY COUNCIL

Place 1 – Rodney Holmes
Place 3 – Crystal Keiper
Place 5 – Gary Brown

A special election will be held for place 2 for a one-year term. The position was formerly held by Rodney Scroggin who is now mayor. As of Friday, no one had filed for any of the positions.

BOYD SCHOOL BOARD

Place 1 – Kim Hudson
Place 2 – Pam Galloway
Place 3 – Jana Tate

Rebecca Parr has filed for Place 1 and Jake Tackett for Place 2. Tate has filed for re-election to Place 3.

BRIDGEPORT CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Keith McComis

Place 1 – A.Z. Smith
Place 2 – Kathy Kennedy

A special election will also be held for Place 3. Jimmy Meyers was appointed to the post in August to fill a vacancy created when Kevin Lopez resigned. Although there are two years left on the term, according to local government code, the person appointed to fill the vacancy serves only until the next regular election.

Kennedy and Corey Lane have filed for mayor, Smith has filed for re-election and Meyers filed for his current post, Place 3.

BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD

Place 6 – Ken Kilpatrick
Place 7 – Marti Hines

Kilpatrick and Donald Majka have filed for Place 6. Hines, Robert Marlett and Steve Stanford have filed for Place 7.

CHICO CITY COUNCIL

Two at-large seats are up for election as well as a partial term. The at-large seats are held by Karen Garrison and Aracely Cuevas. The seat for the partial term is held by Louise Gossett, who was appointed last year.

Garrison has filed for re-election. Gossett has also filed.

CHICO SCHOOL BOARD

Place 6 – G.A. Buckner
Place 7 – Doug Bowyer

Buckner and J.D. Coffman have filed for Place 6.

Bowyer and Noel Ruddick have filed for Place 7.

DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD

Place 3 – Alan White (has announced his intention to retire)
Place 4 – Jeff Alling

Alling has filed for re-election.

Jim Lamirand and Pete Rivera have filed for Place 3.

DECATUR CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Martin Woodruff
Place 1 – Dana Clinesmith
Place 3 – Cary Bohn
Place 5 – Jay Davidson

Davidson, Woodruff and Bohn have all filed for re-election. Carmelina Holloway has filed for Place 1.

NEWARK CITY COUNCIL

Place 1 – Bob Wells
Place 2 – Doug Anderson
Place 3 – Linda Anderson

A special one-year term election will be held for mayor, currently held by Gary Van Wagner, and Place 4 held by Taylor Burton.

No one had filed as of Friday.

NORTHWEST SCHOOL BOARD

Place 5 – Devonna Holland
Place 6 – Currently unfilled
Place 7 – Mel Fuller

Holland of Rhome and Jerry Burkett of Fort Worth have filed for place 5. Kristi Wade of Trophy Club has filed for place 6, while Fuller of Trophy Club has filed for place 7.

RHOME CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Chris Moore

Two at-large council positions currently held by Jo Ann Wilson and Michelle Pittman.

Pittman, Wilson and Jason Miller have filed for city council, and Louis Godfrey and Mark Lorance have filed for mayor.

RUNAWAY BAY CITY COUNCIL

The mayor and two council at-large seats are up for election. These posts are held by Robert Ryan, and Neil Peters and Kay Simmons, respectively.

Ryan has filed for mayor, and Peters and Simmons have filed for re-election.

Paradise City Council and school board and Slidell school board will conduct a joint election with the county in the fall. For the Paradise entities, this was in response to Senate Bill 100, which aimed at making the voting process easier and faster for military and overseas voters for primary and gubernatorial elections through the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.

Filing doesn’t begin until the fall.

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Commissioner candidates delve into issues

With four candidates running, the race for Precinct 4 county commissioner has generated a buzz among voters. Monday night all the candidates attended the primary election forum hosted by the Bridgeport Lions Club and outlined their goals and ideas on hot-button issues.

Republicans facing off in the March 4 primary include Gaylord Kennedy, David Stewart and current Precinct 4 Commissioner Terry Ross, who pleaded guilty last fall to abuse of official capacity and has been suspended since August 2012.

The Republican winner will face Democrat Kristina Kemp in November’s general election.

Kristina Kemp

Democrat Kristina Kemp addresses the crowd at the Bridgeport Lions Club. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Each candidate was given three minutes to introduce themselves and present their platforms before the program shifted to a question-and-answer session.

Ross was the first to speak and told voters that he “runs a tight ship.”

Terry Ross

Kelly Ross bends the ear of her husband, Republican candidate Terry Ross, during Monday’s event. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“I have a smaller crew and can get more done,” he said, noting that his payroll regularly runs $200,000 to $250,000 less than the other three precincts.

He also told the crowd that he doesn’t waste taxpayer money, and he looks forward to working with a new county judge.

Kennedy, a supervisor in Precinct 4, said his thorough knowledge of county roads in combination with his experience serving on the Bridgeport school board makes him a good candidate.

Gaylord Kennedy

Republican Gaylord Kennedy outlines his qualifications to be county commissioner. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Stewart, who is also employed in Precinct 4, said he can make more improvements with less money.

“We can cut $200,000 to $300,000 right of the top of this thing and do with less than what we’re doing right now,” he said.

David Stewart

Republican David Stewart waits for his turn at the podium. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Kemp noted that she has 12 years experience in business management and production control and has handled contracts totaling $40 million. She also told voters that commissioners recently appointed her to the advisory board of directors for the County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone, and she is a volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Wise and Jack counties.

Kemp also founded the first student volunteer organization at Weatherford College Wise County.

After introducing themselves, candidates addressed questions from the crowd. Two of the five questions submitted for the Precinct 4 candidates were not asked because they were deemed by the moderators as a personal attack.

BUDGET

Candidates were instead asked how much money is in the Precinct 4 budget, how they planned to spend it and what projects would be best served with that money.

Kemp said last year that Precinct 4 came in $800,000 under budget, and she wasn’t sure if that was a good thing.

“That’s a lot of money, and it makes me wonder if something didn’t get done,” she said. “I have looked at the budget previously, and the numbers have been very good. We get a decent amount of work done.”

She did say she’d like to see money earmarked for youth and to provide services to help meet the needs of children in Wise County.

Stewart said the 2013 budget wasn’t available when he attempted to get a copy. He said the precinct is currently running under-budget in part because interim Commissioner Glenn Hughes, who was appointed when Ross was suspended, has tried to be conservative in his spending and not make financial commitments that would be difficult for the next commissioner to maintain.

“He didn’t want to spend a lot of money, just being interim,” Stewart said, “and he’s cut back on a lot of things that he normally would do because he didn’t want to make certain commitments so he hasn’t spent a lot of money.

“If you don’t spend it, you lose it,” he said. “You give it back and give it to the other precincts and that doesn’t compute.”

Stewart indicated he would like commissioners to reconsider a 2011 decision that requires a portion of the leftover road money in each precinct be put in a road-and-bridge reserve fund. Money in the reserve fund can be used by any precinct for roadwork, as long as the withdrawal is first approved by the other commissioners.

Kennedy and Ross both said the Precinct 4 budget is right at $2 million.

Kennedy said since most are paved, he wants to evaluate the safety of the roads. He said people drive faster on the paved roads and sometimes safety has been overlooked.

He said guard rails already have been installed in some areas, and it’s something that will continue to be studied. He also noted that he and Hughes had discussed using more asphalt on the roads instead of chip and seal.

Ross took issue with the other candidates, saying the roads were “done.” He indicated that Precinct 4 had recently “wasted” $60,000 because crews simply re-topped instead of tearing out and redoing, as Ross had scheduled.

“TxDOT says a road has a seven-year life,” he said. “We’ve got roads that we can get a 15-year life out of and some that only last seven. If you put them on a 10-year cycle, you’d have to do 21 miles per year.”

He said after purchasing materials, it doesn’t leave much money for fuel and equipment.

EARTHQUAKES

Candidates also were asked to address the earthquake issues affecting Wise County residents – and if they thought the oil and gas industry was to blame.

“It’s not the actual fracking. It’s the water injection sites,” Kemp said. “… I’m not afraid to say it.”

Kemp said she hoped water used in fracking could be recycled, which would reduce the water injection sites and in turn, eliminate the problem.

Ross said he doesn’t know if the oil and gas industry is to blame, but he anticipates a battle. He emphasized the power of energy companies.

Kennedy said the state is investigating the issue, and he hopes the Railroad Commission’s study will uncover an answer.

“The jury is out on it, and they have someone at the state level trying to figure it out,” he said. “Maybe (oil and gas) is the problem, maybe not. The faults are way below where the injection wells go to. Do I think it’s causing it? I don’t know.”

Stewart said no one knows for sure.

“Only God can tell us exactly what happened,” he said. “I really don’t believe that it was the injection wells or fracking or anything like that … Once the geologists make a decision then we’ll have to address it at that point.”

FIRE DEPARTMENTS

The final question of the night was about fire department funding and if commissioners thought it should be increased.

All agreed departments could use more the money if available.

“They shouldn’t be out begging for money to save someone’s life,” Stewart said. “They need to be able to buy whatever equipment they need to save someone’s life.”

—–

The Decatur Wal-Mart, 800 S. U.S. 81/287, is hosting early voting 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 22. Early voting continues through Feb. 28 at three locations in Wise County, including Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut; Rhome City Hall, 105 First St.; and the Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center, 1000 Thompson St.

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Thrown to the Lions; Candidates talk at forum

Thrown to the Lions; Candidates talk at forum

The Bridgeport Lions Club packed the house Monday night for a primary election candidate forum.

Republican and Democratic candidates stumped on the eve of early voting for the March 4 primary, with the county judge race taking center stage.

Wiating in the Wings

WAITING IN THE WINGS – Republican candidates for Wise County judge, (from left) J.D. Clark, Keith McComis and Kyle Stephens, wait patiently for their turn at the podium Monday night. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Candidates were given three minutes to introduce themselves and present their platforms before the program shifted to a question-and-answer session.

Kyle Stephens introduced himself as a lifelong resident of Wise County and said he’s aspired to run for county judge for years.

“It’s something I always wanted to do,” the former county commissioner said. “When I first ran [for commissioner], that was my goal, to come back and run for judge.

“Judge McElhaney was a friend of mine, and I wouldn’t have run against him but upon his unfortunate death, it’s allowed me the opportunity.”

Chico Mayor J.D. Clark said a love for public service prompted him to run for county judge.

“Public service is my passion. It’s what led me to run for city council, led me to being a teacher, led me to run for mayor and now as a candidate for county judge,” he said. “I believe in the potential of Wise County, and it’s time for fresh, innovative leadership.”

Bridgeport Mayor Keith McComis said he’s been involved in community activities his entire life. He said he’s not a politician, but a public servant.

“I’ll be leaving my position better than where I found it,” he said of his mayoral post. “By the end of the fiscal year, we will have nine to 12 months of operating expenses in reserve, and this was done without a tax increase.”

Democratic candidate Jim Stegall spoke last.

“Ditto, ditto, ditto to all those guys,” he said. “Although I like them, I look forward to running against one of those guys.”

Stegall will face the winner of the Republican primary in the Nov. 4 general election. He told voters that he wants to work to ensure transparency and oversight of county activities. If elected, he also plans to manage county growth, keeping quality-of-life issues in mind along the way.

WATER

When the program shifted to the question-and-answer portion, audience members wanted county judge candidates to address long-range water planning, economic development, earthquakes and the local fairgrounds.

Candidates were asked their opinion of metering individual water wells, an idea that got no support.

As for a long-range water plan, candidates agreed action needed to be taken. McComis said the issue would require the cooperation of local entities as well as those at the state and federal levels.

“It’s very important with the growth that’s coming that we act and act quickly to get a water plan in place so our future generations will be supplied,” said Stephens.

Clark said he’s not content to wait on the state to solve the problem.

“We’ve seen how the state tends to operate,” he said.

Clark said Wise County is rich in human resources that should all come to the table to discuss and devise a plan.

“We do have an obstacle with the Tarrant Regional Water District, but they don’t control all the water rights,” he said.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

All candidates also strongly believe Wise County can benefit from economic development.

“You have to forget about bringing businesses to the north or south,” said Stephens. “It doesn’t matter where business goes, it will benefit everyone.”

Clark said the county judge is chief executive for the entire county, and it’s his job to pitch businesses on the benefits of the county.

“Which city they come to shouldn’t matter to the judge, just get them inside these borders,” he said.

McComis had looked into economic development corporations in Hood and Ellis counties and said he thinks something similar could be worked out for Wise.

“They’re unique and individual, but it can be done and I would work for that,” he said.

Stegall said Wise County needs to consider incoming growth and the fact that the outer loop of the Metroplex is coming into the eastern side of the county.

“We have to overcome logistics,” he said. He emphasized that the balance of education, employment training and economic development will lead to a greater quality of life for citizens.

EARTHQUAKES

Candidates were asked to address the earthquake issues affecting Wise County residents – and if they thought the oil and gas industry was to blame.

Stegall said to get to the root of the issue the county needs an elected representative to “go to bat for us.”

“We need to get the whole state involved in this,” he said.

McComis said the earthquakes start much deeper than where fracking occurs.

“It’s basically the nature of the earth,” he said. “If the oil field is doing it, then we’re all at risk because we live in the middle of it. It’s just something that you have to play by ear and hope it’s Mother Nature and it’ll go away one day.”

Clark said obviously something has changed that’s started causing the earthquakes, and he’s receptive to hearing more about the research and moving forward from that point.

Stephens said he wasn’t sure if it was the oil and gas industry or not.

“… I don’t know but we have to wait and see what they determine or what they think … again, that’s Mother Nature,” he said. “It comes from a higher power than anyone in this room.

“You can’t stop oil and gas,” he said. “That’s the rock we lean on. Until they actually tell us what’s causing it, there’s nothing that we can go forward with.”

FAIRGROUNDS

The group was also asked if they felt the way in which the county seized the fairgrounds from the Wise County Sheriff’s Posse was fair to citizens and the Posse, and what they would do to restore the relationship and transparency to county government.

Stephens said he was a former Sheriff’s Posse member and he wasn’t sure the relationship could be mended at this time.

“It can in time, but that will be long after me I’m afraid,” he said. “If elected county judge, I will move forward to make sure facilities are kept up and make sure the youth of the county have a place to go.”

Clark said he agrees that the county needs a first-class fairgrounds facility, but with all the “hurt feelings and hard feelings, obviously, things could have been handled better.”

He said although he couldn’t undo what’s already happened, he’s committed to being a bridge builder in the community.

“We’re going to be in this together and have a fairgrounds that we all approve of and can be proud of,” he said.

McComis said it’s hard to find an answer or fault.

“It’s a shame that it ended the way it ended …” he said. “But it needs to be something we need to take pride in no matter where it’s at. Without knowing what went on on both sides, I can’t tell you what I’d do.”

Stegall said if elected, he looks forward to working with commissioners to bring it back to a “world-class place.”

Brenda Rowe

I’m assuring a perfect transition from a paper to electronic record system. I’m prepared for the future as well as protecting the past by preserving historical documents.” Brenda Rowe, Rep.

Terry Ross

“I run a tight ship in my barn. I have a smaller crew and can get more done. My payroll runs $200,000 to $250,000 less [than other precincts].” Terry Ross, Rep.

David Stewart

“I believe I can make more improvements with less money. I think we can cut the budgets. All these roads are just about done in Precinct 4. All we need to do is maintenance.” David Stewart, Rep.

Jan Morrow

“We’re touching the lives of many over criminal and civil proceedings. They’re matters that affect not only individuals but also the entire county and beyond. … It’s about having fair and equal justice for our families and communities.” Jan Morrow, Rep.

Callie Manning

“The scope of my job has given me the opportunity to experience (electronic) systems … Many larger counties are more advanced in their filing systems, so I have experience with those. Since I started with (Simpson, Boyd and Powers) 14 years ago, I’ve been preparing for this job.” Callie Manning, Rep.

Gaylord Kennedy

“I’m a supervisor in Precinct 4 and have thorough knowledge of roads throughout the precinct. I believe with my experience I’m qualified to be commissioner of Precinct 4 and look forward to serving Wise County.” Gaylord Kennedy, Rep.

Kristina Kemp

“Honesty, accountability and transparency is what this office needs, and we should demand it from the next commissioner. And I believe I can fulfill these requirements.” Kristina Kemp, Dem.

Josh Reynolds

“I want to continue to be a public servant as a JP. I work for the citizens of Wise County, and I want to continue. The citizens deserve a friendly, helpful JP.” Josh Reynolds, Rep.

Katherine Hudson

“This is not a position for me, this is a passion for me. If it wasn’t for the taxpayer, we wouldn’t be here. The taxpayers allow us to serve for y’all. The taxpayer is not an interruption. That’s what we’re there for.” Katherine Hudson, Rep.

Clay Poynor

“I have the opportunity to assist people at their best and sometimes at their worst. … All people want to be welcome, understood, comfortable and informed.” Clay Poynor, Rep.

Teresa Graves

“It matters who our local politicians are and how they’re perceived in other counties. I want to improve on what we already have because we’re a great group of people, and I’m proud to live here.” Teresa Graves, Rep.

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Candidates running for Precinct 4 commissioner were also asked about the precinct budgets and to address the issue of earthquakes affecting Wise County residents. Read their responses in the Feb. 22 issue of the Messenger.

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Unopposed candidates who also spoke included Melton Cude, running for re-election as County Court-at-Law No. 1 judge; Terri Johnson, running for re-election as Precinct 2 justice of the peace; and Tracy Smith, running for Wise County Democratic Party chair. Daniel Rivas, running for county treasurer, was the only opposed candidate not in attendance.

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Candidates outline ideas

Three candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for Wise County judge in the March 4 primary. They will appear on the ballot in the following order: Kyle Stephens, J.D. Clark, Keith McComis.

The Messenger devised a list of topics that the next county judge will likely face and asked the candidates six questions related to these topics. The men were asked to submit written responses of 150 words or less.

The questions are listed below, followed by each candidate’s name and their answers. Anything more than 150 words was deleted, and that is noted.

1. In this year’s campaign, a county water plan has been mentioned, but county government has not traditionally devised water plans. Why is this important and how would you address it?

2. It’s no secret that county office space is at a premium. What is the biggest facilities issue faced by the county, and how should it be addressed?

3. Although many local cities have economic development corporations, the county has never pursued a countywide EDC. In your opinion, is that important? Why or why not? If you support the idea, how would it work and how would it be funded?

4. What role should the county have in regional and state organizations such as the North Central Texas Council of Governments and why?

5. In recent years, the local fire departments have held fundraisers to purchase needed equipment. Do you think the fire departments are adequately funded?

6. How do you think the county handled the takeover of the fairgrounds? Would you have done anything differently? If so, please explain.

Kyle Stephens

KYLE STEPHENS

1. Water has always been an issue but one that was not widely discussed. We have always taken it for granted. This issue has been looked at as not being a big problem by most, but as the population grows, the demand for water follows. It has become more important in recent years with the droughts which have been endured.

As county judge, I will work with county and state officials to get Wise County involved with the newly activated Proposition 6. Proposition 6 creates and constitutionally dedicates two new funds: the state water implementation fund for Texas and the state water implementation revenue fund for Texas. The 2012 state water plan contains numerous strategies to meet water demands during droughts. These strategies are the water supply projects that will be eligible for funding.

2. The biggest issue is the cramped working environment that courthouse employees have to deal with on a daily basis, followed by the numerous buildings that are spread out in the county seat. Citizens have to go to multiple buildings to conduct business. Another issue is the county jail. As the county continues to grow, unfortunately, so does the jail population. The way the county is growing it will not be too far in the future that a new jail will be needed.

This shall be addressed by doing a facility study for a new courthouse annex, one that would be able to house most all county offices in one building. Doing so would allow multiple buildings to be sold and added back to the tax roll. Such a study would include all outlying buildings without diminishing the effectiveness of the services in said areas.

3. EDC plays an important part when it comes to enticing a business to relocate into a particular area. Most large manufacturers desire several things. Among these are major traffic flow (truck routes, railroads, etc.), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ratings, other competitive businesses and local taxes.

It would be beneficial for a countywide EDC to be formed so that the cities of Wise County could work together to entice manufacturing business to help with the tax base. It would be a benefit to all of Wise County. This is made possible because each city offers their individual, desired characteristic of a specific industry.

At this time it is unclear where funding could be acquired. However, due to the potential gains countywide, I do not see there being a problem with the commissioners court coming to terms with beneficial solutions for all involved.

4. It is very important for the county to be involved with organizations on both regional and state levels. It pays to have connections through these organizations to help further knowledge and education to better benefit Wise County with problems it may have due to growth, tax base and even legislative issues. With most every issue the county will face in future growth, there is someone, somewhere that has faced similar issues. It is important to learn from others’ mistakes as well as their accomplishments. An active role in these organizations can also bring recognition and beneficial attention to the county.

5. My answer to this would be yes and no. The commissioners court needs to take a base rate that is fair to all departments in the county, then add to each department’s funding based on:

  • geographical area size – the miles they travel
  • call volume – number of calls they run
  • type of call – structure fire, grass fire, medical, vehicle accidents, etc. Each call will determine the type of equipment required.

Each department receives approximately $56,000 per year from the county. That may sound like a lot of money, but when you take into account the cost associated with the equipment, maintenance and fuel, the money doesn’t go very far.

6. In visiting with people involved on both sides of the issue (Sheriff’s Posse and county officials, alike), some say it wasn’t handled very well, and others say it was. Not being involved, it would be hard for me to say without further knowledge of all the details.

As is with any transaction, one can always sit back and say, “It would have been better to …” Then again, some would say, “There was no other way it could have been handled.”

In light of the fairgrounds now being the responsibility of the county, I will work to ensure that such a need for a facility where the youth of Wise County can come together is not forgotten.

J.D. Clark

J.D. CLARK

1. Water is our most precious resource, and as we grow, it will become even more valuable. It is absolutely crucial that we develop, implement and maintain an innovative water plan that will meet the long-term demands of our growing population, our increased industry, and our continued agricultural traditions.

The county judge should lead the charge in assembling a team to develop a plan to manage and protect our water resources for the coming years. It begins with getting all stakeholders with water knowledge and ideas at the same table: hydrologists, engineers, groundwater specialists, farmers, ranchers, developers and representatives from the oil and gas industry.

We have incredible human resources in Wise County, and we need to pull that expertise together to develop an innovative, responsible water plan for our county. If we don’t, outside entities will eventually work to further regulate Wise County water and limit our own local input.

2. County office space can seem like a piece-meal strategy: add a building here, convert a building there. By having our offices spread out in separate buildings with separate utilities, we are not being convenient for our taxpayers or efficient with our tax dollars. It is time to be proactive rather than reactive. We need a comprehensive, fiscally responsible facilities plan to improve and upgrade our facilities into a more efficient system, rather than performing “Band-Aid” fixes as problems and growth occur. Temporary solutions result in greater long-term costs for taxpayers.

We also face major challenges in guaranteeing that our courthouse has proper security measures to keep our employees and visitors safe. Our historic courthouse was obviously not designed with modern security in mind, so it is imperative that we maintain the integrity of that iconic building while also providing a secure facility for our court proceedings.

3. As the county’s chief executive, the county judge should have an active role in promoting, attracting and growing business in Wise County. Our county revenue should increase from greater economic activity, not from increased taxes. Promoting countywide economic development is different from creating a countywide economic development corporation because an EDC would require a new sales tax for Wise County residents.

Instead, my vision for Wise County economic development is a collaborative effort modeled after the statewide TexasOne program. That program does not use tax dollars; instead, it uses funds from members and donors (private enterprises, local chambers, etc.) to create outreach, marketing and communication programs targeting businesses and site selectors. Our county mission should be promoting a healthy Wise County business environment. The community a business chooses to call home should not matter to the county judge. As long as it is in Wise County, we all benefit.

4. We should remain actively engaged in organizations because they allow us to be ahead of the curve on legislation and build camaraderie between counties as we tackle similar challenges and issues. The North Central Texas Council of Governments provides us with opportunities for grant funding for projects and growth plans, such as our long-term thoroughfare plan and law enforcement projects.

Wise County is also involved in the Conference of Urban Counties because of our role in the rapidly-growing DFW Metroplex. This organization represents 80 percent of the state’s population and allows us to have a voice in potential legislation that could affect Wise County. There is strength in numbers when we deal with issues in Austin, and our collaboration in that organization is an asset.

Our elected officials also belong to professional organizations, which provide required continuing education and professional development at a more affordable rate than obtaining the training independently.

5. I am a volunteer firefighter myself, so I understand firsthand the challenges that our rural fire departments face. As our county population grows, so does our need for well-equipped, trained fire departments. The reality, though, is that our population is often growing faster than the funding available for fire departments. The county currently provides a generous amount of funding to the departments, but that will not always be enough. Our county leadership must always be looking for opportunities to increase our public safety measures, including the resources available to our local fire departments.

As Ronald Reagan once said, “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.” As your county judge, I am committed to maintaining a positive, open dialogue with all of our fire departments to ensure that they have avenues and opportunities available to obtain the equipment, training and resources required to protect our county.

6. I agree that our youth and our residents deserve a first-class fairgrounds facility, and our county will benefit from the economic development opportunities presented by the fairgrounds. As the county judge, I will work to develop a shared vision in our community for the facilities. I have always been a person – in my official capacity and in personal life – who looks to build coalitions and relationships, and relationships will be crucial in any successful fairgrounds project.

The Posse and the county should be partners in this community, not adversaries, and I will keep us all focused on the goal of making Wise County a better place now and for our future generations. As we work toward that goal, we will be open, honest and respectful with all stakeholders involved. There will be growing pains along the way, but we will come out as a stronger community in the end.

Keith McComis

KEITH MCCOMIS

1. Lake Bridgeport was built in 1932 to control flooding and to supply the Fort Worth area with water. Since then a big burden has been put on the lake, with growing populations in the Fort Worth area, our towns and county. Lake Bridgeport is an approximately 13,000- acre lake that services a large amount of water to several entities – city of Bridgeport, Decatur, West Wise, Walnut Creek, several crushers, power plants and Devon Energy Gas Plant.

As some may know, TRWD tried to get water from the state of Oklahoma on a pact agreement that included several states and the Supreme Court ruled against them. For this reason, our plans for future water needs to be brought to TRWD or the Texas legislation. The county has no authority in water issues that belong to TRWD and even if they did, enforcement would be a nightmare.

This would entail meeting with TRWD and the Texas Legislation if needed.

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2. The commissioners and Judge McElhaney appointed a committee to research this and came up with a plan that duplicates Bell County. It would include moving the DA, county attorney, district clerk, county clerk, all courts, to this new facility. Judge McElhaney was in the process of finding a suitable location for this facility.

Within the Texas Constitution, the facilities have a maximum distance from the county seat so this is somewhat hindering. He was also waiting on bond debts to be paid so this would not create a tax or fee increase. The plan is already in place, it is just a matter of getting debt paid. I think this is a great plan and commend everyone that has worked on it.

The county courthouse as we know it will not change other than some offices that are housed there. For example, the DA’s office is on the second floor with documents stored on the third, second floor and in the basement.

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3. Economic development is not common on the county level but can and is being done. Hood County is one that has an EDC. The county has a few options to make this work. You can partner with towns or you can create your own EDC. Starting a county EDC will require funding and the only ways to do this are to fund it through your general fund or add an increase to sales taxes.

A sales tax in the present economy, in my opinion, is not an option. However, a sales tax increase would have to go before the citizens for a vote. These funds would be earmarked for a certain use and cannot be used for anything else. There is probably an option for Wise County, but it is something that has to be looked at very closely due to the fact that the funds used to finance this department are very specific.

(Exceeded word limit.)

4. The county should play a big and important role in state and regional organizations. This would enable Wise County to have a voice in these organizations and take our needs to the top. With the state and regional organizations, they offer a lot to communities if you get involved. Transportation is just one of the many projects they offer. My goal would be to follow Judge McElhaney and possibly serve on one of the boards. Wise County as a whole needs to participate in anything that will help the citizens and not increase their taxes or fees.

5. Without knowing the finances of each department, this would be hard to answer. With that being said, everyone knows our county is growing from the east. Each town has a budget for their fire departments, and everyone knows these departments go out of their respected towns into the unincorporated parts of the county to assist citizens.

The volunteer firefighters are unique individuals giving of their personal time to assist those in need. They should be able to spend their down time with family and activities of their choosing instead of out trying to raise more funds. This is definitely something that needs to be reviewed and some plan put in place to help out more.

Remember, the towns are their primary source of revenue, although the county subsidizes. Not everyone moving into the county goes to a town. Several people like the country-style setting, and these people need to be sure they have adequate fire protection.

6. It is very hard to get information on this subject, so most of us have to speculate on this one. Not knowing the facts or any of the conversations that went on between the two entities, I would have to hope that a different ending and solution could have been worked out. From the outside looking in, I would like to think this could have been done to the satisfaction of all involved and a good solution could be worked out for the betterment of all. Sitting down and working out solutions is one of my strong points. I do this with my position on the city level along with my business.

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Early voting starts Tuesday

Early voting for the March 4 Republican and Democratic primaries starts Tuesday.

Voting is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday, Feb. 18-28, at three locations in Wise County. A big change for this year is the early voting location in Decatur, which has moved from the Civic Center to Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut.

Rhome City Hall, 105 First St., and the Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center, 1000 Thompson St., are the other early voting locations.

The Decatur Wal-Mart, 800 S. U.S. 81/287, will also host early voting 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22.

If you didn’t vote in last November’s general election that featured amendments to the Texas Constitution, something else will be new.

Texas now requires voters to present a valid form of photo identification before casting a ballot. Prior to last fall, your voter registration card was all that was needed. The change is due to a law passed by the Texas legislature in 2011.

The law includes seven forms of acceptable ID:

  • Texas driver’s license
  • Texas election identification certificate (EIC)
  • Texas personal identification card
  • Texas concealed handgun license
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport

To be eligible for a Texas election identification certificate (EIC), you must not have any other acceptable form of identification. An EIC may be obtained at any DPS office in the state during regular business hours. Certain DPS Driver License offices will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through March 1. The closest offices that are open on Saturdays are located at 820 N. Loop 288 in Denton, 624 NE Loop 820 in Hurst, 6316 Lake Worth Blvd. in Lake Worth, and 190 N. Valley Pkwy. Ste. 201 in Lewisville.

Voters with a disability could apply with the county voter registrar for a permanent exemption if they meet certain requirements. Voters with a religious objection to being photographed, or voters who have lost their ID as a result of certain natural disasters, may vote a provisional ballot.

They and those with religious objections must sign an affidavit within six days of the election at the voter registrar’s office swearing to those facts.

If the name on your photo identification does not match the name on the voter rolls, it will be up to the election judge to determine if the name is “substantially similar.” If so, the voter will simply check a form stating they are who they say they are.

If the person does not have proper photo identification, they will still be allowed to vote provisionally. They will then be required to show proper identification to the county voter registrar within six days of the election.

For more information on the new photo identification law, visit wcmess.com/VoteID. For more information on the law or other election-related questions, call the Wise County Elections office at 940-626-4453.

CANDIDATE FORUM PLANNED

The Bridgeport Lions Club will host a Primary Election Public Forum at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, at their building located at 1107 8th St. in Bridgeport. All Republican and Democratic candidates in the March 4 primary election have been invited, and each candidate will present his or her platform or position on the issues affecting Wise County. Refreshments will be provided. For information, call 940-683-4048.

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More candidates file

The filing period for the May 10 city council and school board elections ends Friday, Feb. 28.

Listed below are the places on this year’s ballot. Below the name of each entity are the people currently in those positions, and following is a paragraph with information on who had filed as of Friday afternoon.

ALVORD CITY COUNCIL

Place 3 – Kirk Gibson
Place 4 – Megan Adams
Place 5 – Jim Enochs

As of Friday, Enochs remained the only one to file for re-election.

ALVORD SCHOOL BOARD

Place 6 – Currently unfilled
Place 7 – Jeannette Ward

Ward has filed for re-election, and Lex Williams has filed for Place 6.

BOYD CITY COUNCIL

Place 1 – Rodney Holmes
Place 3 – Crystal Keiper
Place 5 – Mark Culpepper

A special election will be held for place 2 for a one-year term. The position was formerly held by Rodney Scroggin who is now mayor. As of Friday, no one had filed for any of the positions.

BOYD SCHOOL BOARD

Place 1 – Kim Hudson
Place 2 – Pam Galloway
Place 3 – Jana Tate

No one had filed as of Friday.

BRIDGEPORT CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Keith McComis
Place 1 – A.Z. Smith
Place 2 – Kathy Kennedy

A special election will also be held for Place 3. Jimmy Meyers was appointed to the post in August to fill a vacancy created when Kevin Lopez resigned. Although there are two years left on the term, according to local government code, the person appointed to fill the vacancy serves only until the next regular election.

Kennedy and Corey Lane have filed for mayor, Smith has filed for re-election and Meyers filed for his current post, Place 3.

BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD

Place 6 – Ken Kilpatrick
Place 7 – Marti Hines

Kilpatrick and Donald Majka have filed for Place 6. Hines, Robert Marlett and Steve Stanford have filed for Place 7.

CHICO CITY COUNCIL

Two at-large seats are up for election as well as a partial term. The at-large seats are held by Karen Garrison and Aracely Cuevas. The seat for the partial term is held by Louise Gossett, who was appointed last year.

Garrison has filed for re-election.

CHICO SCHOOL BOARD

Place 6 – G.A. Buckner
Place 7 – Doug Bowyer

Buckner and J.D. Coffman have filed for Place 6.

Bowyer and Noel Ruddick have filed for Place 7.

DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD

Place 3 – Alan White (has announced his intention to retire)
Place 4 – Jeff Alling

Alling has filed for re-election.

Jim Lamirand and Pete Rivera have filed for Place 3.

DECATUR CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Martin Woodruff
Place 1 – Dana Clinesmith
Place 3 – Cary Bohn
Place 5 – Jay Davidson

At press time Friday, Davidson, Woodruff and Bohn had all filed for re-election.

NEWARK CITY COUNCIL

Place 1 – Bob Wells
Place 2 – Doug Anderson
Place 3 – Linda Anderson

A special one-year term election will be held for mayor, currently held by Gary Van Wagner, and Place 4 held by Taylor Burton.

No one had filed as of Friday.

NORTHWEST SCHOOL BOARD

Place 5 – Devonna Holland
Place 6 – Currently unfilled
Place 7 – Mel Fuller

Holland of Rhome and Jerry Burkett of Fort Worth have filed for place 5. Fuller of Trophy Club has filed for place 7.

RHOME CITY COUNCIL

Mayor – Chris Moore

Two at-large council positions currently held by Jo Ann Wilson and Michelle Pittman.

Pittman and Wilson have filed for re-election on city council, and Louis Godfrey and Mark Lorance have filed for mayor.

RUNAWAY BAY CITY COUNCIL

The mayor and two council at-large seats are up for election. These posts are held by Robert Ryan, and Neil Peters and Kay Simmons, respectively.

Ryan has filed for mayor. Peters and Simmons have filed for election.

Paradise City Council and school board and Slidell school board will conduct a joint election with the county in the fall. For the Paradise entities, this was in response to Senate Bill 100, which aimed at making the voting process easier and faster for military and overseas voters for primary and gubernatorial elections through the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.

Filing doesn’t begin until the fall.

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Voters will see changes to polling locations

If you plan on voting in this year’s primary, you should take note of a few changes.

Early voting for the March 4 Republican and Democratic primaries is each weekday, Feb. 18-28, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at three locations in Wise County. A big change for this year is the early voting location in Decatur, which has moved from the Civic Center to Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut.

Rhome City Hall, 105 First St., and the Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center, 1000 Thompson St., are the other early voting locations.

The Decatur Wal-Mart, 800 S. U.S. 81/287, will also host early voting 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22.

Two election-day voting locations have also changed. Registered voters in Precincts 2-7 and 2-8 will not vote at the Decatur Civic Center but rather the Assumption Catholic Church, 1305 S. Deer Park in Decatur.

If you didn’t vote in last November’s general election that featured amendments to the Texas Constitution, something else will be new.

Texas now requires voters to present a valid form of photo identification before casting a ballot. Prior to last fall, your voter registration card was all that was needed. The change is due to a law passed by the Texas legislature in 2011.

The law includes seven forms of acceptable ID:

  • Texas driver’s license
  • Texas election identification certificate (EIC)
  • Texas personal identification card
  • Texas concealed handgun license
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport

To be eligible for a Texas election identification certificate (EIC), you must not have any other acceptable form of identification. An EIC may be obtained at any DPS office in the state during regular business hours. Certain DPS Driver License offices will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through March 1. The closest offices that are open on Saturdays are located at 820 N. Loop 288 in Denton, 624 NE Loop 820 in Hurst, 6316 Lake Worth Blvd. in Lake Worth, and 190 N. Valley Pkwy. Ste. 201 in Lewisville.

Voters with a disability could apply with the county voter registrar for a permanent exemption if they meet certain requirements. Voters with a religious objection to being photographed, or voters who have lost their ID as a result of certain natural disasters, may vote a provisional ballot.

They and those with religious objections must sign an affidavit within six days of the election at the voter registrar’s office swearing to those facts.

If the name on your photo identification does not match the name on the voter rolls, it will be up to the election judge to determine if the name is “substantially similar.” If so, the voter will simply check a form stating they are who they say they are.

If the person does not have proper photo identification, they will still be allowed to vote provisionally. They will then be required to show proper identification to the county voter registrar within six days of the election.

For more information on the new photo identification law, visit wcmess.com/VoteID. For more information on the law or other election-related questions, call the Wise County Elections office at 940-626-4453.

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Moore runs no more; Lorance eyes return

For eight years, Rhome Mayor Chris Moore has served as a member of the city council and most recently as mayor of the third-largest city in Wise.

But Moore, who also serves as assistant chief for the Rhome Volunteer Fire Department, said he will not be on the ballot in the city’s May election.

“I think I’m done,” Moore said. “A man can only take so much.”

“People just won’t let things go. It’s always one thing or another. The last workshop we had was about nothing but the fire department.”

A topic at multiple council meetings and the primary focus of a council workshop held late last month was whether a member of city council can also serve as a member of the volunteer fire department.

After the workshop, a majority of council appeared ready to pass an ordinance at the next meeting stipulating no more than two members of the council, including the mayoral position, can serve on the Rhome Fire Department. Those council members also can’t vote on issues related to the fire department, the proposed ordinance adds.

“I’m tired of it,” Moore said. “And I can’t get the city council to fix it. I don’t have a vote. I know I have a voice, but they have their minds made up, and I’m fed up.”

Moore plans to finish his term through the May election.

With his decision not to run, former longtime mayor Mark Lorance has filed for the position. His hope is to get the council to focus on big-picture projects and stop sweating the small stuff so much.

“The council seems to be snipping at each other a little too much,” Lorance said. “I’d like to see the council get back to projects that focus on growth. We have to focus on growth. The housing market is coming back with a vengeance. We have the potential for a lot of growth to come to this city.”

Lorance knows about big projects. After serving two years as a council member and 10 more as mayor, he stepped away from office for the last couple of years to focus squarely on his work as a civil engineer. His firm recently helped complete a 14-mile segment of the Chisholm Trail Parkway, a 28-mile toll road connecting south Fort Worth and Cleburne, scheduled to open this spring.

His company also helped complete a 30-mile section of the Grand Parkway, a 180-mile loop around a seven-county greater-Houston metropolitan area which will open to traffic sometime in 2015.

“Those were career projects for me,” he said. “It took up 110 percent of my time.”

If elected, Lorance wants to use some of that time to get the council working as a group again on bigger issues. He said he wouldn’t mind if every member of the council also served on the fire department.

“We’ve got bigger issues to focus on,” Lorance said.

One of those issues is the water and sewer department.

“It lost about $400,000,” said city auditor Peter Chaney. “It can’t continue this way. You’re going to have to increase rates. There is no alternative. You can’t continue to have another year like this. You might be able to do that in Washington, D.C., but not in Rhome, Texas.”

Lorance said the city has lost some revenue in that area due to the slowdown in oil and gas development in the region.

“We used to sell a lot of water to the oil and gas industry,” Lorance said. “That has gone away. We also had some maintenance issues, but that can always pop up. We are going to have to look at a new rate structure.”

So far Lorance has drawn no other competitors in the race.

“I look forward to working with the council,” Lorance said. “We can accomplish a lot if we work together.”

The May race also has two city council positions up for election. Incumbents Jo Ann Wilson and Michelle Pittman have been the only two to file so far for those spots.

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Campaign dollars pile up

Wise County judge candidate J.D. Clark continues to outpace his competitors in political campaign collections, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.

In less than a month, he collected $3,370, bringing his total campaign contributions to $7,700. Fellow judge candidate Keith McComis reported $1,400 in contributions, and Kyle Stephens reported no contributions.

The reports turned in Monday detail contributions and expenditures from Jan. 1 to Jan. 23, and all opposed candidates are required by the Texas Ethics Commission to file the report. Two more reports will be filed before the March 4 primary.

While Clark collected the most, he spent little in the 23-day window: $820.40. This was after reporting more than $4,000 in expenditures in the last report, which covered July 1 through Dec. 31, 2013.

McComis reported spending $2,099.91 during January, and his previous report indicated he spent $2,835.90 July 1 through Dec. 31, 2013.

Stephens reported almost $3,000 in expenditures in the last report, but none Jan. 1-23.

Three candidates topped the $3,000 mark for this reporting period. They include: Jan Morrow, $3,382.73, seeking re-election as Precinct 1 justice of the peace; Katherine Hudson, $3,209.39, seeking re-election as county treasurer; and Callie Manning, $3,113.38, who is running for district clerk.

Below is a list of candidates and the information as it appears on their campaign finance report forms.

COUNTY JUDGE REPUBLICANS

  • J.D. Clark: $3,370 contributions, $820.40 expenditures

Contributions included $500 each from Jim and Anna Hand of Chico, Kenneth and JoAnn Manning of Chico, Brian and Lana Hand of Decatur and Tera Huffman of College Station; $250 each from Jerrod Mowery of Bridgeport and Robin Melton of Runaway Bay; $200 each from Rebecca Parr of Boyd and Paul and Jacqui Duffley of Alvord; and $100 from Joe Clark of Chico.

  • Keith McComis: $1,400 contributions, $2,099.91 expenditures
  • Contributions included $500 from Fred Meyers of Bridgeport; $250 from Sid Hodges of Bridgeport; and $100 each from Gaylan Rice of Bridgeport and Jerry Stanfield of Chico. McComis also reported $450 in donations of $50 or less.

    • Kyle Stephens: $0 contributions, $0 expenditures

    DEMOCRAT

    • Jim Stegall: $0 contributions, $269.88 expenditures

    PRECINCT 4 COUNTY COMMISSIONER REPUBLICANS

    Gaylord Kennedy: $0 contributions, $785.09 expenditures

  • David Stewart: $100 contributions, $849.77 expenditures
  • Although Stewart reported $100 total contributions, he itemized $150. Those included a $100 contribution from Robert Moody of Runaway Bay and $50 from Charles Todd of Runaway Bay.

    • Terry Ross: $550 contributions, $550 expenditures

    Contributions included $350 from Billy Joe Shepherd of Bridgeport and $200 from Sid Hodges of Bridgeport.

    DEMOCRAT

    • Kristina Kemp: $300 contributions, $0 expenditures

    Kemp reported a single contribution of $300 from Lee Foster of Alvord.

    DISTRICT CLERK REPUBLICANS

    • Brenda Rowe: $0 contributions, $892.18 expenditures
    • Callie Manning: $1,975 contributions, $3,113.38 expenditures

    Contributions included $1,000 from Derrick Boyd of Decatur; $500 from Dwayne and Debbie Watts of Bridgeport; $200 from University of Gymnastics, Dayna Deprospero; $100 each from Barbara Robinson of Alvord and J.E. Haynes of Decatur; and $75 from Janey Cooper of Sunset.

    COUNTY TREASURER REPUBLICANS

    • Katherine Hudson: $0 contributions; $3,209.39 expenditures
    • Daniel Rivas: $925 contributions; $281.45 expenditures

    Contributions included $500 from Bill Hoerth of Alvord; $200 from Jerry Howard of Decatur; $100 each from Mel Holloway of Decatur and Clarence Winn of Decatur; and $25 from Dr. Charles Boatner.

    PRECINCT 1 JUSTICE OF THE PEACE REPUBLICANS

    • Jan Morrow: $600 contributions, $3,382.73 expenditures

    Contributions included $300 each from Karl Klement Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Karl Klement and Karl Klement Chrylser Dodge Jeep, Kim Klement.

    • Josh Reynolds: $0 contributions, $10 expenditures

    PRECINCT 4 JUSTICE OF THE PEACE REPUBLICANS

    • Clay Poynor: $200 contributions, $1,575 expenditures

    Poynor reported a single $200 contribution from Sid and Bonnie Hodges of Bridgeport.

    • Teresa Graves: $100 contributions, $1,331.47 expenditures

    Graves reported a single $100 contribution from Pat Younger of Chico.

    The Wise County Republican Party will host a candidate debate 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, at the Decatur Civic Center. All contested candidates are expected to attend.

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    Candidates jump to file

    The filing period for the May 10 city council and school board elections opened Wednesday, and by Friday, several candidates had already thrown their hats in the ring.

    Filing deadline is Friday, Feb. 28.

    Listed below are the places on this year’s ballot. Below the name of each entity are the people currently in those positions, and following is a paragraph with information on who had filed as of Friday afternoon.

    ALVORD CITY COUNCIL

    Place 3 – Kirk Gibson
    Place 4 – Megan Adams
    Place 5 – Jim Enochs

    As of Friday afternoon, no one had filed.

    ALVORD SCHOOL BOARD

    Place 6 – Currently unfilled
    Place 7 – Jeannette Ward

    Ward has filed for re-election.

    BOYD CITY COUNCIL

    Place 1 – Rodney Holmes
    Place 3 – Crystal Keiper
    Place 5 – Mark Culpepper

    A special election will be held for place 2 for a one-year term. The position was formerly held by Rodney Scroggin who is now mayor. As of Friday, no one had filed for any of the positions.

    BOYD SCHOOL BOARD

    Place 1 – Kim Hudson
    Place 2 – Pam Galloway
    Place 3 – Jana Tate

    No one had filed as of Friday.

    BRIDGEPORT CITY COUNCIL

    Mayor – Keith McComis
    Place 1 – A.Z. Smith
    Place 2 – Kathy Kennedy

    A special election will also be held for Place 3. Jimmy Meyers was appointed to the post in August to fill a vacancy created when Kevin Lopez resigned. Although there are two years left on the term, according to local government code, the person appointed to fill the vacancy serves only until the next regular election.

    Kennedy has filed for mayor, Smith has filed for re-election and Meyers filed for his current post, Place 3.

    BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD

    Place 6 – Ken Kilpatrick
    Place 7 – Marti Hines

    Kilpatrick has filed for Place 6. Hines and Robert Marlett have filed for Place 7.

    CHICO CITY COUNCIL

    Two at-large seats are up for election as well as a partial term. The at-large seats are held by Karen Garrison and Aracely Cuevas. The seat for the partial term is held by Louise Gossett, who was appointed last year.

    No one had filed as of Friday.

    CHICO SCHOOL BOARD

    Place 6 – G.A. Buckner
    Place 7 – Doug Bowyer

    J.D. Coffman has filed for Place 6.

    Noel Ruddick has filed for Place 7.

    Incumbents had not filed as of Friday.

    DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD

    Place 3 – Alan White (has announced his intention to retire)
    Place 4 – Jeff Alling

    Alling has filed for re-election.

    Jim Lamirand has filed for Place 3.

    DECATUR CITY COUNCIL

    Mayor – Martin Woodruff
    Place 1 – Dana Clinesmith
    Place 3 – Cary Bohn
    Place 5 – Jay Davidson

    Davidson was the only one to have filed as of Friday afternoon.

    NEWARK CITY COUNCIL

    Place 1 – Bob Wells
    Place 2 – Doug Anderson
    Place 3 – Linda Anderson

    A special one-year term election will be held for mayor, currently held by Gary Van Wagner, and Place 4 held by Taylor Burton.

    No one had filed as of Friday.

    NORTHWEST SCHOOL BOARD

    Place 5 – Devonna Holland
    Place 6 – Currently unfilled
    Place 7 – Mel Fuller

    Fuller has filed for place 7.

    RHOME CITY COUNCIL

    Mayor – Chris Moore

    Two at-large council positions currently held by Jo Ann Wilson and Michelle Pittman.

    Pittman has filed for re-election on city council, and Mark Lorance has filed for mayor.

    RUNAWAY BAY CITY COUNCIL

    The mayor and two council at-large seats are up for election. These posts are held by Robert Ryan, and Neil Peters and Kay Simmons, respectively.

    Peters has filed.

    Paradise City Council and school board and Slidell school board will conduct a joint election with the county in the fall. For the Paradise entities, this was in response to Senate Bill 100, which aimed at making the voting process easier and faster for military and overseas voters for primary and gubernatorial elections through the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.

    Filing doesn’t begin until the fall.

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    Election filing period opens

    The filing period for the May 10 city council and school board elections opened today (Jan. 29) and runs through Friday, Feb. 28.

    The following places are on this year’s ballot. Also listed are the people currently in those positions.

    ALVORD CITY COUNCIL

    Place 3 – Kirk Gibson
    Place 4 – Megan Adams
    Place 5 – Jim Enochs

    ALVORD SCHOOL BOARD

    Place 6 – Currently unfilled
    Place 7 – Jeannette Ward

    BOYD CITY COUNCIL

    Place 1 – Rodney Holmes
    Place 3 – Crystal Keiper
    Place 5 – Mark Culpepper

    A special election will be held for place 2 for a one-year term. The position was formerly held by Rodney Scroggin who is now mayor.

    BOYD SCHOOL BOARD

    Place 1 – Kim Hudson
    Place 2 – Pam Galloway
    Place 3 – Jana Tate

    BRIDGEPORT CITY COUNCIL

    Mayor – Keith McComis
    Place 1 – A.Z. Smith
    Place 2 – Kathy Kennedy

    A special election will also be held for place 3. Jimmy Meyers was appointed to the post in August to fill a vacancy created when Kevin Lopez resigned. Although there are two years left on the term, according to local government code, the person appointed to fill the vacancy serves only until the next regular election.

    BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD

    Place 6 – Ken Kilpatrick
    Place 7 – Marti Hines

    CHICO CITY COUNCIL

    Two at-large seats are up for election as well as a partial term. The at-large seats are held by Karen Garrison and Aracely Cuevas. The seat for the partial term is held by Louise Gossett, who was appointed last year.

    CHICO SCHOOL BOARD

    Place 6 – G.A. Buckner
    Place 7 – Doug Bowyer

    DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD

    Place 3 – Alan White (has announced his intention to retire)
    Place 4 – Jeff Alling

    DECATUR CITY COUNCIL

    Mayor – Martin Woodruff
    Place 1 – Dana Clinesmith
    Place 3 – Cary Bohn
    Place 5 – Jay Davidson

    NEWARK CITY COUNCIL

    Place 1 – Bob Wells
    Place 2 – Doug Anderson
    Place 3 – Linda Anderson

    A special one-year term election will be held for mayor, currently held by Gary Van Wagner, and Place 4 held by Taylor Burton.

    NORTHWEST SCHOOL BOARD

    Place 5 – Devonna Holland
    Place 7 – Mel Fuller

    RHOME CITY COUNCIL

    Mayor – Chris Moore

    Two at-large council positions currently held by Jo Ann Wilson and Michelle Pittman.

    RUNAWAY CITY COUNCIL

    The mayor and two council at-large seats are up for election. These posts are held by Robert Ryan, and Neil Peters and Kay Simmons, respectively.

    Paradise City Council and school board and Slidell school board will conduct a joint election with the county in the fall. For the Paradise entities, this was in response to Senate Bill 100, which aimed at making the voting process easier and faster for military and overseas voters for primary and gubernatorial elections through the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.

    Filing doesn’t begin until the fall.

    Posted in News0 Comments

    Candidates stump to handful of voters

    Candidates stump to handful of voters

    Candidates far outnumbered voters at Monday night’s forum hosted by the Wise Republican Women in Chico.

    Seventy-eight people, which included 24 candidates, their family members and a handful of voters, attended the event at Chico Community Center.

    Meeting Voters

    MEETING VOTERS – A representative with the Eric Opiela campaign talks with voters at the candidate forum Monday night. Opiela is running for Texas Agriculture Commissioner in the March 4 Republican primary. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

    Chuck and Sue Rhodes of Decatur came to learn more about those running for office and left satisfied with what they learned.

    “I wanted to know about the individual,” said Chuck. “Tell me about yourself. Tell me why I should vote for you. Convince me to vote for you.”

    Sue said they were also considering volunteering in a campaign or two but wanted to know more about the candidates before making any final decisions.

    “We’ve lived in seven states, and we’ve been active in different campaigns,” she said.

    Chuck said they had campaigned for former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina and U.S. Rep. Dick Armey of Texas. Having only lived in Wise County since 2007, he said they’re still familiarizing themselves with local candidates and the political culture of the area.

    Republican Gathering

    REPUBLICAN GATHERING – The crowd stands together and says the pledge at Friday night’s chili supper hosted by the Wise County Republican Party at the Decatur Civic Center. U.S. Reps. Mac Thornberry and Kay Granger spoke and talked with local voters. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

    Monday’s event was set up to be a fast-paced forum. Each candidate had a table, and the first hour was split into five-minute increments. During a five-minute window, voters could visit with one candidate. A horn was blown to signify when it was time to move to the next table.

    The Rhodes, along with another couple, first visited with Chico Mayor J.D. Clark, who is running for county judge.

    Clark outlined the five areas he would like to focus on if elected, which include a responsible budget, long-term water planning, countywide economic development, county facilities and transparency. He also noted that he wants to be available to constituents outside of commissioners court and might hold a regular coffee-drinking time.

    The Rhodes also took time to talk with U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, and they said they appreciated the fact that he’s not on TV every time they turn on the news.

    Thornberry’s wife, Sally, piped up. “He’s a workhorse, not a show horse,” she said.

    Thornberry agreed, smiling.

    “I’m not a big fan of being on TV just to see my face,” he said.

    As the conversation continued, he told the Rhodes countering falsehoods is a constant battle during the campaign.

    “Our biggest challenge is running down rumors and chasing what’s true and what’s not,” he said. “And you have to know that before you can go fix something.” Thornberry also addressed Obamacare and the relationship between the House and the Senate.

    Since there were so few voters in attendance, only a couple of candidates ever had a “five-minute audience.” Although the end of the event was reserved for “open visitation,” most candidates mingled throughout the evening.

    The Wise County Republican Party is planning a debate for Feb. 10. Read the Messenger for more information on the time and location.

    Onbe on One

    ONE-ON-ONE – U.S. Rep. Kay Granger speaks with A.C. Archer at Friday night’s chili supper hosted by the Wise County Republican Party. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

    Posted in Features, News0 Comments

    Clark collects most money

    Wise County judge candidate J.D. Clark is leading the pack in campaign contributions, according to the semiannual campaign finance reports filed this week.

    It’s the first of five reports that will be filed in 2014 as required by the Texas Ethics Commission prior to the March 4 primary election. The reports that were due Jan. 15 include money collected and spent between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2013, and candidates filed those at the Wise County Elections Administration office.

    While Clark collected the most money, he didn’t spend the most. Clay Poynor, who is running for re-election as Precinct 4 justice of the peace in the Republican primary, spent more than any candidate with $5,941.19 in expenditures. He reported no contributions.

    Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Jan Morrow, who is seeking re-election, also topped the list of big spenders with $4,273.29 in expenditures and $500 in contributions.

    Clark’s expenditures were third at $4,111.18.

    Below is a list of candidates and the information as it appears on their finance report forms.

    COUNTY JUDGE
    REPUBLICANS

    • J.D. Clark: $4,330 contributions, $4,111.18 expenditures

    Contributions included $1,000 from Wayne Long of Decatur; $500 each from David Isham of Decatur and Tera Huffman of College Station; $250 each from Andrew Rottner and Carol Ann Carson, both of Decatur; $200 from Ross and Sharon Redding of Chico; $150 each from Ashley Westenhover of Weatherford and Stacey Hadash of New York City; and $100 each from D.A. Sharpe of Aurora, Tim Raley of Chico and Don and Annette Stephens, Theresa Copeland and Richard Pietila, all of Decatur.

    Pietila actually made three separate $100 donations, one each in September, October and December.

    • Keith McComis: $1,400 contributions, $2,835.90 expenditures
    • McComis did not itemize his contributions or expenditures.
    • Kyle Stephens: $0 contributions, $2,936.10 expenditures

    DEMOCRAT

    • Jim Stegall: $35 contributions, $1,200 expenditures

    Stegall reported a single contribution from Beth B. Anderson of Runaway Bay

    PRECINCT 4 COUNTY COMMISSIONER
    REPUBLICANS

    • Gaylord Kennedy: $0 contributions, $3,302.64 expenditures
    • David Stewart: $3,212.21 contributions, $2,691.28 expenditures

    Stewart only itemized $200 in contributions. They include $100 from Barry White, One Stop in Runaway Bay; $100 from Mark and Judy Adkins of Bridgeport; and $30 from Dan Ticer.

    • Terry Ross: $0 contributions, $0 expenditures

    DEMOCRAT

    • Kristina Kemp: $0 contributions, $0 expenditures

    DISTRICT CLERK
    REPUBLICANS

    • Brenda Rowe: $0 contributions, $3,843.78 expenditures
    • Callie Manning: $590 contributions, $0 expenditures

    Manning reported all contributions were $50 or less, and those do not have to be itemized on the finance report.

    COUNTY TREASURER
    REPUBLICANS

    • Katherine Hudson: $0 contributions, $1,600 expenditures
    • Daniel Rivas: $0 contributions, $2,513.75 expenditures

    PRECINCT 1 JUSTICE OF THE PEACE
    REPUBLICANS

    • Jan Morrow: $500 contributions, $4,273.29 expenditures

    Contributions included $300 from RL or ML Jordan of Boyd; $100 from Jerry Whiddon of Decatur; and $50 each from Janet Fortenberry and Patti Fortenberry, both of Boyd.

    • Josh Reynolds: $0 contributions, $1,332.66 expenditures

    PRECINCT 3 JUSTICE OF THE PEACE
    REPUBLICAN

    • Mandy Hays: $0 contributions, $820.35 expenditures

    PRECINCT 4 JUSTICE OF THE PEACE
    REPUBLICANS

    • Clay Poynor: $0 contributions, $5,941.19 expenditures
    • Teresa Graves: $975 contributions, $1,294.15 expenditures

    Contributions included $375 from Nathan Graves of Bridgeport; $350 from Jerry Stanfield of Chico; $100 each from Michelle Payton of Decatur and Bill Marney of Bridgeport; and $50 from Toni Loean of Bridgeport.

    COUNTY CLERK
    REPUBLICAN

    • Sherry Lemon: $0 contributions, $350 expenditures

    COUNTY COURT-AT-LAW NO. 1 JUDGE
    REPUBLICAN

    • Stephen Wren: $0 contributions, $0 expenditures

    Wren reported $4.97 in contributions maintained from a previous time period. He also noted that he has signs valued at $500 or more.

    Candidates who did not file a campaign finance report form include Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Terri Johnson, Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns and County Court-at-Law Judge Melton Cude, all of whom are seeking re-election.

    Posted in News2 Comments

    New law allows electioneering near polling locations in Bridgeport

    Politicians have free range to electioneer in the city of Bridgeport, sort of.

    At its meeting Jan. 7, the council opted to not enact any additional regulations, following the passing of House Bill 259.

    The bill, which was signed into law during the 83rd regular legislative session this summer, allows electioneering near polling places during voting periods.

    Previously, electioneering, including the posting of signs and distribution of literature, was prohibited on voting premises. The new bill now allows that, as long as it’s more than 100 feet from the doors to the voting place.

    Provisions of the new law also allow the entity that owns the building where voting takes place to enact “reasonable regulations” in regard to the time, place and manner of electioneering.

    In the city of Bridgeport, early voting is held at the law enforcement center while election day voting is at city hall. County elections are held at the community center. Therefore, the council had the ability to enact additional regulations in regard to the size, number and placement of signs at those places.

    Despite the recommendation of city staff, who pointed out the issue of mowing around multiple signs among other issues, elected officials opted not to make any amendments to city regulations, which apply to private and public property.

    In accordance with those regulations, political signs cannot:

    • be illuminated;
    • stand more than 8 feet in height;
    • have an effective area of greater than 36 feet;
    • have any moving element;
    • be placed on private property without the consent of the property owner;
    • obstruct visibility at street intersections;
    • be affixed to a public utility pole, structure or tree that is located on public land or in a public right-of-way

    They must be maintained in good structural condition.

    “I don’t care to add any more regulations, as long as they pick (the signs) up,” Councilman Bobby Brazier said. “It’s only going to be for a couple of weeks.”

    ————

    Officials also called the May 10 general and special elections.

    The general election will be held to elect the positions of mayor and place 1 and 2 on the council, currently held by Keith McComis, A.Z. Smith and Kathy Kennedy.

    In the special election, voters will determine a successor for place 3. Jimmy Meyers was appointed to the post in August to fill a vacancy created when Kevin Lopez resigned. Although there are two years left on the term, according to local government code, the person appointed to fill the vacancy serves only until the next regular election.

    The council also:

    • approved the transfer of two airport hangar leases from Crisp Real Estate Partners LP to Ron Rieman;
    • OK’d the minutes from the Dec. 3 and Dec. 17 meetings; and
    • reviewed the Dec. 19-Jan. 8 payment report in the amount of $186,564.69.

    Posted in News0 Comments

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