Conroe, June 7 – Although the speeches were brief, the Montgomery County Tea Party presented what looked and felt like the first candidates’ forum for the 2018 election cycle on Monday night at the Church @ 242, the organization’s usual biweekly meeting location. President Patricia Tibbs hosted the presentation that involved announced candidates Mark Keough running for Montgomery County Judge, Bob Bagley running for Precinct 4 County Commissioner, and Steve Toth running for State Representative District 15.
The event would have included any of the announced candidates but Keough, Bagley, and Toth were the three who appeared at the event. Keough is running against incumbent County Judge Craig Doyal, Bagley is running against incumbent Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark and unannounced candidate James Metts, and Toth is currently unopposed in running for the House of Representatives seat that Keough is vacating to run for a County office instead.
Keough explained that he was happy that Toth is running to succeed him in the State House position in which Keough had succeeded Toth when Toth chose to run for another position. Keough briefly discussed his legislative accomplishments and his hope that Governor Greg Abbott would call a special session over the next month.
Keough briefly listed issues which are critical to him in Montgomery County in his race to replace the controversial Doyal as County Judge. The current State Representative District 15, Keough, mentioned that Montgomery County suffers from a conflicts of interest problem, a Tx-249 extension (also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway) funding issue, ethics challenges, and road issues. The Tx-249 extension is a 3.6 mile stretch of road at the far southwest edge of Montgomery County which Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley hope to build as a $73 million toll road project. The County has already blown $13 million out of the general fund for the questionable project which is likely to bring more traffic congestion to Commissioner Precinct 2.
Toth, an inspiring speaker who currently is an analyst and commentator on FOX-26 News, was the Representative from House District 15 before he chose to run for a different position. Toth supported Keough in the election to replace him. Keough is serving his second term.
Toth has remained knowledgeable and very familiar with legislative issues pending before the Texas Legislature. In 2016, Toth ran for the United States House of Representatives and narrowly lost to Congressman Kevin Brady in the 2016 Republican Primary Election.
Replacing House Speaker Joe Straus and enacting meaningful property tax reform statewide were the two priorities Toth discussed before the Tea Party. Toth noted an example of a Montgomery County homebuilder who constructed his dream home and then realized that over the next 10 years he and his wife would pay for their house twice due to massive property taxes as a result of spiraling Montgomery Central Appraisal District appraisal increase.
Bagley is already running a very spirited campaign for Precinct 4 County Commissioner. He argued that “people’s lives are in jeopardy” from inadequate drainage planning as new developments and roads are constructed in East Montgomery County. Bagley mentioned a proposed development on 70 acres of wetlands in the Chateau Woods-Tamina area which, he argued, would produce traffic gridlock and “more flooding problems.”
The Air Force veteran announced an innovative proposal to provide engineering planning for Montgomery County. Bagley explained that he has been meeting with local engineering firms and universities to obtain engineering studies and plans through university engineering students. Unquestionably, engineering costs to Montgomery County have skyrocketed, particularly as Doyal, Riley, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador have transferred tens of millions of dollars into the hands of their favored political supporters who are outside-of-county engineering and contracting firms.
Bagley was in the 2014 Republican Runoff Election, which incumbent County Commissioner Jim Clark won.