Conroe, June 21 – A small turnout of the “old establishment” marred County Judge Craig Doyal’s morose and sparsely attended fundraiser on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, at the Lone Star Convention Center in Conroe. It’s a sad symbol of where the political career of Doyal has gone since he has become a much closer friend to interests from outside of Montgomery County than to the citizens of this community whom he should represent.
Doyal’s signature issue has become the Tx-249 Taxway, the $73 million, 3.6-mile tollway, which Doyal, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and their closest engineer and other County vendor supporters seek to construct on the backs of Montgomery County taxpayers who have paid over $13 million in direct costs on the project and will have to provide all of the ultimate credit to the project if the highly-questionable revenue projections fail to support bond payments for the toll road which will dead end at Highway 105 in Todd Mission, Grimes County, Texas, approximately 9 miles away from State Highway 6, the closest major road to the dead end. As a result of Doyal’s focus on that issue, which the vast majority of Montgomery County citizens oppose, Doyal has isolated himself from County citizens and finds himself much closer to the interests of out-of-county engineering firms such as LJA Associates, Jones & Carter, Halff Associates, Land Tech Surveyors, and other entities who have enjoyed immense revenues from Doyal’s pet spending projects.
The list of contributors to Doyal’s fundraiser is quite revealing for numerous reasons. It follows.
Doyal’s last campaign finance report, which he filed on January 15, 2017, revealed that Doyal had spent more than $190,000 of campaign funds on his legal defense in the State of Texas versus Craig Doyal criminal matter pending now before the Ninth Court of Appeals at Beaumont. The vast majority of Doyal’s campaign expenditures were for legal fees.
Doyal’s fundraiser turnout was, therefore, expected to be quite low. Rather than rank-and-file citizen, or even political activist, support, Doyal’s financial contributors are primarily a handful of County vendors, such as engineer Shou Ting Hu, tax collection law firm Linebarger Goggan Blair, engineer Jeff Cannon of LJA Associates (of fishing trip infamy), engineers Dave Hamilton and Brett Binkley of Binkley & Barfield engineers, Aguirre & Fields engineers PAC, Andrew & Kurth law firm, and a few others.
The Davenports – Marc and Stephanne – appeared with some of their political underlings, including Wayne Mack and Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts. Mack began the invocation with a defensive plea that people shouldn’t believe what they read! Sadly, the principles of repentence, confession, and forgiveness were absent from his comments.
None of the other members of the Commissioners Court appeared at the event unless they came later after the dinner and speeches. The older Woodlands establishment had a few representatives, including Claude Hunter, Tim Welbes, and Nelda Blair. None of the individuals involved in the dynamic issues surrounding the growth and development of The Woodlands at present, such as Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, Julie Turner, Bill O’Sullivan, any member of the Woodlands Township Board of Directors, or even members of The Woodlands law enforcement community appeared at Doyal’s event.
Under Doyal, the Montgomery County’s government’s spending and wasteful practices have exploded. Government secrecy, conflicts of interest, and ethical violations have tarnished the County government under the usually-absent Doyal.
One County elected official, who requested anonymity, remarked that “Craig’s fundraiser feels more like a visitation than a campaign event.” Each of County Commissioners Charlie Riley, James Noack, and Jim Clark have had higher turnouts at their most recent fundraisers, which only involved one-fourth of the County’s citizens because they each only represent that proportion of the County, than Doyal’s event where Doyal is a County-wide representative.
It’s not surprising that Doyal enjoyed little community support for a fundraiser for someone who focuses on little but himself.