Image: Bill Clevenger, candidate for Mayor of Montgomery, Texas.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Montgomery, October 8 – Trucking executive Bill Clevenger is running for Mayor of Montgomery, Texas, in the November 3, 2020, General Election because he “believes there’s a lot more potential out there as a community, and I feel we can do so much more than we’ve been doing, if we work together.” Clevenger’s style contrasts mightily with divisive incumbent Mayor Sara Countryman, whose harsh approach towards those she perceives as political opponents has divided the small city politically and harmed many businesses which didn’t agree to support her openly.
“When my wife and son and I moved to Montgomery, we wanted to live in a community similar to the one where we grew up. Paula and I were raised in a two-red-light town. The three of us love the fields, hills, and people of Montgomery.”
The Clevengers’ son is 14 and attends Lake Creek High School in the Montgomery Independent School District. Clevenger’s wife, Paula, is the operations manager for their family trucking business. They live on Berkey Drive in Montgomery.
Clevenger is a 1995 graduate of McConnellsburg High School in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania. “I attended the school of hard knocks after high school,” Clevenger told The Golden Hammer in an exclusive interview.
He has been a conservative Republican since he began to vote at the age of 18.
Clevenger, age 43, Paula Clevenger, and their son moved to Texas in 2012, when he received a sales and business development job with E.L. Farmer Trucking in Odessa. Clevenger and his family chose to move to Montgomery, since they loved the look and feel of the community so much. E.L. Farmer Trucking was sold in 2014 after Clevenger assisted the company in a major expansion and modernization effort.
“I was never active politically. But I’ve seen some things in our community that made me want to get involved,” Clevenger told this newspaper. “We’re not working together as a team, but small town businesses in Montgomery need to work as a coordinated effort with the local leadership.”
Clevenger said, “Montgomery is quaint and has a lot of southern charm. But we must preserve those qualities and plan for how we’ll do that. We know we’re in the bullseye of growth.”
The mayoral candidate gave an example that “there is no real sustainable electrical service or grid in our community, so many small businesses have had to invest enormous amounts of money on backup generators. The current leadership of our city doesn’t have a good relationship with Entergy. We need to start a dialogue with them and develop a good relationship, so they’ll provide the service we need.”
Similarly, Clevenger noted “There is no relationship with TxDOT, no planning between city and that state agency. There’s a big uproar that they’re going to widen 149 in historic downtown and we need to work with them and make it clear that’s not going to be feasible. There have to be relationships and partnerships or nothing is going to get done the right way. We can’t be adversarial to each other or to other government agencies.”
Clevenger explained his vision for the quaint city. “We don’t want Montgomery to be an industrial powerhouse. What we want Montgomery to be is light commercial, a bedroom community where you can walk down the street and raise your family with a high quality of life. We need to be a little town that made it through the concrete wave. We can’t stop the growth but we need to keep the feel. You strategically work with local developers to create the best footprint.”
When asked what the role of government is in managing the economy, Clevenger answered, “I don’t believe government should be in business. Government is there to create the playing field and give the best platform for capitalism and small business owners to decide this is a great place to open up my dream. That’s what we need to do.”
Clevenger said he wants to work with the Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Historic Montgomery Business Association.
Three incumbent Councilman – Tom Cronin, TJ Wilkerson, and Kevin Lacy – support Clevenger in the race.
Clevenger had only positive comments about City Administrator Richard Tramm and the new Chief of Police Anthony Solomon.
“Several business leaders and residents have encouraged me to run for Mayor, because they saw someone who is optimistic and could inspire people,” Clevenger explained.
Besides working as a trucking executive, Clevenger has been a professional stock car driver.