Eric Yollick, Guest Editorialist to The Golden Hammer
On March 6, 2018, I sat down on a bench next to another man, and I kissed him.
That began a political adventure which has only been good for Montgomery County. But there’s no question that the ultimate enabler for that adventure is none other than President Donald Trump.
“When Lincoln Kissed Me”
Sometimes exuberance carries a person away. There’s a famous 39 page book in the Library of Congress called “When Lincoln Kissed Me: A Story of the Wilderness Campaign.” Henry Wing, who later was a Methodist minister wrote the book about his experience as a newspaper reporter when he happened to be at a Union Army Field Camp during the Battle of the Wilderness. At the time of the Wilderness Campaign, Wing was a reporter for the New York Tribune and 25 years old. General Ulysses Grant needed to send a message to President Abraham Lincoln and couldn’t spare a soldier. So he gave the message to Wing who rode for 2 days to the White House where he gained a brief private meeting with the president.
Lincoln asked Wing, “What is it?” Wing answered, “General Grant told me to tell you, from him, that, whatever happens, there is no turning back.”
Lincoln became so exuberant, knowing that he finally had found a General who would actually fight (as opposed to McClellan or Meade), that he first grabbed Wing and lifted him into the air. He then kissed Wing on the forehead.
I’m no Lincoln. I’m also no Henry Wing. But I did kiss another man – once.
I felt that the March 2018 Republican Primary Election could be an important turning point for Montgomery County and the efforts of conservatives to begin to bring real reform to the community. I decided to put my time, money, and sweat into the election. I even secretly hired a polling firm, created an algorithm for the survey, and got a poll done to see if Mark Keough would win. The poll, completed 4 weeks before the election, showed Keough winning with 57.96% of the vote with a margin of error of 2.5%.
Nevertheless, on the Primary Election Day, I started to have bad hunches. I worked at the polling place about which people say, “As Precinct 78 goes, so goes The Woodlands.” Turnout seemed spotty. I got telephone calls about how the turnout around the Lake Conroe area was enormous. That really scared me, because I feared that Craig Doyal was getting an Election Day surge.
By 7 p.m., when the polls closed, I have to admit I was seriously freaked out. I had a terrible feeling that my poll was wrong, everything I observed was a chimera, and our community would be stuck with Craig Doyal as County Judge for another 4 terrible years.
I helped gather up signs and clean the polling area outside of Galatas Elementary School. Then I saw my friend Bill O’Sullivan sit on a bench and look at his phone. I walked up to “Uncle Bill” and asked him if the early voting results had come out yet.
Bill looked up at me from the bench and said, “Yup. Keough has 58% of the vote.”
I sat right next to Bill on the bench and planted a kiss on his cheek. Bill kiddingly said, “Eric, I didn’t think you had feelings like that for me.” I responded, “I do now!” I ran to my car and drove off to the watch parties.
It was a great night for Montgomery County. Keough won the election with 57.85% of the vote.
We had to suffer through 9 more months of Craig Doyal as County Judge. Clearly, Doyal had decided to seek retribution against the citizens, because the last 9 months of his “service” was a reign of terror: tollroads, trying to arrest Reagan Reed for a citizen comment in Commissioners Court, trying to get me arrested for flashing Don Martin’s Fester Bestertester on a public computer screen in Commissioners Court, and a spending spree never before seen in the history of Montgomery County.
On January 1, 2019, however, Judge Keough, the “People’s Judge,” came into office. He started strong with his announcement that he was reducing his own salary. He then infuriated me by announcing he was putting the saved salary funds into Precinct 4 Montgomery County Commissioner James Metts’ asphalt account.
Judge Keough and I had a tense face-to-face meeting after he spent the money that way. Keough told me that he and I follow a different methodology of swaying.
Keough has actually been a remarkable County Judge and a remarkable leader. He’s created a very different atmosphere in the Commissioners Court. By working as a nice person who, nevertheless, has strong beliefs, Mark Keough has led the Commissioners Court to do some things I never imagined they’d do, such as adopting an “effective tax rate” budget. During the Budget hearings, Keough was very quiet. He led by establishing a good atmosphere where even Metts, Charlie Riley, and Mike Meador worked cooperatively with Keough and his conservative ally Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack.
After the Aftermath
The Montgomery County Republican Party is stronger than it has ever been, thanks to the leadership of great citizen activists such as Reagan Reed, John Wertz, Jon Bouche, Kelli Cook, and many others.
Having a friendly County Judge has helped the Party enormously. Nevertheless, the true enabler has been President Donald Trump. He’s certainly not perfect. He’s no angel. But he’s been a historic President.
President Trump has challenged the political establishment at every turn. He’s unpredictable. He’s constantly annoying the politicians and the media. He’s made the Republican Party stronger nationwide than it has ever been, because he, like Keough, actually stands for principles which distinguish him from the democrats.
I have no desire to kiss another guy. I do look forward to moments of exuberance, however. We all should. President Trump is challenging the establishment in Washington. Judge Keough is challenging them in Conroe. On November 5, 2019, we all need to challenge the Conroe ISD establishment by rejecting the $677 million crazed bond package. It’s important that we view that election in context. It’s just the beginning of the most important electoral cycle in the last 75 years – November 5 2019, March 3 2020 (GOP Primary), and November 6 2020 (General Election). There’s a lot at stake. Montgomery County, Texas, is the epicenter of it. Don’t sit on your hands, but get out there and work, and get ready for some kissing.