Image: Left to right, real estate developer Danny Signorelli, Montgomery County Judge-Elect Mark Keough, incoming FLOMoCo (pronounced FLO-mo-co) Kim Keough, and State Board of Education Member Barbara Cargill.
Conroe, December 16 – Montgomery County Judge-Elect Mark Keough is the fifth (5th) Most Powerful Person of the Top Ten Most Powerful People in Montgomery County.
The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, continues the tradition of listing the Power Top Ten, the ten most powerful people in Montgomery County. The Power Top Ten doesn’t commemorate the ten best people in Montgomery County necessarily, but the most powerful people who are actually able to accomplish political or policy goals. In other words, he or she can get things done in Montgomery County. This year is the second that The Golden Hammer is publishing this list. In 2016, the Publisher of this newspaper published the list on social media before this newspaper began.
So far, The Golden Hammer has named five members of the Power Top Ten:
#6: Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack
#7: Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson
#8: Simon Sequeira, Quadvest President and property rights advocate (with assists from real estate developers Mike Stoecker and Danny Signorelli)
#9: John Holzwarth and the Montgomery County government vendors’ “Deep State” (with assists from Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador and lame duck County Judge Craig Doyal)
#10: United States Congressman Kevin Brady.
Power Top Ten #5: Montgomery County Judge-Elect Mark Keough
Mark Keough, who is leaving office as State Representative, District 15, to become the County Judge of Montgomery County on January 1, 2019, brings enormous potential with him. He’s someone that other elected servants and politicians can’t ignore, because he’s intelligent, has an extremely likable personality, is a hard worker, and exudes a desire to want to do what is right.
Keough retired from two decades in the automobile business to become a full-time Senior Pastor of the Woodlands Bible Church and State Representative. According to Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Keough’s fiscally-conservative voting record was 88%, the 16th most conservative rating of any member of the Texas House of Representatives and the best score of any member of the Montgomery County delegation (both in the House and the Senate) during the 85th Legislature. Keough defeated incumbent Craig Doyal for County Judge in the March 6 Republican Primary Election with a landslide 57-43% win. Keough won the November 6 General Election with 75% of the Montgomery County vote.
Needless to say, Keough has enormous potential energy as the incoming County Judge. He wasn’t elected in a vacuum. Rather, the March 6 Republican Primary Election was very much about “reform.” The conservative grassroots were solidly behind Keough and worked very hard for him to defeat the liberal establishment member Doyal. In the General Election, Keough enjoyed the fruits of the strongest General Election campaign the Montgomery County Republican Party ever put on the electoral battlefield, under the leadership of Vice Chairman Reagan Reed and Victory 2018 Steering Committee Treasurer Kelli Cook.
That’s not to belittle Keough’s own campaign efforts. Keough worked tirelessly to win both the Primary Election and the General Election. He built strong coalitions and didn’t seek to exclude anyone. While the Republican In Name Only crowd, which Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport (only in the Primary Election), and Republican County Chairman Wally Wilkerson worked hard first to help Doyal in the Primary and then to help ultra-liberal gay rights democrat activist Jay Stittleburg in the General, Keough drew enormous support. The Riley-Davenport-Wilkerson liberals didn’t make a dent in Keough’s positive campaign style or in his electoral results.
Keough is a positive force with constant energy, uplifting optimism, and strong values. He ran on a “Contract with Montgomery County” which called for reducing County government spending and lower property taxes, an end to tollroads, salary reform, strong ethics including an end to conflicts of interest, and governmental transparency.
Montgomery County has a reputation as “the most corrupt County government in Texas.” That reputation doesn’t help boost private economic development (because political cronyism drives free market competition away), population growth, and real estate sales. Many residential realtors have reported to The Golden Hammer the negative feedback they’ve received from families considering a move to the suburbs but find Montgomery County’s skyrocketing property taxes and terrible reputation for bad ethics daunting.
Keough, Reed, and Cook seem to operate by the same playbook: they work to unify through strong conservative leadership which actually stands for positions on substantive issues.
Keough will likely begin the 2019 Commissioners Court as the lone conservative on a very liberal, pro-Big-Government Court. Nevertheless, an effective communicator, such as Keough, will have a wonderful “bully pulpit” to send his message. Keough should consider the intense use of Twitter of President Donald Trump, which has resulted in a level of transparency into the workings of the White House that Americans have never before seen in history.
After four years of Doyal and Riley fighting for government secrecy, it’s time for Keough to burst open the doors of the entire County government, remove the locks from the County offices, effectuate the open government policy of the State of Texas, end of the gamesmanship with public information, and make it clear to Montgomery County citizens that their County government is, in fact, the citizens’ County government.
Keough loves to be liked. That’s his only drawback. At the same time, however, he’s very good at sticking to his beliefs while forging ahead with the commitments he’s made. Even as one conservative with four liberals on a five-member Commissioners Court, Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough will move the ball forward towards the true “reform” Montgomery County desperately needs, both for itself and to serve as an exemplar for the rest of the Nation.