Conroe, December 29 – The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, has continued 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 published this list. In 2016, the Publisher of this newspaper published the list on social media before this newspaper began.
The Golden Hammer has named the Power Top Ten 2018:
#1: Dr. Julie Turner, President of the Texas Patriots PAC (with assists from Vice President Jon Bauman, Treasurer Bill “The Sage” O’Sullivan, and the citizens
#2: Conservative political activists Kelli Cook and Ginger Russell
#3: Brett Ligon, Montgomery County District Attorney (with assists from the women and men of the District Attorney’s Office and others in the Montgomery County law enforcement community)
#4: Reagan Reed, Montgomery County Republican Party Vice Chairman (with an assist from Party Treasurer John Hill Wertz)
#5: Mark Keough, Montgomery County Judge-Elect
#6: James Noack, Precinct 3 County Commissioner
#7: Rand Henderson, Montgomery County Sheriff
#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.
There are at least five individuals who come very close to the Power Top Ten. There are two individuals who didn’t make the list but some readers have questioned why.
Power Top Ten, Runners Up (in alphabetical order)
Betty Anderson. Sometimes it seems as though Betty Anderson is everywhere. She is the Republican Precinct Chair from Shenandoah (Voting Precinct 31). She is the Founder of the Montgomery County Eagle Forum, a Christian conservative organization which meets monthly. Anderson is also actively involved in Grace School of Theology, which her husband Dave heads and at which Anderson works as a volunteer.
Anderson has a much greater impact than all of those positions and organizations put together, however. During the last three decades, Anderson has developed a giant email contact list of families and individuals who highly value her recommendations on candidates in elections and her opinions on important issues. Oftentimes, voters who take a voter guide at a polling place will specifically ask how the guide’s recommendations comport with Anderson’s.
Anderson’s long-term commitment to conservative reform and to the community of Montgomery County have made her wise voice one which thousands of people seek out.
Jon Bouche. While Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD) Board member and Oak Ridge North Republican Precinct Chairman Jon Bouche has lived in this community almost two decades, during the past couple of years he has risen to the top of leadership.
Bouche has developed three strong bases. First, citizens in Oak Ridge North where he is the Precinct Chairman adore Bouche, because he is the first Republican Precinct Chair they’ve enjoyed in a long time who actually pays attention to his duties and provides the citizens with information about political happenings. Bouche brings that information through social media and through extensive and continuous contact with voters in his Voting Precinct. Second, Bouche, as a respected insurance expert and a realtor, has strong ties to the south Montgomery County business community. Third, Bouche’s positive nature has endeared him to conservative political activists who respect his mind and enjoy how much fun it is to hang out with him.
Bouche is one of the individuals bringing much-needed reform to the LSGCD. He’s also leading the reform efforts to strengthen the Montgomery County Republican Party as one of the Party’s Steering Committee members.
Gordy Bunch. Woodlands Township Chairman Gordy Bunch brings a great mind and a strong business approach to the operations of the Woodlands Township, the special purpose district with some limited governing authority over The Woodlands. Bunch has carefully balanced the needs of the population and business growth inside The Woodlands with the importance not to tax individuals and companies out of their homes and their property.
Bunch has led the Township Board to wise restraint in spending decisions which have resulted in a steadily lower tax rate each budget year. He’s very much leading the effort towards incorporation of The Woodlands as a municipality. Incorporation is coming. That’s a given. Bunch is trying to bring some wisdom and fairness to the process.
Bunch is one of the most successful businesspeople in The Woodlands. His company, The Woodlands Financial Group, and its affiliated insurance companies, collectively is one of the fastest growing insurance companies in the United States. That’s a reflection of Bunch’s steady nature and creative mind. It’s fortunate for the citizens of The Woodlands that Bunch has shared his talents, and his tough-as-nails personality (when necessary), with the public.
Brandon Creighton. State Senator Brandon Creighton, Republican of Conroe, is arguably the most popular politician in Montgomery County. Creighton has an excellent conservative voting record in the State Senate. He has mostly avoided controversy (with a couple of missteps during the 85th Legislature.)
Anyone who has a discussion with Creighton of any substantive nature will quickly see that he has a strong grasp of both state and local politics and the governments which result. He’s one of the few people in the Montgomery County community who has maintained strong relationships both with conservatives and with establishment liberals.
During 2018, Creighton wasn’t at the forefront of Montgomery County politics as much as he is during calendar years when the Legislature is in session. Nevertheless, don’t fool yourself for a moment: Creighton is a legislator, realtor, attorney, and businessman, who can get things done.
If Kevin Brady decides to leave his seat in the United States Congress…
Steve Toth. Steve Toth will be a highly influential member of the Texas House of Representatives when the 86th Legislative Session begins on January 8, 2019. Interestingly, however, Toth’s source of influence has almost nothing to do with the fact that he’s the elected Representative for District 15 in the Texas House.
Toth has spent many years working as one of the most effective conservative political activists in Montgomery County, whether or not he personally was running for office at the time. Toth was one of the leaders of the fight to defeat the May 2015 bond referendum which included proposed funding for the Woodlands Parkway Extension. Toth has spoken in the Montgomery County Commissioners Court several times in favor of a robust code of ethics, which the County government so desperately needs.
Even those activities have not been where Toth has had the greatest influence. Toth, who is an ordained minister, a family counselor, and successful businessman, has mentored hundreds, if not thousands, of conservative political activists to encourage them, guide them, and energize them. People who know Steve Toth adore Steve Toth. He’s willing to fight for his friends and for the people whom he believes are doing right.
Where are they?
Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden. Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden has done outstanding work in the war on drugs and in the war against “crimes against children.” He’s arguably the most approachable of the County’s five constables.
Sadly, Hayden faces an imminent threat to his career as a peace officer in the ongoing criminal investigation, which the Texas Commissioner on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are leading. Hayden’s Chief Deputy Barry Welch’s conduct during the investigation has made a bad situation into a much worse one.
Charlie Riley. If Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley has any power, he doesn’t know how to use it. What he does know how to do is provide favored treatment to outside-the-county government vendors and real estate developers who give him a lot of money and to a select few of his friends.
That’s not an exercise of power. That’s skullduggery.