Conroe, December 27 – State Representative Mark Keough who is running for Montgomery County Judge, County Auditor Phyllis Martin, Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden, Woodlands Township Chairman Gordy Bunch, and former State Representative Steve Toth who is running for his legislative seat again in the 2018 Republican Primary Election are the “Runners-Up” for the Power Top Ten for 2017. All five are highly influential individuals in the Montgomery County community. The list of Runners-Up is in no particular order.
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, they can get things done.
At the end of this month, we’ll also commemorate the “Person of the Year Award” for the Montgomery County person who was responsible in 2017 for the most positive change for our community and the “Mad Cow Award” for the worst elected official in Montgomery County during 2017. If you have suggestions, please send them to us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will treat your suggestion in confidence.
To begin the Power Top Ten this year, The Golden Hammer has already named:
#2 United States Congressman Kevin Brady
#3 District Attorney Brett Ligon
#4 Texas Patriots Tea Party PAC President Dr. Julie Turner
#5 Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador
#6 Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack
#7 Conroe Independent School District Superintendent Don Stockton
#8 Sheriff Rand Henderson
#9 418th District Judge Tracy Gilbert
#10 State Senator Brandon Creighton.
Runner-Up to Power Top Ten: State Representative Mark Keough who is running for Montgomery County Judge in the March, 2018, Republican Primary Election
Mark Keough, Republican State Representative from District 15, is running for Montgomery County Judge in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election against corrupt and embattled incumbent Craig Doyal. Keough is rapidly moving up the ranks of the Power Top Ten as a result of the strength of his campaign.
On Thursday, December 14, 2017, Keough debated Doyal face-to-face for the first time at the Candidate Forum of the Liberty Belles Republican Women. Keough showed far greater knowledge of the internal workings of the Montgomery County government than the incumbent Doyal. Keough discussed facts and figures in his discussion of County issues, while Doyal spoke in his usual platitudes such as “I don’t like tollroads either, but…”
Keough shocked the entire roomful of people at the December 14 debate when he pulled out the Texas Department of Transportation’s letting schedule for the 4.5 mile tollroad Doyal had been telling Montgomery County citizens would only cost $73 million total. TxDOT’s data, which Keough revealed, show that the cost of the construction alone for Doyal’s and Riley’s Decimation of Hope Highway would be $82.8 million, while Doyal and Riley have already spent more than $13 million on engineering and right-of-way acquisition. Therefore, the total cost of the 4.5 mile, completely unnecessary tollroad, will exceed $95 million!
Keough’s “Contract with Montgomery County” has provided enormous detail to voters about his reform approach to County government, a far cry for the massive pro-spending growth Doyal who has presided over massive tax increases while he’s been a member of the Commissioners Court.
Keough is on the right track and clearly revealing that he can get things done (the definition of “power”).
Runner-Up to Power Top Ten: Montgomery County Auditor Phyllis Martin
Last year, County Auditor Phyllis Martin was #8 on the Power Top Ten List. Her power has waned considerably during 2017, ever since the Board of District Judges began to step in to oversee her work, which is their statutory and constitutional duty under Texas law.
After the Commissioners Court determined that no County employees would receive a salary increase during Fiscal Year 2018, Martin surreptitiously went to the Board of District Judges to seek a raise. The Board turned her down. The Board of District Judges has also begun to question Martin’s departmental budget and her failure to abide by the requirements of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as promulgated by the United States General Accountability Office.
The judges have clipped Martin’s wings. Her snafu in filing a “proposed budget” with the County Clerk in July, 2017, and then claiming that she had not filed it caused Martin to lose a lot of credibility within the County government.
Before the judges stepped in, Martin had far more power than some of the members of the County Commissioners Court. She’s been a lot more quiet and circumspect during 2017 than she had been in years past. At least two members of the Commissioners Court have challenged Martin’s decisions on budget issues. this year.
Martin still exerts enormous influence over the financial operations of Montgomery County. Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley seems to fear Martin. With a weak County Treasurer (Stephanne Davenport of the corrupt Davenport Ring), Martin’s department performs many of the duties that a more competent county treasurer might otherwise perform.
Runner-Up to Power Top Ten: Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden
Rowdy Hayden has done a superb job as the chief law enforcement officer in East Montgomery County. He’s the Precinct 4 Constable and oversees an aggressive law enforcement and public safety operation which includes street patrol, a successful anti-drug smuggling group, and an Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce
Hayden leads his team of peace officers from the front. Both in law enforcement and during the emergency response to flooding during Tropical Storm Harvey, Hayden himself was on the front line and directly involved with bringing public safety to his community.
Hayden is a nice person with a kind heart. He comes from a family with deep ties to East Montgomery County. He’s an outstanding people person as well as a politician.
That’s why it’s a genuine shame that he continues to use the services of corrupt local political consultant Marc Davenport and remains a member of the Davenport Ring. Rowdy Hayden doesn’t need Marc Davenport but Marc Davenport take enormous advantage of his ties to Hayden. Without Hayden, James Metts, the JP who has cost Montgomery County taxpayers $45,000 and more for his history of sexually harassing County employees, who has forced the terrible NetData database program on four of the five JP courts and cost the County millions of dollars, and who rarely shows up for work as a JP, would be nothing. Even with Hayden, Metts isn’t much, but Hayden feels a family connection to Metts and is working to elect Metts to replace incumbent County Commissioner Jim Clark, who is running for re-election.
In East Montgomery County, Hayden can get things done, although his continuing connection to the Davenport Ring limits how much others can respect him.
Runner-Up to Power Top Ten: Woodlands Township Chairman Gordy Bunch
Gordy Bunch of The Woodlands is one of the most successful insurance businessmen and brokers in the United States. That’s why it should be no surprise that Bunch has done a superb job as Chairman of the Woodlands Township Board of Directors.
Often called “the People’s Mayor” in The Woodlands, Bunch has brought sound business practices to many of the Township’s bureaucratic offices which sorely needed some help. Bunch has worked hard to restrain the spending growth of the Township.
Bunch is a warm and sincere individual. He’s made a mistake or two and shown the courage and fortitude to apologize for his errors. That’s the mark of great leadership.
Bunch’s primary mission is to guide The Woodlands through the process of incorporation into a city, a move which remains somewhat controversial. Bunch has revealed an openness to citizens of a large variety of opinions. He hasn’t closed anyone out of the important process of citizen participation in local government (a marked contrast to the secrecy and downright lies of the Montgomery County government).
Bunch is an up-and-comer in Montgomery County politics.
Runner-Up to Power Top Ten: Former State Representative Steve Toth
Steve Toth is a successfully businessman, political activist, and community leader. An ordained minister who completed seminary training, Toth remains active in his church as well as the Mighty Oaks Foundation, a national nonprofit which raises money to provide assistance to veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. In actuality, most of Toth’s community service has nothing whatsoever to do with politics.
Toth defeated longtime incumbent Rob Eissler when he won election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012. In 2016, Toth ran for the U.S. Congress against Kevin Brady and came just a few votes shy of throwing the Ways and Means Committee Chairman into a runoff.
Now, with the decision by State Representative Mark Keough to run for Montgomery County Judge to try to clean up Montgomery County’s terrible reputation as a County government, Toth is running for the open position for his old seat again. Toth is running very hard and has enjoyed much success this year.
Politics is what has brought renown to Steve Toth. Being a solidly good person is what truly makes the man that Steve Toth is.