Image: Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark (right), a reformer with the strongest conservative voting record on the Montgomery County Commissioners Court, fights for his job today in the May 22 Republican Runoff Election, while his wife Kelly Osborn Clark (left) leads the volunteer effort for her husband.
Conroe, Magnolia, and New Caney, May 22 – The Republican Runoff Election today is an extremely important election, but the pro-spending, pro-taxation establishment has the advantage. It’s easier for the establishment to identify those individuals who directly enjoy the financial benefits of County government largesse and to turn those people out to the polls.
An example of the establishment advantage is Charlie Riley’s re-election campaign or Precinct 2 County Commissioner. Riley has built a strong relationship with the Magnolia business community and the Magnolia Independent School District and has a strong “get out the vote” to get those supporters to vote. While those voters may not come close to a majority of voters in Precinct 2, they’re easy to identify and remind to vote.
Riley’s challenger, Gregory Parker, depends upon conservative voters who want spending and property tax reform. Those individuals are substantially more difficult to identify for the purpose of persuading them to vote.
In the Precinct 4 County Commissioner’s race, it’s a similar scenario with the strange distinction that the incumbent, Jim Clark, is the reformer who has voted for less spending and taxation on the Commissioners Court while fighting for East Montgomery County to receive its fair share of County government spending, especially for roads and infrastructure. His opponent is James Metts, a Davenport Ring member, who has developed a core group of supporters who share his interest in financially benefitting from County tax dollars directly. It’s easier for Metts to identify his core supporters.
Despite the clear advantages for the establishment, it’s a vitally important election. If both establishment candidates win, which seems likely, the incoming Commissioners Court reformers will remain in the minority, despite the clear desire of March 6 Republican Primary Election voters to set this County on a course towards reform.
Runoffs are odd elections. They rarely involve issues. Rather, they largely reflect turnout-driven campaigns that revolve around direct relationships between the candidates and their voters.
Besides the mere numbers on the Commissioners Court after January 1, 2019, the differences between the candidates are enormous.
Commissioners Precinct 4: Jim Clark (incumbent, reformer) versus James Metts (establishment)
The primary goal of this newspaper – and its bias – is to achieve spending reductions in the Budget of the Montgomery County government and to reduce local taxation. When it comes to those two issues, there is no member of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court who has a better record than Clark. Clark was the sole member of the Commissioners Court on September 5, 2017, who had the courage to vote against the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget. Citizens had raised a number of serious and very specific concerns with that proposed budget which County Judge Craig Doyal had only made available to the public five days earlier.
Clark made it clear that he wouldn’t vote for a budget passed in such haste. Clark was correct in expressing those concerns, as the dozens of Budget Amendments that have occurred since then have shown. Doyal, Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley have put forward dozens of amendments to correct their hastily-passed budget since the beginning of the current Fiscal Year on October 1, 2017. The vote on the budget was – by far – the most important vote, and Clark was the only Commissioner who got it right.
Clark has taken a strong stand in favor of ethics and elimination of corruption in the Montgomery County government. That’s one of the reasons the Davenport Ring of corrupt politicians and elected officials are campaigning so hard for their candidate Metts. They want Clark out of the Commissioner’s Office so that no one will stand against their attempts to take over County government purchasing and information technology. Speaking of the Phonoscope deep fiber optic cable scandal in which the Davenport Ring is working to install an entire cable system throughout County facilities and rights-of-way, corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport wrote on social media recently “Clark can do what he wants he has 359 days left. But others want it, they are going to get it. The network is here…” In other words, Clark is in the corrupt Davenport Ring’s way and they’re moving him out. For that reason alone, citizens should vote for Clark and never consider a vote for his opponent on May 22.
Clark stands directly in the way of the corrupt trepidations of the Davenport Ring. The citizens need to keep the Jim Clark roadblock in place.
Clark also happens to have, by far, the best voting record of any member of the Commissioners Court in The Golden Hammer‘s ratings of those elected officials and whether they follow the Republican Party Platform. While he has fought for spending reductions overall, Clark has consistently supported law enforcement and their need for additional personnel and resources.
Clark has also consistently voted against the TX 249 Tollroad, a $73 million, 3.6 mile boondoggle that offers little, if any, benefit to the citizens of East Montgomery County, not to mention anywhere else in this community. Clark’s opponent in the Runoff Election has indicated that he supports tollroad construction despite the fact that they’re little more than a waste of tax dollars to support political cronies of Doyal, Riley, and Metts.
In recent months, Clark has continued his work in favor of animals rights. Clark is the Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Director of the Animal Shelter. Under Clark’s leadership, the Montgomery County Animal Shelter has gone from one of the worst in the country to a beautiful and clean shelter with one of the highest live release rates in the entire Gulf Coast area.
Another issue with which this newspaper has become greatly concerned is the pattern of the past several years of treating East Montgomery County like its some sort of second-rate community behind the rest of Montgomery County. Nothing could be further from the truth. Clark has worked very hard to bring world-class entertainment, medical, cultural, and business venues to East Montgomery County. He’s made clear to those business enterprises headquartered outside of this area that East Montgomery County is a welcoming place with great people who enjoy all that life has to offer.
Clark has spent his entire life in Montgomery County and has shown great loyalty and love for this community. His contributions to children’s programs, to scholarships, and to rodeo programs benefitting the children of this area are nothing short of breathtaking. As a County Commissioner, an active member of the Shriners, and a member of numerous other charitable groups, Clark has made a gigantic positive impact for the young people of East Montgomery County.
Commissioners Precinct 2: Gregory Parker (reformer) versus Charlie Riley (incumbent, establishment)
There’s a fundamental difference between Gregory Parker and his opponent: Parker listens to people, while his opponent does not.
Parker has made clear in candidate forums and public speeches that he’ll “do the will of the people.” He’s not an elitist who thinks he knows better than the citizens how our government should operate. On County spending, government salaries, tollroads, ethics reform, nepotism, elimination of conflicts of interest, and mobility, Parker has listened.
Parker actually is the most experienced candidate in the Republican Runoff Election. He served two terms as a County Commissioner in Comal County where New Braunfels is the county seat. Parker’s reputation there was also that he was a great listener to the will of the people and that he became a leader on the Commissioners Court as a result. Current and former Comal County officials have only positive comments about Parker’s work as a Republican County Commissioner there.
The citizens of Commissioners Precinct 2 must face one of the most terrible mobility problems in the Greater Houston area. Rather than engaging in any mobility planning, Precinct 2’s leaders have delivered poorly-maintained roads, roads with insufficient lanes, and new large residential housing areas without the road capacity to support them.
The TX 249 Tollroad is certainly one of the giant road issues in this electoral contest. Whether you support construction of that tollroad or not, there’s no question that it should be a much lower priority than the widening of F.M. 1488 from the Waller County line to Mostyn Manor, the widening of F.M. 1774, the widening of F.M. 2978, the widening of Hardin Store Road, and the construction of the overpass on F.M. 149. Those projects have gone by the wayside while Parker’s opponent has spent more than $13 million of County tax money on the tollroad. It’s symbolic of the misplaced priorities of Parker’s opponent who has placed outside-of-county vendors and developers ahead of the interests of the citizens of Precinct 2.
Parker has a remarkable background. He’s a military veteran who utilized his veteran’s benefits to obtain an outstanding education. Parker has a B.A., a Masters in Public Administration, and is working on a Doctorate in Public Policy. He was a close ally of Governor Rick Perry and is the author of two very entertaining conservative books. Parker clearly has the ability and interest in providing creative solutions to the problems of Precinct 2.
With that fine background, however, there is nothing aloof or uppity about Greg Parker. He’s married to a hardworking lady who supports his beliefs. He’s fun to be with. He’s considerate of others. He’s not in the least bit self-centered.
Greg Parker is not a perfect human being; none of us are. If you’re looking for that person, you should find Him in the Four Gospels.
Greg Parker is a nice intelligent guy with an outstanding background and the necessary open mind to bring the reform to the office of the Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner that the citizens of Precinct 2 very much deserve. Unlike his opponent, Parker is not facing a criminal indictment for official misconduct which, if convicted, would lead to his removal from office.