Image: Left to right, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and State Representative Mark Keough who is running against Doyal in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The Golden Hammer will provide complete coverage of this major event in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election cycle over the next few days. This article provides an overview of one aspect of the County Judge Candidates Forum.
Conroe, January 19 – With the citizens squarely in control of the candidate forum between Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and his challenger, State Representative Mark Keough, Doyal ouldn’t stop himself from telling four major lies in order to try to placate the crowd of over 200 voters who are concerned about the corruption and unfettered spending of the Montgomery County government. The Montgomery County Eagle Forum and its remarkable Chair Betty Anderson always put on the best of all candidate fora, because citizens have the opportunity directly to ask the candidates in electoral contests the questions. The Doyal-Keough forum lasted in that format for well over a full hour.
Renowned engineer Scott Schulze who has long been a conservative leader in Montgomery County began the meeting with a prayer quite a bit different from others usually heard at political events. Usually, elected servants pray mainly for themselves. Schulze began the prayer, however, by thanking God “for every citizen in the room.” In other words, Schulze’s prayer, for once, appropriately started at the top of the governmental organizational chart. Schulze concluded his prayer with thanking God “for these people who are stepping up to serve.” Schulze recognized in his prayer that Doyal and Keough sought to become servants of the citizens rather than some special elite class over and above the rest of society.
Each candidate forum that the Eagle Forum and Anderson host lasts for more than an hour and is almost entirely questions from the citizens attending the event who may go up to the podium to ask a question directly of the candidates. That format places enormous pressure on candidates to let their hair down and tell what they’re thinking. Nevertheless, the questions also require candidates to put their best foot forward.
As a result, Doyal apparently felt he needed to tell some pretty major lies. This newspaper caught at least four of them.
The four lies of Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal (in chronological order)
Craig Doyal’s Lie #1: “Yes, I will and have” reduced tax rates so that they’ll prevent Montgomery County citizens from suffering higher tax payments as a result of higher property tax appraisals.
In response to a question from Republican Precinct Chairman Reagan Reed, Keough assured the citizens that he would ensure that Montgomery County’s tax rates would decrease each year enough to make certain that concurrent property tax appraisal increases would not cause families and individuals to have to bear higher taxes.
Doyal claimed that he would do the same and has done so.
Keough pointed out that under Doyal’s direction, the Commissioners Court during the past ten years has only reduced the tax rate by two cents while property tax appraisals have increased 144%, rendering a 133% increase in taxes under Doyal since 2006.
Craig Doyal’s Lie #2: “If the [Tx 249] road is built, TxDOT says there will be a toll component.”
In reality, TxDOT’s Commissioner Victor Vandergriff told the Montgomery County Commissioners Court on December 19, 2017, that TxDOT might build the road as a farm-to-market road without tolls, if Montgomery County opted not to build the 3.6 mile portion from Spring Creek to Pinehurst. As for the 15.3 mile section from Pinehurst to Todd Mission, the only reason TxDOT is tolling that portion of the road is because Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley went to Austin on June 29, 2017, told TxDOT in a public hearing that Montgomery County citizens are “unified in support” of tolling Tx 249, and asked TxDOT to toll the road.
In contrast, the Grimes County Commissioners Court lobbied against a Tx 249 tollroad in Grimes County, so Grimes County’s road will be free.
Doyal and Riley are responsible for the tolling of Tx 249, not TxDOT.
Craig Doyal’s Lie #3: As to the four Justice of the Peace Courts out of five who are suffering terrible collections in comparison to the fifth which is using a different collection process, Doyal tried to deflect the issue away from the truth about the poor rate of collections of the four courts and just claimed they “collected over $6 million with this system.”
Doyal didn’t answer Jon Bauman’s question about the poor comparative collections by changing his answer to state the gross amount of collections.
Doyal said “they feel like the system is working very well.” In reality, the collection numbers from the Texas Office of Court Administration reveal that the court collection system – using Graves Humphries law firm and the NetData database – is a total failure costing the taxpayers over $3 million per year in lost collections.
Craig Doyal’s Lie #4: During his closing statement, Doyal told the crowd, “The people in Magnolia this past Monday unanimously supported moving forward with Tx 249 as a tollroad.”
In actuality, Keough drew enormous applause from the Magnolia Area Republican Women and their Magnolia guests when he said that he supports construction of Tx 249 as a free road.