Lone Star Patriots Host Leon Co Candidate Forum
2/27/2012 by Susan Wilder
A large crowd of potential voters were given the opportunity to meet and hear from the Leon County Candidates last Thursday evening at the Lone Star Community Center.
Nearly all the candidates attended the forum hosted by The Lone Star Patriots with Barbara Johnson presiding, giving 2 minutes each for introductions and 1 minute to answer questions from the audience.
Marva Beck, incumbent for State Representative said, ?I have earned endorsements from the Right to Life foundation, the NRA, and the Governor of Texas. I want to go back and finish my work.?
Trent Ashby, Beck?s opponent was not present.
Sheriff Jerry Wakefield, the incumbent for County Sheriff was present as was his opponent Kevin Ellis.
?I have 40 years experience in law enforcement; 30 years in the prison system; 16 years as an officer in Buffalo, and I was elected Leon County Sheriff in 2009,? said Wakefield.
Ellis said, ?I have been in law enforcement 12 years. I want to add more patrol to our force, start a reserve, and fight crime particularly the drug problems in Leon County. I was raised in Centerville, and I want to serve the people where I grew up.?
County Attorney Jim Witt told attendees, ?I have served in this position for 12 years. Being County Attorney is a full time job, and I know how to do the job.?
Opposing Witt is candidate James B. Davis: ?I am a retired County Attorney. I am licensed to practice in all state and federal courts. I am a reserve deputy sheriff in Harris County. I am qualified and ready to do this job.?
Incumbent County Commissioner Precinct 1 Joey Sullivan: ?I have been Commissioner for many years. We are steadily moving forward. I?m very conservative. We actually lowered taxes while making our roads better.?
Opposing Sullivan is candidate Don Rose: ?I will be cost effective in building roads. I have experience in construction. I will bring transparency to Commissioners Court. I think there should be term limits on this position. I will be on the job daily, and my door will be open.?
Incumbent for County Commissioner Precinct 3 Mark Ivey was not present at the forum.
Opposing Ivey is candidate Dean Stanford who said, ?I am a native of Leon County. I live in Robbins. I have operated my own construction company since 1998. Precinct 3 needs improvements. I know how to stretch a dollar and get the most out of employees.?
In the race for Tax Assessor/Collector there is no incumbent since the person who held this office for many years, Louise Wilson, has retired. Candidates for the position Lara Boyd, Ronda Richards and Robin Shafer were all present.
Lara Boyd: ?I worked in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice System for 20 years. I was the regional business manager for them in Palestine. In 2008 I went to work in the business division of Nucor. I have lived in Centerville for 8 years.?
Rhonda Richards: ?I have 28 years of business experience. I am a paralegal assistant, and I am prepared to begin work in this office tomorrow.?
Robin Shafer: ?I have lived in Leon County for 20 years. I have worked for the County in budgeting. I understand the budget process. I know how to work a budget, and I have a good rapport with the members of Commissioners Court.?
The candidates for Commissioner were asked: ?Considering we already pay so much in taxes, would you be in favor of starting a large project like the proposed Expo Center?
Rose: ?I think the people proposing it have a plan how to pay for it.?
Sullivan: ?They have enlarged the plans from the original idea. While the livestock show area and parks are overcrowded and need attention, it may not be good to spend all we have on one project.?
Stanford: ?It should be left up to voters. Smaller projects than the Expo Center should be decided at Commissioners Court.?
Candidates for County Attorney were asked how they would help prosecute DWI cases.
Davis: ?If police determine an intoxicated person is driving, it should be pursued until a trial of fact ? not what the County Attorney thinks should be done.?
Witt: ?I have secured many pleas of guilty in DWI cases. This is faster and saves the taxpayer money.?
Question: What makes you a better candidate?
Davis: ?Lots of people told me they wanted a change. No one has the right to get in office and hold it forever. I am ready for the job.?
Witt: ?There are a lot of responsibilities ? mostly legal with this job. It is all about dealing with people and it is important to be honest and deal fairly.?
Johnson thanked the candidates for attending and the crowd for their ?interest in our important election. I hoped for a good response ? and you gave it to me.?