District 11 State Rep.

Danny Ward

Age: 44

Town of residence: Alto

Desired position: State Representative

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position? Real world life experience. I understand what every hard working East Texan is going through. I’ve been there struggling to make ends meet. Through sound financial principles I’ve been able to get my family out of debt and provide for a better future. But it didn’t come without sacrifice. I had to make major changes to my lifestyle. We need to follow the same principles in our state legislature. I’ve served you before as a United States Marine and I want to serve you again as your State Representative. God doesn’t call the qualified he qualifies the called.

What are the issues you feel are important in this election?

Property taxes, education, overburdening government regulation and personal liberty. You don’t own your property when you pay rent to the government. We need to swap property taxes with a sales tax. And some studies show we could actually have a lower tax rate. Sales tax is more efficient and fair. Educators are sick and tired of promises with no results. Teachers are burdened with regulation instead of doing what they should be doing. Too much government is the problem. You should be able to protect yourself from criminals without asking the government for permission or having to pay for it.

Should you be elected, what might you change? What would you continue?

I would serve the people. That’s what a representative is. A servant. I would return phone calls. I wouldn’t treat people differently. I would respect all people. I’m not bought and paid for. I would stand up for the principles that helped build this country to what it is. I would continue to stand for liberty. Without virtue you have no liberty. I would restore virtue to the office.

Travis Clardy

Age: 56

Town of residence: Nacogdoches

Desired position: State Representative House District 11

What qualifications might help you in this position?

My wife, Judy, and I have called East Texas home for more than 30 years. We reared our four boys here, and we’ve been very involved in the community. We know and understand the values of the people of Cherokee, Nacogdoches, and Rusk counties – they are our own.

An attorney by trade, I provide advice and counsel to small and mid-sized businesses from a variety of sectors and, when necessary, I represent them in court. I understand how the Legislature can and should create an environment that supports economic activity and a fair and equitable judicial system.

My legislative accomplishments include establishing the STEM program and building at SFA, securing funding for Rusk State Hospital, and working with local officials to re-open the Fredonia Hotel. I’ve also stood firm on conservative family values, education, water rights, and other issues important to East Texans.

What are the issues you feel are important in this election?

Keeping our families safe, as well as tax reform and education, are just a few of the issues we should address.

The federal government has failed in its responsibility to secure our border, enforce our laws, and provide a workable legal immigration system. The Texas legislature must therefore provide the resources to protect our citizens from organized criminal activity rampant along our border.

Property taxes and public education will also be priorities. The state must fulfill its constitutional responsibility to provide a fair and free quality education to all of its young citizens, and finance it at the state level so local property taxes can be reduced. I plan to continue the effort to reduce – if not eliminate – unnecessary testing and related administrative expense, and I promise to keep fighting for our teachers and retired teachers by providing them more pay for their work in the classroom and quality benefits.

Should you be elected, what might you change? What would you continue?

In January 2019, I will enter the 86th Legislature as an experienced member of the House. Experience and seniority matter, and the relationships I have forged since 2012 will enhance the success and growth of our region.

To have the district seat back in Nacogdoches allows me to showcase the history of the oldest town in Texas and promote our future to my colleagues with programs like the Lone Star Legislative Summit returning in April.

One big change is the selection of a new Speaker of the House. I know my name has been mentioned as a potential candidate, which would be an incredible honor and responsibility, but I am confident our next speaker will be a conservative Republican with whom I know I can work for the betterment of House District 11.

I look forward to the honor and privilege of representing you in Texas 86th Legislature.

County Judge

Chris Cagle

Age: 37 years old, married to Lauren Cagle with four children

Town of residence: Nacogdoches

Desired Position: County Judge

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position?

Being county judge requires a broad knowledge of both politics and business. I have business ownership experience and a graduate business degree. In addition I have a political science undergrad degree and have worked as a political staffer for Senator Hutchison and as a White House intern for President George W. Bush. These experiences will help me as Judge.

What are the issues you feel are important in this election? We must work on improving our county roads and having a strategic plan for the future of our County. Also the county must do more to spur economic development throughout the entire county. The County must be proactive in addressing issues rather than just reacting to events as they occur.

Should you be elected, what might you change? What would you continue?

If elected I will work hard to make sure the County has a seat at the table regarding issues that involve our county and area. I think it’s great that County finances are strong and I want to make sure that continues.

Elton Milstead

Age:67

Town of residence: Etoile

Desired Position: County Judge

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position? I have served seven years as Commissioner for Pct.4 in Nacogdoches County. I have completed the Advanced Curriculum of The County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas. I also have varied business experience.

What are the issues you feel are important in this election?

Nacogdoches needs a clear direction for the future. We need to be proactive and have a clear strategic business plan for the county. The citizens do not need to be burdened with unnecessary high property taxes. They have to have value for their tax dollars spent or we will never experience the economic growth we all desire.

Should you be elected, what might you change? What would you continue?

We would have more orderly and professional Commissioners Court meetings. More transparency and more inclusion of all of the commissioners in all future plans. I would hope we could define a positive direction for the future of Nacogdoches County. I would make sure every employee of Nacogdoches County feels appreciated and valued for what they do.

Greg Sowell

Age: 57

Town of Residence: Alazan Community (Nacogdoches County)

Desired position: County Judge

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position?

I was born and raised in Nacogdoches County. I have worked here and raised my family. I have been a public servant (in law enforcement) for 38 years, the past 16 in administration. I am a small business/farm owner. I hold the professional designation of Certified Public Manager (CPM) from the state of Texas that was obtained through Stephen F. Austin State University. In addition to government administrative experience, I have an extensive background in the management of governmental boards and non-profit organizations, having served on numerous governing boards in a volunteer capacity. I have a large amount of training and experience in emergency management, having served on the EM staff of the city and county in the Columbia Disaster and hurricanes Rita and Ike. This is important because the county judge is the chief emergency management officer of the county. I am very acquainted with the open government laws of the state and the day to day operations of government.

What are the issues you feel that are important in this election?

I believe that the issues that face the county are keeping spending to a manageable level, keeping the county reserves adequate and delivering the services that the taxpayers and citizens demand and deserve. The biggest challenge will be the necessary repair or replacement of the county jail. The Sheriff and his staff do an excellent job of keeping the jail in compliance, but major action must be taken in the not too distant future. As always, providing for the best public safety services and county road system possible is a priority. I am optimistic. I feel that with a proper, workable plan for the future, many good things can be achieved. I also support complete transparency in all workings of the government where the law allows and will urge the commissioner’s court to support any reasonable measure to help better inform our tax paying citizens.

Should you be elected what might you change? What would you continue?

The county judge has only one vote on the court. In most cases, it takes a majority vote of the court to take action. This is mandated by our Texas Constitution. I would hope to foster a cooperative spirit between members of the court, with elected officials and with the county employees and taxpayers to work together for the common good of the county. I would urge the court to adopt a working, long-range plan that addresses major issues well in advance, so that we are prepared for the future. Any vote or decision that I make will be legally, morally and ethically sound; and made with the taxpayers’ best interest at heart. I love Nacogdoches County. It is my home. I hope to be honored to serve as your next county judge.

Mike Perry

Incumbent Mike Perry did not return a candidate questionnaire

Precinct 2 County

Commissioner

Dick Tubbe

Age: 61

Town of residence: Life Long Resident of Nacogdoches

Desired position: Commissioner Precinct 2

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position? Having owned and managed a business for 27 years I have experience in budgeting, identifying options, prioritizing needs, stretching the dollar, working with other professionals, and looking ahead.

What are the issues you feel are important in this election?

1 Law enforcement needs

2 Road and bridge updates and needs

3 Wise use of tax payer’s money

Should you be elected, what might you change? What would you continue?

I will change the accountability of elected officials, continue gaining input from the people who elected me, and support elimination of unnecessary spending. Also, I will get up and go to work, full time, for the tax payers of Nacogdoches County!!

I would continue assuring that the law enforcement has what they need to keep the citizens of Nacogdoches safe, assure that road and bridge has proper funding, and maintain a fund balance for handling urgent needs and /or emergencies.

Jerry Stone

Age: Registered voter for a long time.

Town of residence: I live in the Harmony community out west off highway 7 in Precinct 2.

Desired Position: Commissioner Precinct 2

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position? I have 43 years of public service and the last three as the commissioner for precinct two.

I have received extensive training in county government.

I am a people person in that your problem in precinct two is my problem. I know that I work for the taxpayers. I have no personal agendas only what I think is best for my precinct.

What are the issues you feel that are important in this election? Issues of important in this election are do you want someone that has the experience and knowledge to do the job now or wait until a new person is trained. I thought I knew a lot about county government but I found out I didn’t have a clue when I took office. My opponent will be this way if elected.

Should you be elected what might you change? What would you continue? If re-elected I plan to continue to do the job that I was hired for to the best of my ability.

We need a second county court at law and a new jail. I will work closely with the commissioners court to come up with a viable solution for this.

Precinct 4 County Commissioner

Mark Harkness

Age: 49

Town of residence: I live in Melrose. I am a lifetime resident of Nacogdoches county.

Desired position: County Commissioner Precinct 4

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position?

Worked with Suddenlink communications for 22 years. I was a project development Manager for the past 5 years with Suddenlink. I coordinated commercial coax and fiber builds to large new construction sites. In doing so I had to work with many entities to make those project complete on time and within budget. I feel this has given me the knowledge and ability to work with people to get things done.

I am also a member of Woden ISD board of Trustees and have served as board president for the past 7 years. I feel this has given me insight to the budget process and government policies that can be helpful when working with the county budget.

What are the issues you feel are important in this election?

I feel that it is important to be a representative for the people of the county. To be able to work with others to get things done and to be a commissioner for all the people of Pct. 4 as well as the people of Nacogdoches county. We need to make sure that we have a preventive road maintenence schedule and we need to look at what we can do to improve the jail.

Should you be elected, what might you change? What would you continue?

I will look at how and why we are doing what we are doing and make my decision at that time. I will be a full time commissioner and will not work at an additional job while commissioner. I will also work to attract new businesses to the county as I feel that could bring additional tax revenue for the county.

Rhonda Ward

Age: 56

Town of residence: Nacogdoches

Desired position: County Commissioner Precinct 4

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position?

I am a state certified real estate appraiser. As a real estate appraiser, I have extensive knowledge of land uses, zoning, building construction, land density issues and road uses (public and private), as well as experience in determining legal issues as to ownership, access and easements. I have been self-employed for the last 30 years. Fifteen years as owner and lead appraiser with East Texas Appraisal Services, PLLC in Nacogdoches. The previous 15 as owner with my husband Jason of Wolf Creek Outfitters LLC in Pagosa Springs, CO. Prior to that, I was a legal assistant with Adams &Belanger Law Firm in Nacogdoches.

What are the issues you feel are important in this election?

In my opinion, the jail issue is the elephant in the room. There needs to be a decision to either build a new jail or very extensive renovations to the current facility. I believe when you are honest with people and explain that there are issues/mandates that are beyond our control, they will understand. The citizens of Nacogdoches are smart. Communication is the key.

Should you be elected, what might you change? What would you continue?

I would like to see the commission meet every week or at least have one of the meetings at 5:30 or 6 in the evening. As it stands now, very few working people can attend a meeting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

We work for the taxpayers, and they need to know they have a chance to publicly address any issue. We need to make the decision to either spend the excess reserves we have or refund the taxpayers. We can’t continue to sit on this amount of money. We are earning 1 percent to 1.5 percent on our money. With an inflation rate of 2.17 percent, we are losing money. Had the decision been made several years ago regarding the jail, our money would have gone further.

I would like to see the Teen Court re-instated. I know it helped many teenagers when it was in existence and I know if you can get teens’ attention now, the likelihood of them becoming a product of the system is reduced.

I would also like to see a renewed energy to serving the people. Let’s get out there and let the citizens and business owners know that we are open for business!

I would continue having a balanced budget and keeping our state minimum in reserves.

Tracy L. Littleton

Age: 47

Town of residence: Nacogdoches

Desired position: County Commissioner Precinct 4

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position?

As County Commissioner I believe it is important to be in office and accessible to all citizens. I will not shy away from phone calls and do what I can to work with the people of Nacogdoches County with their concerns and complaints. I believe in protecting land values and I want to help protect individuals property values. I am a fiscal conservative and believe in a balanced budget. I am really simple minded when it comes to running a business, if there is no money to buy products, your business can not exceed. The county budget needs to be looked upon the same way, “do not spend it if you do not have it”.

What are the issues you feel are important in this election?

I believe that our County Court of Law is back logged and we need to open a second County Court of Law to help with the back log of cases. I have spoken to source with the county and I am waiting on a study to come out from Austin.

The report will show that a second county court of law would more than cover the expenses and not put the county in debt. I believe that our Sheriff’s department needs more support.

The jail is in bad shape and we have to start planning for the future and improve the jail. I also believe we need a plan to house our juveniles. We spend so much money transporting them back and fourth to Longview a juvenile detention center. If we had a juvenile center in this county, we would save money for the county as a whole.

Should you be elected, what might you change? What would you continue?

One change would be to get more deputies on the street and to increase payroll with the sheriff department. Coming into office, to many changes can be detrimental. You want to make sure any change is beneficial for the county. I realize you just can’t snap your finger and it is done. Everyone must agree on a plan that works.

I would make sure the relationship Sheriff Jason Bridges has with the commissioner court is maintained and continues for as long as possible.

Darren Cook

Age: 51

Town of residence: Etoile

Desired position: County Commissioner Precinct 4

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position?

25 years in the school business and coaching. Farmer rancher, owner of Cook’s Watermelons for 30 years. I know what it is to work day and night to get things done.

What are the issues you feel are important in this election?

I feel the most important things are better roads take care of the working men and women of Pct. 4 .

Should you be elected, what might you change? What would you continue?

I would definitely NOT spend money on things we don’t need and vote to spend them to have better roads law enforcement and the biggest difference is hard work and let the people of the Pct. 4 stay informed on what’s going on. and as a business owner i know we need a reserve for unexpected needs.

Scott Hasley

Scott Hasley did not return a candidate questionnaire.

Justice of the Peace Place 4

David Perkins

Age: 64

Town of residence: Nacogdoches County, Melrose community

Desired position: Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position?

I have 27 years’ experience in law enforcement. I was a patrol officer and later a criminal investigator with the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Department enforcing criminal law. I have worked with the Constable’s Office in Precinct 4 enforcing both criminal and civil law prior to taking office as your Justice of the Peace. I still hold a Masters Peace Officer License for the State of Texas. I also hold a State Instructor’s Certificate to teach law enforcement.

What are the issues you feel are important in this election?

With my knowledge and training of the laws that change every year and applying my past 22 years of experience in their application can only be a benefit to the case before the court.

I will continue to look at each case that comes before the court, whether criminal or civil, individually. Every case is different because each person or family is different. Application of the law to that particular case is important and fairness and honestly should prevail.

Experience is very crucial; I have witnesses a great many issues over the past 22 years. Justice court is the first court that a majority of the public comes in contact with, either criminal or civil. You have to represent the court and the county in your application of the law for each case.

With your support, I will continue to do my best to help any person or family with their problems.

Should you be elected, what might you change? What would you continue?

One of the changes I would like to see is the Judicial Assistants be able to continue in their court training. Each one has completed their Level 1 state certificate and they are working on their masters. This is not a requirement for their position.

They do this on their own time in order to become more proficient in their job. In the long run, their devotion is an asset for the county. I have two wonderful assistants.

One thing I would like to reinstate is an option for school students to have their criminal charges dismissed through the Teen Court program. Out of the 880 teen courts across the state, I would also like to see Nacogdoches compete in a mock trial in the state capitol. I brought to Nacogdoches County the first teen court program in 1996. This was a wonderful program for 15 years and it was cut due to budget constraints.

Shaun Ireland

Age: 34

Town of residence: Martinsville

Desired position: Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position?

All three candidates in this race meet the qualifications to serve as Justice of the Peace. As a conservative Republican and local timber farmer, I will uphold the law and always strive maintain our Texas values.

What are the issues you feel are important in this election?

It’s been 24 years since the office last had a change in leadership. If elected, I will seek to modernize the office and update policies to increase fairness and efficiency.

Should you be elected, what might you change? What would you continue?

It would be an honor to serve as Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4.

This is a office for the people and of the people, if elected I will create flexible office hours for evenings & weekends and always maintain a open door policy for constituents.

Steve Gilcrease

Age: 50

Town of residence: Swift Community, Nacogdoches County

Desired position: Justice of the Peace – Pct. 4

What qualifications do you have which might help you in this position?

I have 21 years Law Enforcement experience with the Nacogdoches City Police Department. Twelve of those years I was a Detective assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division where I specialized in investigating robberies and burglaries. I hold a Masters Peace Officers License and have extensive training in all facets of Law Enforcement.

What are the issues you feel are important in this election?

I believe that we need a fair, honest and impartial court system for Pct. 4 and that we should have a good working relationship with the public and the other court and law enforcement agencies.

Should you be elected, what might you change? What would you continue?

At this time, I don’t know what needs to be changed or continued. I will have to wait until I get into office to evaluate the situation and make the decision regarding changes at that time.

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