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Two people are seeking the County Judge for Parker County position: Cary McKay and Mark Riley. Both are on the Republican ticket.
McKay is a small business owner. Previous jobs that will assist in the position of county judge include being a business owner and real estate professional, and a business intern for Chick-Fil-A corporate.
Riley is the incumbent in the race. He has served as Parker County Judge for 11 years and Precinct 4 Commissioner from 1987-1994 and did not seek re-election. He was President of Weatherford Chamber of Commerce when elected County Judge in 1998. “I have extensive Judicial training and preside over Probate Court including guardianships and mental competency hearings. My background before holding elected office was in media,” he said.
Following are the questions posted to the two candidates and their responses:
Why do you want to be Parker county Judge?
McKay: Because I care about the people of Parker County. Politics as usual is causing increased spending of taxpayer money. I will stop the spending that isn’t needed. Politics as usual is leading to an infringement on our private property rights. My goal is to return to the people of Parker County their private property rights. Politics as usual is responsible for no water use planning. As Parker County Judge I will work to expand our water sources and protect our water for Parker County citizens. We need a leader who will continuously plan transportation; we cannot wait 17 years or more between projects.
Riley: I am the only candidate with the experience and record of accomplishments to continue the progress we have made in the areas of transportation, emergency services, emergency management and developing partnerships with local entities as well as within the region and the state. These partnerships are especially important to fully implement our transportation plan. I represent Parker County on the Regional Transportation Council and we have been awarded $13 million to supplement voter approved transportation bonds. Our partnership with the City of Aledo and Aledo ISD is making it possible to soon start construction on projects that will greatly improve mobility. I have been a strong advocate for quality of life issues and have appeared before legislative committees and state agencies testifying on behalf of our citizens. From the very beginning, I have stood beside the community opposing the permit to allow a waste transfer station off Bankhead Highway and will continue to support those efforts.
What qualifications do you have that would make you a good county judge?
McKay: I am a lifelong conservative and active Parker County Republican, successful business owner and family man. My community involvement includes coaching son’s football team and serving on the board of the Peaster Baseball Association. I am a member of the East Parker County and Springtown Chambers of Commerce. Because of my background as a business owner, I understand working within a budget and meeting a payroll. I will be very careful with the taxpayer’s money.
Riley: My qualifications consist of experience, proven record of accomplishments, judicial education, extensive training in emergency management issues and success in building partnerships. The duties of County Judge are more than presiding over Commissioners Court and the administrative duties most people know about. As Presiding Judge of Probate Court, I have heard thousands of Probates, Guardianships and Mental Competency Hearings. Additionally I serve as a Magistrate to set bond at the jail. The County Judge is Director of Emergency Management, and has the same powers in the county as does the Governor in the state in times of disaster. Stable leadership is a necessity when we need to implement our state approved emergency management plan. Our emergency management team has been recognized at the regional and state level for leadership and accomplishments.
If elected, what would be the first two things you would seek to accomplish and why?
McKay: First, protect private property rights and ensure that Parker County citizens are not arbitrarily restricted from use of their water wells and firearms on their private property. Second, develop a comprehensive water use plan that expands our water sources while protecting our current water for Parker County citizens.
Riley: The most important issue in January 2011 will be to continue implementation of the transportation plan previously approved by voters. I have the experience in working with TXDOT, the Federal Highway Administration and regional transportation officials to keep our projects moving. The plan is ahead of schedule and below budget. It will take someone with proven experience to stay on track and continue the progress we have made with other agencies. As we move into the second year of implementation, we will begin planning for the next phase which will improve mobility even more in Eastern Parker County.
The second issue I will continue working on is to support Representative Phil King's efforts to reduce the burden on property tax owners. My experience will be of value in this discussion as I have extensive knowledge of the operation of county government. The budget I presented for consideration by Commissioners this year, lowered the tax rate by using available reserves, thus saving the taxpayers hard earned money. I reduced spending requests by $500,000.00 It is important we work with the state on finding ways to continue reducing your costs as we at the local level keep spending in check.
In a few sentences, what would you like to tell the Parker County Precinct 4 voters?
McKay: I will be a citizen County Judge, not a career politician. I don’t believe in politics as usual. A good leader is a good listener. Your voice will matter, and your taxpayer dollars will be respected.
Riley: When January 2011 begins, the Commissioners Court will have two new Commissioners, one in Precinct #4 and Precinct #2. The Commissioner in Precinct #3 will have six years experience and the Commissioner in Precinct #1 will have two years on the court. In my eleven years as County Judge, I have worked with ten different Commissioners. I believe it is important to offset the lack of experience and knowledge of Commissioners with stability in the position of County Judge. If we are to continue with our plans and make the most efficient use of your tax dollars, it is important to have proven leadership with the experience to reach our goals. The owner of a $47 million business would not hire the least experienced person as CEO. The owner would hire the most experienced. I offer that experience and knowledge.