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Candidate Profiles: Bowie County Commissioner, Precinct 4

Candidate Profiles: Bowie County Commissioner, Precinct 4

February 12th, 2018 by Gazette Staff in Texarkana News

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second installment of candidate profiles in area primary races. Early voting for Bowie County residents starts from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the county courthouse in New Boston and at Bi-State Justice Building in Texarkana. The election is Tuesday, March 6. The Gazette requested that candidates not exceed a character limit on each question to provide fairness and equality in coverage and article length. Aside from minor changes and editing, the candidate responses are being printed as submitted. In this installment, the Bowie County Precinct 4 commissioner Republican primary race is highlighted, with incumbent Mike Carter and challenger Robert Lorance. No Democratic candidates have filed to run for the spot.


Mike Carter

Mike Carter

MIKE CARTER (incumbent)

Biographical

Spouse and children: Wife, Kathy; daughters, Shelly, Angie, Allee and Hollye; sons, Michael and Steve

Age: 68

Years a Bowie County resident: 40

Political party: Republican

Highlight your top three degrees and/or educational achievements:

  • Texas HVAC Class A license (current)
  • Texarkana College/Accounting and Contract Law
  • 76 hours educational training for county commissioners

List your current job and employer and your top three occupational achievements:

Bowie County Commissioner, Precinct 4

  • I have improved 35 County roads from gravel to millings, working with TxDOT to get the millings for free.
  • The commissioners and I improved Bowie County's finances, going from zero reserve to $6 million.
  • We refinanced the U.S. Highway 82 bonds and saved Bowie County almost $10 million.

Highlight the top three examples of your civic or community service:

  • Honorably served in the Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard; three tours in Vietnam.
  • President of Texarkana, Texas, Dixie Baseball Association for nine years.
  • Member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, America Legion, Elks Club and past master of Masonic Lodge

Highlight the top three examples of your political experience:

  • 8 years on the Wake Village City Council as a council member and mayor protem
  • 4 years as Bowie County commissioner from 2014 to present.
  • Served as a board member at TexAmericas

 

Political

Why did you run for office?

Four years ago, I ran for office because Bowie County was in bad financial condition. With my 40 years as a successful air conditioning contractor and 14 years' military experience, I felt like I could help get our finances in order. I would like to continue my work building reserves and improving roads and infrastructure.

What are your top three goals, if elected?

  • Continue the infrastructure repairs and overlay of our dirt roads.
  • Continue to work with commissioners to ensure our budget is followed and the county remains solvent.
  • Continue to lower county taxes through good management practices as we have done for the last four years, where taxes have gone from .473610 to .424322.

 

The Issues

What are the three greatest issues facing the county?

  • The first issue is to ensure our county's finances are stable and continue the growth of our tax base so revenues remain ahead of expenses.
  • Deterioration of our county's buildings and infrastructure.
  • Unfunded mandates from the Texas Legislature.

How should these issues be addressed?

  • We need to attract new industries through lower county taxes and programs to draw interest in our area.
  • We need to continue to build our reserve fund so bond issues are not necessary to improve roads and buildings.
  • We need to work with our elected state officials to insure any legislation that is passed is funded by the state.

How many miles of roads does your precinct maintain, how many employees and where is the precinct barn?

I have 303 miles of road to maintain with 14 employees. The precinct barn is at 801 Texas Highway 8 S. in New Boston, Texas.

What are the three most pressing issues facing your precinct?

  • More budget for materials to repair our county roads.
  • Upgrading infrastructure to keep up with the growth in rural areas.
  • One of the major problems facing our precinct and the other precincts is crime. When criminals are arrested, they become our responsibility. We have to feed them and furnish medical and legal services.

How should these issues be addressed?

  • We need to continue to improve our county's finances so more budget can be allocated for materials.
  • After we have built our reserve fund to the point mandated by resolution, hopefully we can use some to improve our roads and infrastructure in all precincts.
  • We need to find ways to lower our inmate population. I know it is an ongoing problem, but programs that work with the community to fight crime and making sure there are enough people to get the inmates through the system efficiently and quickly might lower our costs. We added another public defender last year, but we need to work with that department, also.

Under what, if any, circumstances would you support a tax increase or bond issue?

I do not support a tax increase at all. We should work together to lower taxes as we have the last four years, down from .473610 to .424322, while increasing our reserves from zero to $6 million. I do not support bond issues. If we continue to increase our reserve fund, we should have the money to take care of the county.

If the county's financial situation improves, where would you like to see the money go?

The county's financial situation has improved since I was elected. We need to build our reserves to the point mandated by county resolution. We could use any surplus to upgrade infrastructure. I would also like to build an economic development fund and attract industry with good paying jobs to build the tax base.

If the county's financial situation does not improve, how would you suggest curbing expenses?

We would have to work with other elected officials and department heads to identify any areas where costs or services could be reduced. When I was elected four years ago, we had to do this very thing to get the county solvent. As revenues grow and budget allows, they are being restored.

 

Robert Lorance

Robert Lorance

ROBERT LORANCE

Biographical

Spouse and children: Spouse, Laura; children, Lakyn, Bailey and Tanner

Age: 53

Years a Bowie County resident: 46

Political party: Republican

Highlight your top three degrees and/or educational achievements:

  • Mechanical/electrical certifications, Kilgore College
  • Heavy equipment and HAZMAT certifications
  • 300 hours of professional training in business management and leadership, Frito Lay Corp.

List your current job and employer and your top three occupational achievements:

  • Route business manager for Frito Lay Corp., 23 years
  • Multiple-year recipient of Herman Lay Ring of Honor (top 5 percent)
  • Owner of hay harvesting operation, 20 years

Highlight the top three examples of your civic or community service:

  • Mayor/City Councilman, city of Redwater
  • Charter Member/Vice President, Redwater Education Foundation
  • Diesel Technology Advisory Board, Texarkana College

Highlight the top three examples of your political experience:

  • Lifelong Republican
  • Volunteer or contributor to various local, state and national Republican candidates and conservative causes
  • Bowie County Republican Precinct chairman/election judge

 

Political

Why did you run for office?

I am seeking the position of commissioner to provide consistent leadership on issues that matter most to Bowie County's future: jobs, transportation, water and taxes.

What are your top three goals, if elected?

My tops goals are to provide consistent leadership to the people of Precinct 4, not just at election time, on issues such as:

  • Road maintenance/infrastructure improvements
  • Public safety
  • Budget priorities/economic development

 

The Issues

What are the three greatest issues facing the county?

The greatest issues facing Bowie County are:

  • expanding the tax base
  • creating jobs
  • making timely investments in much needed infrastructure on water and transportation

How should these issues be addressed?

In order to secure Bowie County's future, we must elect leaders who understand the "big picture" and how we best fit into it. Decisions that are made in Austin and Washington, D.C., have serious impacts on our region, and we must have leaders who are capable and willing to stay informed on all levels. I am ready to put both my private sector business experience and my previous public service to work for the betterment of Bowie County. I will be responsive to the needs of Precinct 4 citizens, properly manage the budget, support law enforcement and provide informed leadership on important local, regional and state issues.

How many miles of roads does your precinct maintain, how many employees and where is the precinct barn?

Precinct 4 includes 312 miles of county roads; employs about 15 people, both full- and part-time; and the barn is located at 801 Texas Highway 8, New Boston, TX 75570.

What are the three most pressing issues facing your precinct?

The most pressing issues are making timely road repairs and infrastructure investments for water and transportation, expanding the tax base and creating jobs.

How should these issues be addressed?

In order to secure the future of Precinct 4, we need a commissioner who will put the interests of the taxpayers first, not just at election time. The precinct is experiencing record growth in certain areas, and we need proactive leadership to effectively manage that to the benefit of the taxpayers and preserve our quality of life. I am ready to put both my private-sector business experience as well as my previous public service to work for of Bowie County. I will be responsive to the needs of Precinct 4 citizens, properly manage the budget, support law enforcement and provide leadership on important local, regional, and state issues.

Under what, if any, circumstances would you support a tax increase or bond issue?

I do not foresee a circumstance by which a tax increase would be needed for Bowie County. With respect to the issuance of bonds, I would seek voter approval when possible and properly research both the current and long-term economic forecasts before proceeding.

If the county's financial situation improves, where would you like to see the money go?

I would support providing relief to the taxpayers, investing in needed infrastructure and/or providing improved benefits/salaries to employees in order to attract and retain a quality workforce at Bowie County.

If the county's financial situation does not improve, how would you suggest curbing expenses?

I would defer capital projects, maintain the current tax rate, and/or cut other non-essential expenses in the budget.

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