Less than seven weeks to go before the Primary election. Because none of the Democrats running are being challenged in this Primary election, this article will be limited to the Republican candidates who will appear on the ballot for an elected office.
Running for the position of Commissioner of Precinct 4 are three candidates: Janet Nichol, John Stacey, and Randy Puckett. (The salary of each commissioner on the Commissioners Court is $100,920 (including $4,920 for car allowance).
Janet Nichol, the incumbent, was appointed to this position early in 2021 to replace David Magness. She is a business owner in Royce City and was formerly mayor of that city. Her voting record reflects an alignment with incumbent County Judge David Sweet. John Stacey, also a business owner, lives in Fate and was a candidate for this position in the last election. He has stated he will be a full-time commissioner. Randy Puckett was a former police officer in the City of Rockwall and is retired.
Probably the second most watched election is that of Commissioner of Precinct 2. The incumbent, Lee Gilbert, is not running for re-election after his eight years of service.
Dana Mallick, previously a member of the Rockwall City Council for four years, is one of two candidates. She formally was CEO of the largest Real Estate firm in Rockwall and prior to that was the CEO of the Rockwall Chamber of Commerce. She has an extensive background in business and understands the duties and responsibilities of a position of leadership in an organization. Strategic planning for large organizations is one of her special talents along with her ability to relate well with her constituents. She has stated that when elected she will be a full-time Commissioner.
Jim Pruitt, previously mayor of the city of Rockwall, is the second candidate for this position. He is a lawyer and former judge in one of the Dallas Courts. He currently serves occasionally as a judge in mediation discussions. His wife, Kenda Culpepper, is the District Attorney of Rockwall County. The Commissioners Court oversees and establishes the budget for the office of the District Attorney. Because of his background, he would add extensive legal expertise to the Commissioner Court.
The most watched election will be that of County Judge. (The salary of the County Judge is $106,920 (including $4,920 for car allowance).)
The incumbent, David Sweet, has served for eight years and because of the tremendous growth of the county, coupled with the rapid exponential economic growth, has done well in reducing property taxes. The County Judge is specifically charged in the Texas Constitution with the responsibility for emergency management in the county. Some residents have concerns about the flow of information once the pandemic started in early 2020. Also, Rockwall County lacks a Strategic Plan for the rapid growth of the county, which some find discouraging. He has been criticized for focusing too much on public relations.
Two other candidates for County Judge are John Beaman and Frank New. Both are currently city council members in Heath. Both own their own business. In addition, Beaman is the managing executive in a non-profit that is specifically charged with helping businesses in the development and implementation of strategic plans for their organization. At age 28, Beaman is relatively young, but so were Thomas Jefferson and John F. Kennedy. New’s wife currently works in the District Attorney office but that should not be a deterrent to his candidacy. Both have stated that if elected they would be a full-time County Judge.
For the next seven weeks you are going to be seeing a lot of election signs throughout the county. You will probably be receiving much information about the various candidates in your mailboxes. You will probably see billboards advertising for some candidates.
You are also going to have the opportunity to meet and hear the candidates in various sponsored Town Halls. For example, on Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 6:30 in the evening, at the new courthouse, there will be a Town Hall where the candidates will present their platforms, qualifications, and ask for your vote. If you haven’t made up your own mind by then, this will be a great opportunity to hear from each person running for office. Additional town halls are planned for the month of February.
Jerry Hogan is a former County Judge in Rockwall County. He can Be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-394-4033.