Why are you the best qualified to be the next county judge?
I feel I am the best-qualified candidate to be the next Calhoun County Judge due to my education, knowledge of the county and extensive experience. I am a Calhoun High School graduate and a life long resident in Calhoun County. I hold my Bachelors in communication from Corpus Christi State University now known as Texas A&M Corpus Christi. I am a 4th generation Calhoun County resident with experience in farming, shrimping, local car sales and clothing retail businesses as well as being a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. My grandfather Archie Tippit was a local seafood packing plant entrepreneur as well as the local Mayor in the 1950’s and while working closely with him and my father, I learned a lot about our local government, various businesses and the importance of the seafood industry to Calhoun County. I am currently a Team Member of the Victoria County DWI Specialty Court and formerly the Vice-President of the local American Postal Workers Union, where I have learned how to deal with difficult issues of the court and to negotiate local contracts for my fellow Postal Workers. I have helped numerous Calhoun County residents find Substance Abuse programs to address their Substance Abuse issues or their loved ones’ problems with Substance Abuse. As a result of working closely with these families I have had to address many critical crisis situations, therefore I feel capable of handling crisis once I am confronted with a crisis. I am currently employed by Mid-Coast Family Services as the Program Development Director to address the start up of new programs as well as generating ideas for our current programs, I feel this experience will help me develop new innovative ways of dealing with county entity concerns. I work within the perimeters of a limited Non-Profit budget, which will help guide me in addressing county funding issues. I have been recognized by current employer and I have received an award for a creative idea from the U. S. Postal Service. I am a Christian and a member of the First United Methodist Church. I am a well-rounded individual with a variety of business and people experience, which makes me the most qualified candidate for the job.
What tools does the county need to attract economic and industrial development?
We have the tools in our county to attract economic and industrial development such as natural resources like our waterways, the two barge canals the Intracoastal Waterway and Victoria, Industrial ship channel waterway access. We have plentiful natural gas resources as well as an abundant fresh water supply. We have an ample supply of reasonable priced generated electricity. A network of railways through out the county, county airport, a well staffed and equipped hospital, an outstanding network of Emergency Medical, Fire Station, as well as Law enforcement personnel and facilities. Calhoun County has traditionally offered new industry and a favorable tax environment as well. The county has a network of underground pipelines and various chemical plants, which should attract similar industry and sister manufacturing plants. We have a lot to offer in Calhoun County to attract industry as well as local economic development all along our bays and beaches. The County needs to increase access to our waterways and bays, which will encourage economic growth as well. We need a person that has vision and negotiating skills to put this package together to be a win for Calhoun County and that person is me.
What can the county offer to help reduce the county’s unemployment rate?
Our unemployment rate in Calhoun County has traditionally been higher than all the counties that surround us yet we have more industry and employment opportunities than all these other counties; there is something wrong with that picture. I think the county should encourage our local businesses and plant managers to hire from Calhoun County as to get to an acceptable level of unemployment of around 2.9% we would only need to get about 400 people employed to reach that goal. I would to see the county promote the building of homes in the county to retain the folks hired at our local businesses and plants to remain and live in the county, pay taxes here, buy from our retail stores and use our hospital and medical services. The more people we retain in the county will naturally lower our unemployment rate. We have teachers, Law Enforcement, Emergency personnel, industry workers living in other counties as housing is not as available in Calhoun County and the market could be a bit more competitive. The more workers we retain here will have a dramatic effect on our unemployment rate as well as our tax burden as the taxes will be spread among more tax payers. Our County hospital would benefit from having more employed folks using it services as these folks will have a greater likelihood of having Health Insurance coverage.
What one area of the county can be improved?
There is not just one area the county needs to improve on. The first area of improvement is demonstrating to industry the benefits and the true value of the opportunity for them to have industry located in and operating in our county. I think as community partners with the local industry that we may have sold ourselves short for all the resources we give up and we may not be getting the full benefit of their presence in our county. When industry arrived we had a high unemployment rate and we still maintain a high unemployment rate with their presence, we struggle to keep our hospital out of the red, our Emergency services, Law enforcement and other county entities are underfunded. The second area I think the county could improve on is having a more business start up friendly environment, if we are able to offer a tax abatement to outside industry to come in I feel the county should be able to offer a 3-5 year tax abatement to Calhoun County resident entrepreneurs who want to start up a new businesses in our county.
How can the county best address the financial health of first responders as well as the county hospital?
The county can demonstrate through negotiations the value of industry doing business in Calhoun County and get more buy in from our local community industry partners. The county can justify this buy in by doing comparisons of other community industry buy in outside of Calhoun County to include surrounding counties and other surrounding states. I think a dedicated funding stream to the hospital and other county services will be a great start to resolving the counties woes. I also believe an innovative approach to getting more local employees of our industry to move closer to their jobs by moving to Calhoun County will benefit the hospital as this will increase use of our hospital by folks who have health insurance, which in turn would offset some of our indigent hospital care cost. The county should encourage local industry and businesses to hire from Calhoun County which should lower our unemployment rate and indigent hospital care. I think the county should encourage contracts between the local industry and the hospital to provide care for their employees in which industry would pick up all or a percentage of the co-pays, this would be a great incentive for employees to get medical procedures done here at our hospital and would be one step closer to improving the hospitals financial health. I would like to see the county encourage the hospital lab to seek outside lab work from other facilities on a contractual basis, I think this would be another step towards improving our hospital financial health. I do like the recent hospital improvement of the addition of Luby’s to the cafeteria. I would like to see the county encourage the hospital to look at Luby’s doing a contract with “Meals on Wheels” to bring in more cafeteria revenue. Just a few thoughts about some changes I would like to see the county take. I would be a driving force to get these goals accomplished if the county were to elect me County Judge and give me the go ahead nod.
How can the county and cities work together to make Calhoun County and the cities better?
I as a manger recognize the importance of communication between programs and programs working together as sometimes different programs have the same goals in mind and by working together on projects and goals you are able to get things done more efficiently and quickly by teaming up. I would attend local Calhoun County city council meetings and local county interest group meetings if invited. I will encourage these city officials and community minded members to attend the Commissioner’s Court meetings as well. I am promoting the Calhoun County Commissioners Court post a live video of it’s weekly meetings online with the ability to have them saved for a later online review. I am a very approachable person who believes in communication and partnership with our Calhoun County residents and city officials to accomplish goals for our community that we all have in common.