In anticipation of the Coryell County primary election on March 6, the Killeen Daily Herald asked candidates for the county judge and county commissioner seats three questions.

The candidates for county judge are Wayne Avery, John Derrick, Janice Gray, Bob Harrell, Alan Mathis and Roger Miller.

The candidates for county commissioner, Precinct 2 are incumbent Daren Moore and Scott Weddle.

The candidates for county commissioner, Precinct 4 are incumbent Ray Ashby and Keith Taylor.

Early voting continues until March 2 in Coryell County, with voting locations listed on the website:

Additional information on these and all Coryell County candidates is available on the Herald’s website,, under Center for Politics.

1. What in your background qualifies you for this elected office?

County judge candidate answers

Avery: I’ve worked as the Central Texas Regional Advisory Counsel Board of Director Member, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Public Health Emergency, Jonesboro Volunteer Firefighter, In the U.S. Army, Airborne Infantry, and Medical Logistics, Certified three times as the Military Support to Civilian Authorities, Disaster Control Element, Medical Officer (DOD ESF 8 coordinator to FEMA ESF 8). Kouma Village Community Life NCO taking care of 3300 residents. Masters Degree in Disaster and Emergency Management. Bachelor in Criminal Justice.

Derrick: I graduated Texas A&M University with a BBA in Accounting. I have 20 plus years of experience as a CPA helping small business owners in Coryell County. I have served as board member and Chairman of Coryell County Republican Party, Board member & President of Centex Crime Stoppers, Treasurer & Member of The Presbyterian Church of Gatesville, and more.

Gray: I believe what qualifies me for this job is my education and job related experiences in accounting and working with budgets. I work with at $722,000.00 budget currently as well as supervising 12 employees. I have worked for Coryell County for 27 years and have firsthand knowledge of how the county functions. I have a good working relationship with all elected officials and departments. I have been an officer of the Coryell County Bail Bond Board since it was established. I have served time on the Texas Association of Counties Board dealing with legislation to help our County Government. I have spent time testifying before the Capitol in Austin on bills that would have had a negative impact on County Government and also those bills that would enhance the funds we receive from State Agencies.

Harrell: I’m a life-long public servant, currently 2-plus years as Coryell County Emergency Management Coordinator, 8 years DPS, 23 years Army, I’ve secured $200,000 in grants for emergency preparedness, and worked with Road and Bridge to secure $700,000 for maintenance. I have Master’s in Public Administration, B.S. in Health Administration.

Mathis: I believe my qualifications for this office include 45 years of continuous stressful work and training: 23 years in the Army and 22 years as a contractor for the Army while successfully balancing the demands of 48 year of marriage. I went from Private to Major to a Senior Operations Manager.

Miller: I am a fifth generation native of Coryell County. I served 23 years in the United States Army, retiring as a First Sergeant. My knowledge of our County, combined with the leadership and management skills cultivated in the Army, makes me uniquely qualified to lead Coryell County.

County commissioner candidate answers

Ashby: I am a Christian man with good morals. I was born in Coryell County. I have family roots that go back to the 1800s here so I care deeply about our county. I am a small business owner and long time educator in our community so I value the people here.

Moore: My background exemplifies public service, community involvement, and small business owner. Have the willingness to listen to the constituency of the county, work toward solving needs and issues that affect all. Eleven years of county experience and Officer on the Executive Committee of the Central Texas Council of Governments.

Taylor: I worked for TXDOT and TDCJ in maintenance for a combined time of 20 years. Since 2004, I have owned and operated a successful business. I have been a member of the Jonesboro School Board for 18 years, the last five of those, I have served as the school board president.

Weddle: The County Commissioner’s number one job is to oversee the budget for the county and departments. My degree in finance and experience managing companies with fifty million in revenue where my responsibilities included budgeting, marketing, sales, training, and overseeing ethical hiring practices qualifies me. My wife and I owned a profitable senior homecare business for 13 years.

2. What are your top three priorities for Coryell County, if elected?

County judge candidate answers

Avery: Lowering taxes, new jail bond, and keeping people informed.

Derrick: a. I will work to keep taxes low. b. I will ensure the county uses fiscally responsible budgeting with an emphasis on safety. c. I will work with economic development boards, and cities within Coryell County to attract new and sustainable businesses.

Gray: My priorities are: keeping taxes low, working hard to bring a better broad band system to this area so the county will work more effectively, and work with a vision for the future of Coryell County.

Harrell: Bring in more, better paying jobs to lower property taxes for homeowners and recruit businesses, improve our roads, develop an off-channel reservoir to supply water during drought, affordable high-speed broadband access, fund and equip law enforcement to protect us, unite our county and work for all our citizens.

Mathis: 1. Developing a Vision of the future for the county that will guide all department of where we want the county to be in 10 and 20 years; 2. Develop Strategic Plan and Goals required to meet that Vision; 3. Develop a long-term Spending Plan that will guide the annual Budget creation.

Miller: 1. Modernize our systems by capitalizing on current technology; 2. Implement smart business practices to make processes more efficient and cost effective. 3. Restore faith in YOUR County Government by being completely transparent

County commissioner candidate answers

Ashby: A. County Budget - sets the tax rate for our citizens. I will work diligently to keep it as low as possible. B. Public Safety -Ensuring that our Sheriff/Fire Departments have everything they need to keep our communities safe. C. Business and Community Growth: Attract new businesses that add jobs and increases our tax base.

Moore: a. Continue to increase the road and bridge budget within capabilities, to rebuild and repair our aging county road system. An increase of almost 250,000.00 in materials alone was made in FY 2018. b. Examine ways to improve and lower costs on employee healthcare and benefits, while providing the level of benefits Coryell County employees are accustomed to. c. Explore options to construct and finance a new law enforcement center on existing county property. This project would provide needed office space for the Sheriff’s Department. It would also allow for a training center and office space for the Justice Court, Constables, Game Warden and D.P.S. as well.

Taylor: To make economic decisions by keeping taxes low, while utilizing tax dollars effectively and efficiently in the best interest of the tax payers. Listening to and being a voice for the people of the community while making knowledgeable and beneficial decisions. Work toward community growth and improvement economically.

Weddle: Uncover why the voter approved bond for a new jail was not acted upon by previous commissioners and clearly explain my findings to the voters. Work towards lowering homeowner’s tax burden by attracting new businesses, especially light manufacturing creating a larger tax base and higher wages. Examine the budget to make sure funds are appropriated to the departments that have the greatest benefit to the voters.

3. How do you plan to fund road and other county-wide improvement projects, if elected?

County judge candidate answers

Avery: Relook and overhaul the county budget to eliminate unnecessary expenditure, repeated maintenance costs for individual equipment, lower other actions that cause property taxes to be increased. The last thing is to raise property taxes.

Derrick: Countywide improvements can only be funded with increased tax revenue or debt. I will work on keeping the tax rate low, and growing the taxable base. This will spread the burden over a broader base allowing the County to pay for improvements without increasing debt.

Gray: I would fund these projects by bringing a more conservative budget to our county, placing priorities on county wide improvements such as roads and better communication between departments, a faster and more efficient internet speed to help generate more growth to the county and work with a vision to be more prepared for the future.

Harrell: Conduct a bottom-up review, prioritizing each project and plan the implementation with input from the public and other stakeholders. Teamwork and Stewardship will be the cornerstones of this multi-year initiative. I will seek grants to help reduce taxes. Develop cost saving programs to eliminate waste and effectively use tax dollars.

Mathis: By developing the Vision, Plan and Long-range spending guide, we will continue to use the current process matched with the spending priorities. The county was on a 22 year cycle for road repair and would like to get it down to a 10 year cycle.

Miller: I believe we can increase the value of our property tax base, by seeking commercial development that is sustainable and beneficial to our County. I will aggressive seek grant funds at the State and Federal level to decrease our local tax burden.

County commissioner candidate answers

Ashby: By maximizing budget dollars that are allocated to the Road and Bridge Department. Seeking out and utilizing all Federal Grants that are available to us.

Moore: Seek additional economic development opportunities, to increase the tax base in order to put less burden on existing residential and commercial property owners. Research grant funding for eligible projects and financing agreements. County-wide road and improvement projects are paid for by the tax dollars of Coryell County citizens and money received through grants. I am willing to assist in and look for grants to help fund these projects.

Weddle: Create a business friendly economy to increase the tax base, streamline departments and processes for efficiency, and cut waste out of the budget. Bring common sense business minded decisions to the court. Examine why the county has purchased so many properties and liquidate some if necessary.

254-501-7568 |

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