Standing before about 100 supporters at Carl Levin Park in Harker Heights on Monday, Bobby Whitson, a Republican and resident of Salado, made it official that he is a candidate for the Bell County Precinct 2 county commissioner spot currently being held by six-term incumbent Tim Brown.

Bell County Precinct 2 is located in southwest Bell County and covers Salado, Harker Heights and parts of East Killeen.

Whitson, 42, who scheduled his first public announcement for the Heights park, told the crowd his campaign was at the starting gate and he’s ready to go.

The primary election is scheduled for March 6, 2018.

“From the bottom of my heart, I cannot tell you how much I love you and appreciate each one of you coming out here,” Whitson said. “I don’t have any idea how to respond to having folks that I have looked up to my entire life being here this afternoon and telling me that we’re for you and we know you can do it.”

Whitson is a lifelong resident of Bell County, president of the Greater Central Texas Federal Credit Union in Killeen and Harker Heights, in addition to having served as a member of the Development District of Central Texas, a member of the Salado economic development committee, a fireman with the Salado Volunteer Fire Department and a member of the Harker Heights Rotary Club. He has been in the banking business for more than 20 years.

This is Whitson’s first run for elected office. At the campaign rally he said, “This is an amazing feeling of support and is one that I’ve never had before but I’m stepping out to begin the race. I never thought I would get involved in politics and yet here I am. Some of you have talked with me and said we need you and right now! As we go through this campaign, I’m gonna need all of you because I truly am feeling my way around in the dark with this and that’s just to run for the office and campaign to win the position. I’m confident I can do the job but I’m totally depending on you to help get me there.”

In an interview with the Herald just prior to the rally, Whitson said, “I was actually asked to do this about four years ago. At that time, I was living in Killeen and had kids going into high school, started working at the credit union and just really didn’t have the time to pursue it. The incumbent had decided he wanted to stay where he was for another four years and I figured it was God telling me it was not the right time and that was fine with me. Now, here we are and more and more people began to encourage me and give me a strong sense of urgency that they wanted someone now that was new and could provide a fresh perspective.”

Brown has served as commissioner for the past 24 years. The Herald asked Whitson if that bothered him to be running against someone who had been in office for that many years. He said, “No! I’m a firm believer in our democracy and people are gonna vote for who they think is the best man for the job. If they vote for me, I’ll do the best I can. If they don’t vote for me, I’ve got plenty of other things that I’ve been doing and will continue to do for Bell County.”

While explaining his background, Whitson touched on some of the issues that he is familiar with and would face as a commissioner.

“This position fits me well because I’ve grown up in Precinct 2 in addition to working here and they’ll probably put me in the ground somewhere in this precinct,” he said. “It’s been a family thing with me raised here in addition to my kids and my parents living here for many years.

“My dad has been running West Bell Water for 30 years now. Water is an issue along with technology and fast growth. We must manage our growth. It’s a good thing but can be extremely dangerous. We must be proactive. These are details that we need to get a handle on now and I think I’m qualified to do that.”

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