GATESVILLE — When to build a new county jail is the major point of disagreement between the two men running for the Precinct 2 seat on the Coryell County Commissioners Court.
Incumbent Daren Moore, 44, of Gatesville has held the seat for the past seven years. He is challenged in the March 4 Republican primary by Ed Thompson, 73, a retired teacher and coach from Copperas Cove.
There is no Democrat seeking the seat.
Moore, a native of Coryell County, is a funeral director at Scott’s Funeral Home in Gatesville and is co-owner and operator of Scott’s Funeral Home in Copperas Cove.
Moore was a Gatesville councilman from 1998 to 2002 and was Gatesville mayor from 2002 to 2005.
Growth is the biggest challenge facing the county, he said.
“In 16 years of public service, I have a strong conservative record of voting to keep county taxes low while balancing the need for economic growth and prosperity,” Moore said.
He recognizes the need for a new and bigger jail to ease overcrowding, but voted to delay construction until 2017.
“Building a jail without proper planning and capital reserves will result in an immediate tax increase of 31 percent,” he said. “Even in a bustling economy, I would resist placing such an enormous burden on taxpayers.”
Thompson, who recently stepped down after six years as chairman of the Coryell County Republican Party, said he would bring a new perspective to the commissioners’ court.
“I offer the voters an opportunity for fresh insight into the county’s business,” he said. “New ideas come from new people. I’m willing to provide that new direction.”
Thompson has been regular attendee at the commissioners’ court meetings in recent years and is an outspoken proponent of building a new jail.
“Overcrowding in the jail has been discussed since 2006 and in spite of all the citizen committees, the commissioners continue to kick the matter down the road,” he said. “The voters gave a go-ahead vote in 2011, and I believe it is time to honor the mandate of the voters.”
Thompson grew up on a farm in West Texas and moved to Coryell County in 1996.