Candidates for County Judge respond to questions

Published by The Community News

Submitted by Lori Cope on Fri, 02/12/2010 – 13:40

Two people are seeking the County Judge for Parker County position: Cary McKay and Mark Riley. Both are on the Republican ticket.

[Photo of McKay not available] McKay is a small business owner. Previous jobs that will assist in the position of county judge include being a business owner and real estate professional, and a business intern for Chick-Fil-A corporate.

Riley is the incumbent in the race. He has served as Parker County Judge for 11 years and Precinct 4 Commissioner from 1987-1994 and did not seek re-election. He was President of Weatherford Chamber of Commerce when elected County Judge in 1998. “I have extensive Judicial training and preside over Probate Court including guardianships and mental competency hearings. My background before holding elected office was in media,” he said.

Following are the questions posted to the two candidates and their responses:

Why do you want to be Parker county Judge?
McKay: Because I care about the people of Parker County. Politics as usual is causing increased spending of taxpayer money. I will stop the spending that isn’t needed. Politics as usual is leading to an infringement on our private property rights. My goal is to return to the people of Parker County their private property rights. Politics as usual is responsible for no water use planning. As Parker County Judge I will work to expand our water sources and protect our water for Parker County citizens. We need a leader who will continuously plan transportation; we cannot wait 17 years or more between projects.
Riley: I am the only candidate with the experience and record of accomplishments to continue the progress we have made in the areas of transportation, emergency services, emergency management and developing partnerships with local entities as well as within the region and the state. These partnerships are especially important to fully implement our transportation plan. I represent Parker County on the Regional Transportation Council and we have been awarded $13 million to supplement voter approved transportation bonds. Our partnership with the City of Aledo and Aledo ISD is making it possible to soon start construction on projects that will greatly improve mobility. I have been a strong advocate for quality of life issues and have appeared before legislative committees and state agencies testifying on behalf of our citizens. From the very beginning, I have stood beside the community opposing the permit to allow a waste transfer station off Bankhead Highway and will continue to support those efforts.
What qualifications do you have that would make you a good county judge?
McKay: I am a lifelong conservative and active Parker County Republican, successful business owner and family man. My community involvement includes coaching son’s football team and serving on the board of the Peaster Baseball Association. I am a member of the East Parker County and Springtown Chambers of Commerce. Because of my background as a business owner, I understand working within a budget and meeting a payroll. I will be very careful with the taxpayer’s money.
Riley: My qualifications consist of experience, proven record of accomplishments, judicial education, extensive training in emergency management issues and success in building partnerships. The duties of County Judge are more than presiding over Commissioners Court and the administrative duties most people know about. As Presiding Judge of Probate Court, I have heard thousands of Probates, Guardianships and Mental Competency Hearings. Additionally I serve as a Magistrate to set bond at the jail. The County Judge is Director of Emergency Management, and has the same powers in the county as does the Governor in the state in times of disaster. Stable leadership is a necessity when we need to implement our state approved emergency management plan. Our emergency management team has been recognized at the regional and state level for leadership and accomplishments.
If elected, what would be the first two things you would seek to accomplish and why?
McKay: First, protect private property rights and ensure that Parker County citizens are not arbitrarily restricted from use of their water wells and firearms on their private property. Second, develop a comprehensive water use plan that expands our water sources while protecting our current water for Parker County citizens.
Riley: The most important issue in January 2011 will be to continue implementation of the transportation plan previously approved by voters. I have the experience in working with TXDOT, the Federal Highway Administration and regional transportation officials to keep our projects moving. The plan is ahead of schedule and below budget. It will take someone with proven experience to stay on track and continue the progress we have made with other agencies. As we move into the second year of implementation, we will begin planning for the next phase which will improve mobility even more in Eastern Parker County.
The second issue I will continue working on is to support Representative Phil King’s efforts to reduce the burden on property tax owners. My experience will be of value in this discussion as I have extensive knowledge of the operation of county government. The budget I presented for consideration by Commissioners this year, lowered the tax rate by using available reserves, thus saving the taxpayers hard earned money. I reduced spending requests by $500,000.00 It is important we work with the state on finding ways to continue reducing your costs as we at the local level keep spending in check.
In a few sentences, what would you like to tell the Parker County Precinct 4 voters?
McKay: I will be a citizen County Judge, not a career politician. I don’t believe in politics as usual. A good leader is a good listener. Your voice will matter, and your taxpayer dollars will be respected.
Riley: When January 2011 begins, the Commissioners Court will have two new Commissioners, one in Precinct #4 and Precinct #2. The Commissioner in Precinct #3 will have six years experience and the Commissioner in Precinct #1 will have two years on the court. In my eleven years as County Judge, I have worked with ten different Commissioners. I believe it is important to offset the lack of experience and knowledge of Commissioners with stability in the position of County Judge. If we are to continue with our plans and make the most efficient use of your tax dollars, it is important to have proven leadership with the experience to reach our goals. The owner of a $47 million business would not hire the least experienced person as CEO. The owner would hire the most experienced. I offer that experience and knowledge.
End of Community News Article
One candidate for County Judge has a verifiable record of accomplishments.
All we know about the other candidate’s qualifications are the claims he makes about himself.

If both men were applying for a job with your company, who would you hire – the man who thinks he can do the job but has absolutely no experience in the position, or the man who has a distinguished record of success in the position for which he is competing?

8 responses

  1. I pick Riley. He’s done a good job. Isn’t ‘owned’ by anyone.

  2. This Press Release from the County Judge’s Office is a farce.


    February 19, 2008; parker cmsuser

    Parker County Judge Mark Riley is reminding all candidates and their supporters that political signs are not allowed on county property.

    At the start of early voting on Tuesday, February 19, campaign signs littered the lawn of the Parker County Courthouse Annex, where early voting takes place.

    “The signs that were displayed on the 19 th, were picked up by Building and Grounds and anyone who wants to retrieve those signs can contact Building and Grounds at 817-594-7051,” Riley said.

    It appeared signs were in state right-of-way, and Santa Fe Drive is state maintained.

    According to the Texas Department of Transportation the following applies to campaign signage:

    * · It is illegal to place any signs on or within the right of way. This includes posting signs on trees, telephone poles, traffic signs and other objects on the right of way.
    * · Campaign signs along Texas roads can be placed on private property with the owner’s permission.
    * · Signs must be made of lightweight material and be no larger than 50 square feet.
    * · Campaign signs may be posted as early as 90 days before an election (no earlier) and must be removed within 10 days after the election.
    * · Before placing a sign inside of incorporated city limits, check with the city for applicable ordinances.

    County policy also states that the candidates or supporters of candidates are prohibited to park their vehicles at the Courthouse Annex parking lot strictly for the purpose of promoting a political campaign.

    “Folks who park their cars with campaign signage all over them are taking up valuable parking spaces, not only for our regular customers at the annex, but also for the voters,” Riley said.

    I’d like to know what section of the election code he cites that he thinks gives him the right to prevent electioneering? This is flat out wrong, illegal as far as I can tell and obviously serves to protect incumbents. I will not let this slide. Your supposed to be able to call the Sheriff when your signs are pulled up, but what if the Sheriff’s Department is the one doing the pulling??

  3. Kerri,
    While I respect your opinion I do disagree. The Press Release you cite from 2008 does not prevent electioneering. It just says you can’t put campaign signs on county government property.

    Do you really want taxpayer land to become an open forum for anybody who wants to put up a sign adocating their personal issue, election or otherwise?

    I believe it was Judge Riley who got the athiest signs off the courthouse lawn. The press release doesn’t say you cant stand outside of the 100 feet and hold a sign, it just says no placing them in the ground on county property and to be respectful of the parking spaces. Signs cant be in the right of way and they can’t be on county property. The first is state law, the second is just a rule by our local government.

    From the looks of things around Weatherford and the rest of the county, there are plenty of places to put campaign signs. I don’t think it would be right for signage to be placed on the land where people are going to vote. I don’t understand why this has you so angry. I am sure if people had asked first before they started placing signs onto the grounds of the Parker County Annex, they would have been told thay they could not do that. I don’t see how that would be illegal to not allow signs on county government property. It seems like the right thing to do to me.
    Just sayin.

    1. Well actually this is what happened….

      I called the annex first thing Tuesday morning and was first told I could put up a sign, then she called me right back and said actually I couldn’t due to a ruling by the County Judge, Mark Riley, two years ago.

      I took a copy of a press release from the Tarrant County Elections Administrator into Robert Parten’s office. He is the Parker County Election Administrator. It stated that:

      “A county must permit electioneering, including campaign signs, at all early voting polling places. This electioneering may not take place within 100 feet of an outside door through which a voter may enter a building in which the early voting polling place is located [Election Code 85.036 (a)].”

      I could tell Robert Parten had already been made aware of this. He right away told me to go ahead and put up a sign. I placed the sign specifically where he told me to place it. It was not in a right of way.

      The next day, I received a call from a candidate who was down there telling me that the Sheriff’s Department pulled my sign along with some others up. When I went to retrieve my sign, I told the security guards that it was wrong for them to pull the signs up. They said they were just following orders and I would have to speak directly to the Sheriff or the Judge. By this time it was 5 pm and I had to get home.

      So why do you think it’s okay for the Judge and Sheriff to break State Texas Election Code?

      You might not mind giving up your right to put campaign signs at early voting places during early voting days, but I do. I can’t be down there all day holding a sign. I’m trying to run the new Medina Campaign HQ we opened at 220 Fort Worth Highway and it’s just impractical.

      1. Stand your ground Rehmeyer.

        Policies and laws can be, and should be changed if they are intrusive and serves no useful purpose. As long as it does not interfere with daily operations, doesn’t impact the safety of others, or deny the rights of others, there is no justifiable reason for regulation. Stay out of the lives of the citizens who own the Parker County Annex and pay the salaries of the “policy makers”!

  4. The article above, reprinted from the Community News, actually a High School Sports newspaper covering Aledo jocks and little else, is without a doubt the MOST biased, one sided piece if horse manure I have ever seen. Equal time should also apply to printed material to be just a little fair. Didn’t see that in this article. No doubt about who this rag endorses.

  5. When we first moved to Parker County I thought the community news was the high school newspaper.

    As far as campaign signs, someone needs to tell Mark Riley to get some of his signs off the country right of way. Or has his many years of “experience” just led to a good ole boy system where the rules don’t apply to him?

    One thing the article didn’t mention was Riley’s claim that there are a lot of reckless shooters in Parker County. A claim that the sheriff dept will not back up since they don’t have a lot of reports of reckless shooting in Parker County. Maybe Riley should do the research on issues that John Roth does on issues and learn the facts.

  6. Riley’s claim to be so knowledgeable about Transportation issues is a crock, he sits on the NCTCOG transportation group and is their lackey in Parker County to push Agenda 21 policies…that’s why he pushes Light Rail in Parker County. He allowed the engineering firm that built the loop to tell him where it needed to be built…instead of building it on the I-20 side of town first where the traffic is…they built from 51 to the Mineral Wells Highway…hey guys…the traffic is on I-20 and that side of town. The budget for the County is always done by him…then he gets the Commissioners to sign off on it…public meetings mean nothing to him because he has already made the decision. This comes down to public service, who would be the best public servant and be a steward of the County’s assets and for the taxpayers money. At the end of his current term, Riley will have been in County Government for 24 years…that sounds like a career to me. Riley is in this for the power and the notoriety not for public service. How come every single politician that runs brings up Phil King, makes it sound like he is endorsing that candidate and I don’t believe I’ve heard Phil endorse anyone in this race yet. Riley only brings up working with Phil King to reduce property taxes because it’s an election year…every other year he proposes we raise property taxes…so what exactly is he doing with Phil to reduce taxes? Perhaps he could enlighten us…because I’ve noticed he raises taxes every time he can get away with it. Riley’s time is over, career politicians are what has ruined this Country. It’s time for a change and a positive change for our County will be Cary McKay.

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