County commissioner candidates to be at Thursday night Cove forum
By LYNETTE SOWELL
On Thursday evening, local voters will have the opportunity to hear from candidates running in the race for three places on the Coryell County Commissioners court.
The Coryell County Republican Party is hosting a forum at the Copperas Cove Public Library's meeting room, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Three spots on the Coryell County commissioners court will be decided on the March 1 primary, and this election season a total of nine candidates have stepped up to run in races for precincts 1, 3 and 4.
The lone unopposed candidate is Don Jones, incumbent for county commissioner for precinct 3. Races for precinct 1 and 4 seats have five candidates running for precinct 1 and three running for precinct 3.
Commissioner, precinct 1
Derrick is a native of Coryell County, having graduated from Gatesville High in 1983, then going on to earn his BBA in accounting from Texas A&M University 1988. Derrick is a CPA and small business owner. Derrick was Republican County Chairman 1998-2001, Precinct Chairman Republican Party Coryell County 1994-1997, Executive Committee Republican Party Coryell County 1994-2001,Board of Directors Coryell County Appraisal District 1996-2003 and has been the treasurer of the Texas Dexter Breeders Association since 2007. He is an elder at First Presbyterian Church of Gatesville.
Samuel Thorpe Jr.
Thorpe served 20 years in the United States military, with 12 years in the Army and eight years in the Marine Corps. The Covite retired at the end of June 2015. Thorpe is a county representative on the Central Texas Aging, Disability and Veterans Advisory Committee of the Central Texas Council of Government. He heads up two military peer-to-peer support groups for Bring Everyone In The Zone that meet in Copperas Cove. Thorpe is also a regular volunteer at the Copperas Cove Soup Kitchen.
Riddle is owner of R and M Fencing & Dozing in Purmela where he and his wife have lived for 26 years. In addition to working in the farming and ranching industry, Riddle is a member of the Southwest Texas Cattle Raisers Association. He is an elder at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Aleman. Riddle has more than 20 years experience in road maintenance and construction in addition to owning and operating the fencing company for 21 years.
W.B. Maples Jr.
Maples is the owner of Cove Plumbing in Copperas Cove, which has been in business since June 1982. He is past president of the Associated Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of Texas, and is also the owner of Maples Shorthorns. Maples also represents Coryell County on the Middle Trinity River Groundwater Conservation District.
Matthews is a retired Texas Department of Public Safety state trooper with more than 20 years in law enforcement. He is owner of the Elk Stop in Evant, which is the second highest employer in the smallest town of Coryell County. He is a member of Coryell Community Church, serves on the Multi-county Water Supply Board of Directors, is Livestock Superintendent of the Coryell County Youth Fair, a Chamber of Commerce business member, and is a member of the Copperas Cove Morning Exchange Club, as well as a member of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and the Coryell County Farm Bureau.
Commissioner, Precinct 4
Marla Thompson of Turnersville is a nurse, EMT and a member of the Turnersville Volunteer Fire Department. She is the current market manager for AMA TechTel. Thompson moved to Coryell County in 2013. Thompson was certified a nurse in 2001 and worked 14 years at 10 hospitals before moving to AMA Tech Tex in 2014. AMA Techtel services the rural areas of Coryell County.
Ashby works for the Gatesville Independent School District and serves as the youth pastor at Boots N Saddle Cowboy Church and is the acting president of the Gatesville Area Student Ministries. He is also a member of the Gatesville Riding and Lions Clubs. He has been a resident of Coryell County for a combined 40 years, is married to his wife, Lani. The couple has five children and five grandchildren.
Wyllis Ament (incumbent)
Ament is a former councilman for the city of Gatesville, having served as mayor from 1991-1995, and spent 25 years as a volunteer fireman for the county. Ament worked for Walker Partners as a resident project representative and most recently supervised construction of The Narrows in Copperas Cove. Ament was employed as a civil engineer on Fort Hood for more than three decades, working on infrastructure and construction projects until his retirement from that position in 1991. He studied Civil Engineering at Texas Tech University and spent more than 50 years working in construction and infrastructure management.
On Thursday, Feb. 18, candidates for Texas House of Representatives for District 59, Dr. J.D. Sheffield and Brent Graves, will be at Gatesville High School for a forum, starting at 6:30 p.m. The county forums will wrap up on Thursday, Feb. 25 at the Copperas Cove Public Library, when sheriff and constable candidates will have a forum beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Any of the primary election races which do not have a majority vote in the primary will necessitate a runoff election which will take place on May 24, 2016. The odds are high that the precinct 1 and precinct 4 races will need a runoff after the March 1 primary. Early voting takes place Feb. 16-26, 2016.
As all county races will be unopposed from any candidates from the Democratic party, the primary and any subsequent runoff election will decide who will occupy those seats in January 2017.