Candidate Mathis holds meet and greet with voters
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Alan Mathis, one of six candidates running for the spot of Coryell County judge in the March 6 primary, held a meet and greet with voters on Friday evening at Lil Tex.
Mathis said a few words to welcome them to what he called his “job interview” for county judge.
Mathis, who lives just west of Pidcoke, served 23 years in the Army and retired as a promotable Major. After retiring in 1993, he worked as a contractor for Computer Sciences Corporation for 22 years as he supported the Army’s tactical systems for the forward support branch. Mathis has a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in computer science.
He retired from contractor work in 2015 and since then has volunteered with Coryell County Emergency Management and became certified to operate a level one emergency operations center.
Mathis said he and his wife never envisioned during their journey together that he would run for public office.
“We need leaders that have demonstrated over time repeatedly that they are willing to grasp a vision, set a strategic goal and plan, and then execute it,” Mathis said.
He told those present that he found out very quickly when beginning to speak to voters last spring that many didn’t know what the job of a county judge entails.
“I ask you to look at anybody for this office, because county government is a business and it should be run like a business – a first class business. We don’t deserve anything less. You are the investors. It’s your government, it’s your money,” Mathis said.
He talked briefly about his management experience while working for CSC, being recognized as being in the top 1% of all its managers, among 70 out of 3,500 mangers.
Mathis said he has attended nearly all of the commissioners’ court meetings since 2016 and he has also visited other counties to see how they operate commissioners court. Mathis said if elected, he’d like to bring a different style to the court, by adding workgroups which allow for more deliberation before coming to a vote. He pointed to the county’s past work in developing a bond for the future county jail, putting it to a vote and getting it passed by voters, but then realizing after the fact the commissioners decided they “couldn’t afford it.”
“We have some good folks in the county, don’t’ get me wrong,” Mathis said. “But we need to have a vision. Tell me, what is the vision statement on the county website? You can’t find it because it’s not there…Let’s develop a vision. Let’s develop a strategic plan to get there, five, 10, 20 years down the road and goals to get where we want to go.
Another issue is for the county to get out of the “Century 21 business,” as Mathis called it, stating that when he first began attending commissioners’ court, the county had 18 buildings with a total of $1 million in deferred maintenance, and zero dollars in this year’s budget for that, with most of the county buildings at least 50 years old.
He also called his fellow candidates “good folks.”
“That’s the beauty and challenge you all have, because they’re good folks. But are they really qualified, are they ready?” Mathis asked.
He cited as an example the current district court clerk and fellow candidate for county judge, Janice Gray Sheffield, and a mention of her office during the CPA’s report about the annual audit presented to the court on April 24, 2017.
“The only negative remark was made regarding the office of District Clerk, that they needed written procedures. ‘Ms. Gray used random memos and sticky notes,’ and that was her words, if you want to take a look at my notes,” Mathis said. “Is this what we want for county judge, for a person who’s been in office for a while?’”
He also gave the voters “homework,” to look at the signage for fellow candidates’ signs.
“If you are not the county judge, you have to have ‘for’ in there. It has to be a minimum one-half of the size of the position. The position is county judge. Go over to 116 across from Dairy Queen, take a look at the signs and see who’s really paying attention to the rules. If this is our best, how are they going to do with a regular day of work?”
He said voters deserve to know who they are voting for and not just in a “six-week sprint between now and March 6.” He encouraged them to visit his Facebook page, where all 22 of his newsletters have been posted.
“That’s how you can learn who I am, because it’s about trust.”
Other candidates for county judge include Roger Miller, Wayne Avery, Bob Harrell, Janice Gray, and John Derrick. The Coryell County Republican Party is holding a forum for all county judge candidate on Friday, February 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the former Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation Building, now called the County Justice Center, located at 210 S. 1st St. in Copperas Cove.