There’s a lot of talk about the race for Collin County Commissioner Precinct 1, an area covering West Plano, Frisco, West and Central McKinney, Prosper, and Celina. I want to share why I am supporting Mark Reid, who was recently appointed by County Judge Keith Self.
A vacancy occurred on the Commissioners Court late last year when Commissioner Matt Shaheen resigned to run for Texas House District 66. As some may know, I was one of the nine candidates that applied for the appointment by Judge Self. Though I believed I had a strong chance at earning the appointment, several weeks before beforehand I began to have a sense that the appointment was going to Mark Reid. In fact, three weeks to the day before the appointment, I began to pray that if I did not get the appointment, Judge Self would appoint Reid.
I know and have great respect for several of the other seven candidates that sought the appointment, including both candidates who are still in the race. It is not that I discount their background or experience, but it simply became apparent to me that Mark’s had a political trifecta: significant business experience which paralleled the work of county government, strong community and political involvement including numerous leadership positions, and a clear and abiding conservative philosophy.
I have tremendous respect for Judge Self and respect his judgment, but I took the time to research the candidates myself. I surveyed the field and made a point of getting to know each candidate better, asking them questions and researching their background and public positions. If I was not appointed, I wanted to have a solid idea of the philosophy, credentials, and temperament of the person that did get the appointment. I publicly announced my intention not to run against Self’s appointment, but the difference between tepid and enthusiastic support for his appointment depended wholly on the specific person he appointed.
I formed some great new relationships through this process, but I actually gravitated to Mark Reid in the long weeks leading up to the appointment. I knew Self would call out Mark Reid’s name at the December 2nd appointment ceremony because Mark Reid was the most qualified conservative for the job. Why might that be, you ask?
Mark is the founder, owner, and president of a local construction company for almost 30 years. It is important to understand the significance of this fact. Mark is the only one of the candidates to successfully run a multi-million dollar company, similar in many ways to the operation of our county government. His company is not a one-man shop out of his garage or a part-time hobby, but a successful company with a great reputation that has actually survived and expanded in the very tough industry of construction during both good and bad markets.
Mark is the only candidate in this race with significant experience overseeing multi-million dollar budgets over the course of almost three decades, experience which dovetails perfectly to the work of the Commissioners Court. Collin County is an enterprise with a $280 million annual budget and over 1,700 employees. I am not implying that Mark’s challengers have never handled a budget or had a successful private sector job, but nobody in this race has had the depth of experience that Mark has with large, complex budgets, faithfully meeting a payroll for 28 years, and overseeing human resource decisions the way Mark has for so many years. Mark also served on the Collin County Planning Board, appointed by Commissioner Shaheen, which is responsible for long-range planning of transportation and infrastructure projects subject to Commissioners Court review and approval.
In addition, Mark has been extremely active in both the community and in Republican politics for the past six years. The fact is, all three of these candidates have been very active in local politics to varying degrees. Susan Fletcher has a long and commendable record of activism at the local and state level. Ann Lieber has also been extremely active and visible in local and county politics for a number of years. Rather than discounting their service, I applaud it. This kind of activism makes Collin County a better place to live and work.
Here’s the cold hard truth on community and political involvement: it is essential in order to meet activists and volunteers needed for a successful campaign, and building those relationships helps a great deal in picking up endorsements, but political activism and community involvement does not qualify anybody to be a public servant or a County Commissioner. These activities are important, but they are no substitute for experience and qualifications relative to the job to which the candidate seeks. The real difference between these three candidates is the qualifications each one brings to the table. Mark has unparalleled experience that is directly relevant to the work of the Commissioners Court.
Mark is on the job right now, already doing the work of the Commissioner. Mark has already established a clear, unassailable conservative voting record. He has proven Judge Self’s claim that he appointed a highly-qualified, genuine, limited government conservative. For a Precinct 1 voter looking for a person with a core conservative philosophy with a voting record to match, the only candidate is Mark Reid.
Rather than take my word for it, or any number of other endorsements each candidate has received, go search for yourself. Study Mark Reid’s voting record here. Visit each candidate’s website or watch the candidate forums on YouTube available through their websites. Critique the candidates, based on your own criteria, and decide who is the best qualified for this particular position. You will be more confident about your choice and you will not regret your investment in the future of our county.
Derek V. Baker
Derek has senior level policy experience on Capitol Hill working for various conservative Republican members in the Senate and House over the past 25 years. He is currently the President of Collin County Conservative Republicans, and is a residential real estate agent in Collin County.