Social media has woven its way into the political fabric as evidenced by the election this past year.
President elect Donald Trump is still using Twitter to get his message across but a bit more locally, Parker County Judge Mark Riley took to Facebook on Wednesday, to announce his future plans.
“After careful consideration and meeting with leaders of the community, I have decide to seek re-election as county judge,” he posted. “It is an extreme privilege to serve the community. I will provide more details in the coming days.”
The 66-year-old, in his fifth term as county judge, said it wasn’t an easy decision. He said following the passage of the transportation bond people began coming to him, asking that he consider running for another term.
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“People started coming to me, business leaders and other folks telling me, ‘they really wanted me to see this thing through,’” Riley said of the bond. “At first I was flattered, but it seemed like everywhere I went people were expressing to me their concerns.”
Following the recent swearing in ceremony on Jan. 3, Riley said he began thinking about it even more.
“I thought there is a need to have someone that can keep the partnerships between Parker County and the Texas Department of Transportation - along with the Regional Transportation Council - together,” Riley said. “There is a sharp learning curve and there really wasn’t anyone in the race that could do that. Granted I had to learn it, but that was nearly 10 years ago.”
Riley said taking that experience, and the ability to partner with the region for an additional $75 million on top of the original $80 million bond, made it clear what he needed to do.
“On Wednesday I told a couple of people that I knew that were intending on entering the race what my intentions were as a courtesy,” Riley added. “I told them people were concerned about the implementation of the transportation bond and knowing there would be a learning curve for anybody, that I would seek re-election.
One of those Riley called, who was considering running for county judge, was Kit Marshall - Mayor of Aledo.
“My plan was to bring my 11 years of expertise in working for Parker County, coupled with almost 11 years as Mayor of Aledo, to build on the successes of Parker County,” Marshall said. “Judge Riley’s announcement assures that continuity for the next term.”
Pat Deen, Mayor of Hudson Oaks, made his intentions known about 15 minutes prior to Riley’s Facebook post in a news release that read:
Parker County’s growing population is impacting each and every one of us - how we live, raise our families, and how we work. Today we have roughly 140,000 residents, and in the next 20 years we expect over 350,000 residents – that’s 250 percent growth!
But more change is before us. In 2018 Parker County voters will pick new people to lead our communities into this growth, and it’s vital we get it right.
For the past 19 years, I have served the residents and businesses of Hudson Oaks as Planning & Zoning Chairman, Mayor Pro Tem, and for the last 11 years as Mayor. I’m very proud of our many accomplishments in Hudson Oaks, which is one of the few full service cities in the State of Texas with no city property tax. With conservative spending and prudent planning, we’ve been able to deliver more services to tax payers for less money; but there’s still much to do.
Judge Mark Riley who leads our Parker County Commissioners Court has publicly announced he will not seek re-election in 2018. After listening to friends and advisors, and much prayer, I am ready to offer my executive experience and success as mayor of Hudson Oaks with our neighbors across the county. Therefore, I am formally announcing my candidacy for Parker County Judge in the 2018 Republican primary election.
I am humbled by all the encouragement I have received to run and look forward to the challenge of steering the growth we’re all experiencing in a positive direction.
You may be asking yourself why I’m announcing so early. Well, it’s because I want Parker County to succeed, and to make sure I get the opportunity to listen to you all, I’m starting now. We need to get this right for our selves, our families, and our jobs.
The fiscally conservative approach to government I use as mayor will serve us well in the courthouse. I will continue the vision of growth with an emphasis on public safety, transportation, and economic development.
Hard work alone won’t get the job done. We have to work together. I have a record of positive leadership, and I will work cohesively with our commissioners court and area cities in maintaining a conservative and responsible approach to government.
As mayor of one of the safest cities in the State of Texas, I have consistently supported, funded, and equipped the Hudson Oaks Police Department. The department has grown from a small contingent of reserve officers into a highly trained and professional law enforcement agency. This experience will allow me to work closely with Sheriff Larry Fowler and the outstanding men and women in the Parker County Sheriff’s Department in the role of County Judge.
With new businesses either here or on the horizon such as HEB, Starbucks, John Deere, Chick-fil-A, Palios, NextLink, AT&T, and First National Bank, I will focus on supporting small businesses and attracting major employers to generate quality high wage jobs for Parker County families.
But there’s more to this position than public policy, because County Judge also oversees Probate Court that includes wills, guardianships, and mental competency hearings. This court also sets bond on defendants at the jail.
The County Judge is required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of specialized legal training the first year in office and a minimum of 16 hours each year after that. I have the right temperament, objectivity, and commitment to oversee and hear probate, guardianship, and custodial cases that fall under the responsibilities of the County Judge.
Because I believe in doing everything right, we’re building a strong team dedicated to making Parker County successful.
Serving as Co-Chairmen of the campaign are Jimmy Day, Traci Fambrough, Sherry O. Watters, and Jacob Holt. Leading the strategy and tactics of the team are Lisa Marie Graves and John Pritchett. Lisa is the campaign’s treasurer, a U.S. Air Force veteran, and a business and leadership coach in Weatherford. John is a Fort Worth-based political consultant who has worked for dozens of winning conservative candidates from the White House to courthouses across Texas.
The future of Parker County is bright, but it’s up to us to get it right. With your help we will get there. I look forward to meeting voters, listening to what is important to you, and earning your support.
Pat Deen, Conservative Republican for Parker County Judge
Residents of Parker County will have plenty of time to decide who to vote for. The election will take place during the March primary of 2018.