GOP candidates for Nacogdoches Co. judge weigh in on why they are running

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The next Nacogdoches County Judge will either be a manager for an international poultry corporation, an owner of restaurants, or an automobile dealership owner. They're all Republicans with no Democratic opponent.

Max McCormack, one of three Republican candidates for Nacogdoches County Judge, was reviewing some campaign advertising Wednesday.  The business manager is re-introducing himself to voters after losing to the incumbent four years ago. The Tyson manager said he's accountable for a workforce of more than 100 people and a multi-million dollar budget. McCormack said believes the experience has prepared him to be accountable to Nacogdoches County residents.

"The reason I'm running? I'm running without an agenda, a hidden agenda, a bone to pick, an axe to grind, or any promises going to be left unfulfilled," McCormack said. "I'm running because I still believe in the virtue of public service. And I believe I can do this by the same way I try to live my life. That's through honesty, integrity, and commitment."

McCormack said that is a service he wants to offer while keeping in the black.

"We're in our fourth year of budget deficit spending, looking at going into a fifth year." McCormack said. "We need to be proactive on this because of the shortfalls in oil and gas revenues, so the best way to combat that is through job growth and expense controls."

Donna Finley, another GOP candidate for the county judge position, said accounting is her expertise as she oversees the ownership of several restaurants. Upon the encouragement of others, the business woman said she's ready to place county government as her top priority.

"I had some friends talk to me last February, and they said that maybe you should think about running for county judge," Finley said.

Finley researched the responsibility. In September, she began attending most every court meeting. Finley plans to use the same methodical approach if elected as county judge.

"I want to sit down with the county commissioners and the county auditor, and I want to analyze our budgets to start with," Finley said. "That's my number one goal. And then from there, work with all of the different departments, see where we can improve, and where we might can cut some things that are no longer required. But I think it's going to be a process that you don't rush in and change anything. That you take your time to see what's best for Nacogdoches County."

Probably the most well known of the candidates is Mike Perry, whose name appears on thousands of vehicles. Perry waited until just up to the deadline to file his candidacy. It came shortly after presenting a question at a public hearing on the county budget.

"The question I asked was, 'I think y'all took a million out of savings last year to balance the budget,'" Perry said. "You're taking another million out this year to balance the budget, which means they've spent a million that's not in the budget those years, so I guess when they said that we're not answering any questions, I didn't think it was a very good public hearing. That's when I decided."

Perry said his years of experience as a city commissioner sets him apart from the other candidates. His goal if elected is to give everyone a fair shake.

"I want an open court," Perry said. "And I want to keep all four of the county commissioners advised as to what's going on, what's happening."

The voters are deciding now as early voting is underway. A landslide or a runoff will arrive on March 4.

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