Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

Wichita County Commissioner, Precinct 4

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    Catie Robinson
    (Dem)

  • Jeff Watts
    (Rep)

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Biographical Information

What are your qualifications for this office (including occupation, education, training & experience)?

What do you feel are the top two (2) issues facing Wichita County and what do you see as appropriate action for the county to take?

In an austere funding environment, what criteria are most important in evaluating competing funding needs?

Do you see ways in which the counties, schools, and cities could collaborate more? What are those areas and what would you do to increase this collaboration?

I have a master’s degree in Government and bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice and Sociology from NMSU. Prior to moving to Wichita County, I taught political science courses at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, CA. In the last year, I have learned a lot about the job of County Commissioners, and I will be ready to get to work when I get elected. I have studied the Texas Constitution, Local Government Code, Texas Transportation Code, Road Reports, and resources from the Texas Association of Counties. I attend nearly all of the public hearings, including special budget sessions. I even went out to a county road work site to observe and learn the chip seal process for fixing potholes from the road crew.
The number one issue facing the county is the responsible use of our tax dollars. As Commissioner, I will prioritize spending on the most vital services, such as the needs of the Sheriff’s Office, and community services like mental health and veterans services. I will never vote for a raise for myself because this is a public service job.

Another major issue is increasing voter turnout. Wichita County has a terribly low voter turnout rate. I believe that our right to vote is one of our most sacred rights as Americans. I will work to engage the community in the election process and to spread information about the importance of voting. The only way to increase turnout is to make information accessible to people and remove barriers to voting.
Number one is the safety of the community, which is why I fully support the Sheriff’s Office. As a member of the Citizens Academy Alumni Assn., I have seen firsthand some of the conditions our deputies and jailers work in, and we can do better. We must always make sure that our law enforcement has the tools they need to keep us and themselves safe.

The second most important criteria is ensuring that tax dollars are spent efficiently and responsibly. When I am elected, constituent services (like volunteer fire departments and road maintenance) will be a priority. Most importantly, I will earn my taxpayer-paid salary by being a full-time Commissioner for the people of Wichita County.
One thing that would benefit all levels of government would be collaboration on voter registration and turnout. Our community and our country will do better when more people are civically engaged, and this could be achieved if local leaders worked to inform and encourage people to get involved in the political process.

Collaboration toward increasing the tax base will also benefit the community. As Commissioner, I would approach community leaders and find ways to make Wichita County more attractive to young people and make sure our schools are desirable for families. Doing so will increase the tax base and better the community. This is an issue that the community needs to work together to fix, and I will do all I can to make this happen.
Campaign Phone (940) 613-9419
Campaign Email electjeffwatts@gmail.com
As a lifelong resident of Wichita County, I believe I possess the qualifications needed to continue serve the citizens of Wichita County. I have had the privilege of serving the citizens of Wichita County as a County Commissioner for the last four years. Additionally, as a small business owner with conservative Christian principles, I feel I share the same values as many of the people I serve. I know the importance of balancing a budget and making a payroll. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to serve on other various governmental boards and commissions over the past 25 years. My business experience, coupled with my governmental experience, make me the best candidate to continue in the role of Wichita County Commissioner, Pct. 4
The top two issues facing Wichita County are intertwined: our County’s tax rate and unfunded state mandates. Our County is creeping ever closer to the 80 cent tax cap. We can’t raise taxes just because it is the “easy” solution. We must make hard choices and cut programs that need to be cut. I am proud to say that in the recently approved 2019 budget, we lowered the tax rate. The second issue relates to unfunded state mandates. We struggle to find ways to pay for required programs sent to us from Austin without funding mechanisms. All too often, the state requires that we fund a program but doesn’t give us the funding to do so. We must continue to work with our locally elected state officials to limit unfunded state mandates.
I believe the number one responsibility of government is to protect its citizens. That means we must adequately fund the sheriff’s office, district attorney’s office, and the like to make sure that our citizens are protected. That doesn’t mean we are able to fund every request they make, but we must make sure they have adequate funding to keep those charged with crimes locked up and off the streets and that the district attorney’s office has the resources to diligently prosecute those offenders. At the end of the day, we all want to be safe in our homes, schools, and businesses and I intend to do my part to continue to ensure that happens.
We are lucky to live in a community in which the local school districts, cities, and Wichita County all work together well and are willing to sit down and discuss strategies moving forward. Some communities in Texas don’t have this relationship between their governmental bodies. There needs to be continued discussions on utilizing each tax dollar to the fullest. We need to collaborate on different programs and services as we move forward. We didn’t need two health departments – that is why we currently have a combined Wichita Falls/Wichita County Health District. We must continue to analyze which other offices can be merged to provide the citizens with the best services and the lowest tax burden.