Old arguments were rehashed and fingers pointed as candidates for Ector County commissioner offices discussed their platforms during the Ector County Republican Women’s meeting Wednesday afternoon.
County commissioner candidates for Precinct 4, Russell Wright and Arlo Chavira, rehashed some old debates, including Wright’s arrest history.
Chavira said he could have spent the whole five minutes allotted to each candidate bashing his opponent on his criminal history or how he made threats to both Chavira and the Republican Party chair.
“The State of Texas has him in a criminal database and still he denies he did anything wrong. You can choose to believe him or the State of Texas,” Chavira said.
After the forum Wright said he was arrested 28 years ago but has never been convicted of anything.
“He said the State of Texas calls me a criminal — they do not. The State of Texas does not call me a criminal. If that was the case, I wouldn’t be able to run (for office), bottom line,” Wright said.
Chavira also called his opponent a “snowflake,” adding that Wright is acting more like a Democrat than a Republican. In order to make history and get a Republican elected to the office for the first time since the Eisenhower administration, Chavira said the Republican Party needs to elect a strong Republican candidate.
“We still have to beat the Democratic Party this upcoming November. Republicans must decide which one of us will be able to take on the Democratic machine,” Chavira said. “I am running for the job and most importantly I have a plan to take them out. They won’t have a clue what hit them or how their party will collapse in south Odessa.”
Precinct 2 incumbent Greg Simmons talked about his track record of success and talked budget details.
“There’s been a lot of focus lately on my personal paycheck,” he said, rehashing opponent Brandon Tate’s argument that Simmons takes home money being a commissioner on top of his job as President of Security Bank.
“Instead of calculating my take home pay, which by the way is $3,100 per month, all of which has been donated to charity since the last time I was elected to office, let’s calculate this: $1,500 per employee and health insurance savings times 1,500 employees equals a true savings to the taxpayers of $1.14 million. That’s not a bad investment on your return for my salary,” Simmons said.
Simmons said since he began his new term as commissioner in 2015 he made the decision to donate his county salary to various groups around town, many of which are local charities.
“It’s not necessarily per paycheck, but towards the end of the year I’ll give a bigger donation to like the church or things like that. But yeah, the total paycheck throughout the year winds up being donated,” he said.
Simmons said some of the places he’s donated includes his church, First Baptist Church, First Priority, Permian Basin Mission Center and United Way in Odessa. Overall he estimated donating to 25 to 30 charities.
Tate rehashed priorities about county infrastructure and trimming the budget, and also brought up the failed County Assistance District proposal that, if approved, would have implemented a sales tax outside the city limits of Odessa and Goldsmith that is not currently in place.
“If you’re gonna vote to put it on a ballot twice within a year, please get out and educate the public,” Tate said of the commissioners court’s recent decision to put the proposal back on the ballot in May.
“Maybe if we presented this correctly the first go-around, we could’ve avoided county property tax increases this year,” he added.
But the commissioners court previously discussed the issue during regular meetings and agreed to increase the property tax due to not knowing what the outcome of the election would be since it would take place after approving their budget for Fiscal Year 2018. Had the property tax rate not been increased, the county would have had to draw more out of the reserve fund.
While Tate said he is not a politician and he does not “mudsling,” directly after that statement, he called the decision of the GOP to endorse candidates before the March 6 primary “unbiblical.”
“When one small group, the head of our party chair, whose husband happens to be on my opponent’s fundraising committee, endorses candidates prior to the primary election, questions need to be asked,” Tate said.
He later went on to say the party should not endorse candidates prior to a primary because it will scare off potential candidates in the future.
Joint Primary Election March 6, 2018
- First day of early voting: Feb. 20.
- Last day of early voting: March 2.
- Election Day: March 6.