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Review: Key Local Races

State Representative, District 6:

We agree with Sen. Cruz – Texas needs Matt Schaefer in Austin. As a strong fiscal and social conservative, Matt is part of a growing coalition of constitutional conservative legislators poised to break the stronghold of the Austin political class. Matt understands LIMITED government and will fight for it. He’s not a lump of clay that special moneyed interests can shape and mold to execute their agenda of political expediency. Matt is greatly respected by a majority of his peers and conservative movement leaders for his intellect, his ability to evaluate legislation, and for his integrity both on and off the House floor. We never have to worry about Matt living a double-life while he’s in Austin.

Skip Ogle has run a campaign chocked full of vicious untruths and slick rhetorical spin. If we didn’t know Matt Schaefer better, we’d think he was a wild-eyed liberal who’s been in Austin for decades as a “career politician” and likes to eat children for breakfast. Ogle’s campaign reminds us of Dewhurst’s dirty campaign against Cruz. On the big issues facing Texas, Ogle has offered NOTHING of substance.   

Finally, we strongly reject Ogle’s juvenile attempt at humor when he joked about his arrest when he was 28 years old. Fact #1) The actual police report shows Ogle was driving under the influence of alcohol. Driving while not sober = drunk driving. Fact #2) The police report states Ogle evaded arrest. Evading arrest at high rates of speed = disregard for the law and the safety of others. Fact #3) Ogle’s quote to the Tyler Paper“It’s always been a funny story to tell because I had a sports car and two bicycle officers caught up to me,” Ogle said. Ogle said he was late for a dinner date. The newspaper article did not mention Ogle was “not sober” at the time of his arrest and did not disclose the time of the arrest, which was 1 AM. That’s a pretty late dinner date. The problem here is Ogle’s joking about such a serious matter. It shows a lack of wisdom and good judgment. To those of us who have lost loved ones due to drunk driving – this is not a “funny story.” We miss hearing our loved ones laugh all because a drunk driver stole their very lives from us.

County Judge:

We strongly endorse John Furlow because he understands true public service. As a 31-year veteran of the US Army with a record of distinguished service, Furlow earned the rank of Major General. He has had the responsibility for over 20,000 employees and had to account for budgets that totaled more than $750 million.

Furlow freely handed over documents to explain his legal battle with the State of Texas. We examined all of the documents (which are posted on his website) and found Furlow’s position clearly and fully backed up with both state and federal supporting evidence. The State of Texas has some explaining to do if John can ever get them to move forward with a jury trial. This case dates back to 2005.

John Furlow has a servant’s heart for our veterans. A strong leader in local veteran support programs, he was appointed by Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass as co-chairman of the Veterans Round Table, which focuses on veteran employment, education, housing, mental health, and access to medical care. 

He has practical business experience. He is a certified public accountant and a certified fraud examiner. Experienced in business management and strategic planning, he will be a highly effective, efficient budget officer and chairman of the Commissioners Court.  

He will be a good steward of our tax dollars. He will roll back the $12,400 raise the current office holder – Joel Baker – gave himself while he laid off employees and slashed the road and bridge budget. Baker lost our support when we learned after the fact that he had quietly taken this second raise while we were working hard to pass the jail bond and to support the commissioners court when they were having to make tough budget decisions. 

John Furlow will hold himself to a very high standard. We believe he will respect and value the employees and that he will be open, honest, and accessible. We don’t believe he will ever allow cronyism and favoritism to shape and direct county business. 

We believe John Furlow will work with Sheriff Larry Smith on a plan to attract and keep the very best law enforcement officers and to ensure these officers have the equipment they need to do the job. We also believe Furlow will get the county’s road and bridge situation headed in the right direction. It is just ridiculous that our county roads have not been inspected in more than 6 years, yet Judge Baker would spend time, energy and resources to plan a multi-modal downtown transportation facility the county doesn’t need and actually work toward a plan that would divert future property tax revenue from county needs and toward six miles of a toll road. 

Acknowledgment of the Baker police report being circulated: The Board of Directors is well aware of the Baker police report. We have been for quite some time. After reviewing the report with law enforcement veterans, we are very aware the report has significant holes in it and are painfully aware that allowances were afforded Judge Baker that would never be allowed for a “regular, ordinary” citizen. We are also well aware that not one whisper about this incident was ever reported. We are deeply concerned by these facts. It appears an extreme double standard exists in our county. We are committed to eradicating that double standard.

321st District Judge:

After viewing county documents, we were greatly disturbed by the lack of documentation – the most basic record-keeping necessary to adequately defend and justify the $645,000 budget overruns by this court. We are stunned the county auditor did not insist upon corrective measures to improve documentation years ago when the overruns first started. Far too many pieces to the puzzle are missing here; therefore, we endorsed attorney John Jarvis who is also a certified public accountant.