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County’s precinct 4 candidates face off

September 10, 2018

Ector County Precinct 4 Commissioner candidates have remained cordial as they go head to head with similar views on how to move the precinct forward with different approaches.

Republican candidate Russell Wright will challenge incumbent Democrat Armando Rodriguez for his seat this November. Wright said voters should choose him despite his lack of governmental experience. Wright is an Audio Video System design and electronics integrator that says he believes he can do a better job, bring a fresh perspective and be more in touch with the people of his precinct.

“I’m running on the republican ticket, but I’m still running for the people,” Wright said. I don’t care if they’re a democrat or republican. I’m going to work for them.”

Wright identified illegal dumping and law enforcement as issues that need to be addressed in his precinct.

“I know we’re strapped for people in the sheriff’s office,” Wright said. “I think that most people aren’t aware as to why when they call it takes them so long to come out. They just know that it does.”

He said that the lack of deputies creates longer wait times for residents and that he would push to have a sheriff assigned to the area if chosen as commissioner for the precinct.

Rodriguez was first elected to the Commissioners’ Court in 2006, but said he has been pushing for progress even before he became a commissioner.

“I have fought against the injustice of economic development in Precinct 4 my whole life,” Rodriguez said. “I want to see better things for the area.”

Rodriguez was born and raised in the district and said that he has always wanted to see more development in the area.

“If a business needs guidance or more encouragement, I will get involved and help them out,” Rodriguez said. “Everything I have tried to do is for the betterment of our community in general.”

In January, Rodriguez was the sole dissenter for project requests that would involve pavement widening and improvements in precinct 2. He previously said he felt the money could be used for other precincts in general, as precinct 1 has even more unpaved roads than his own precinct does, and felt that they could have come up with a way to use the money for each precinct’s own projects had there been discussion beforehand.

Both candidates agree that road infrastructure is a top priority and that the proposed county sales tax, estimated to raise $15 million for the county if approved, could potentially provide aid to attend to the community’s needs.

Rodriguez said that his precinct has shown support for the proposed sales tax, but Wright said that might not be enough to get it to pass.

“If they don’t do anything different, then they’ll have the same results,” Wright said. “If they go and throw it out to the voters and the voters just see it as another tax, and if (commissioners) don’t educate them or show them what benefits there would be to them, even though it’s a few cents on a gallon of milk, they’re going to vote no on it.”

Rodriguez acknowledged that constituents want the sales tax to fund law enforcement and road infrastructure if approved by voters, but said he would not promise to set funds specifically aside for one thing over another. He said the possibility of the sales tax funds being used to build a new courthouse outside of city limits was still on the table because “residents who don’t use the courthouse don’t understand how bad of a shape the current courthouse is in.”

“If that proposal passes … as far as the money that would be brought in, I don’t think that the Commissioners’ Court ought to deceive the people of what the money is going for,” Wright said. “If they’re going to allocate that for something, try to keep it used for what they say.”

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