Politics: KENDALL COUNTY JUDGE CANDIDATES Q & A

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When your county is exploding in size, the County Judge is a pretty important position. After many years of leadership, Judge Lux is stepping down and 3 candidates have emerged to campaign for the gig.

As this is such an important role in our community, we reached out to each so that they can let you learn more about them and their political ideology. As we have all seen in recent years, voting in elections, both local and national, is paramount to the preservation of our voices…so we hope that you will exercise your voice at the voting booth in March.

Be on the lookout next issue for a similar Q/A with our Kendall County Commissioner Court candidates!


 

Important Voting Dates:
Monday, January 31, 2022 – Last day to Register to Vote
Monday, February 14, 2022 – First day of Early Voting
Friday, February 18, 2022 – Last day to apply for ballot by mail
Friday, February 25, 2022 – Last day of Early Voting
Tuesday, March 1, 2022 – Election Day


Richard Elkins


Occupation: Kendall County Commissioner Pct., 2 (8 years), Judge Pro-Tem (6 years)

Years in Kendall County: My wife Pat and I are hill county natives with generational ties to the land.

What motivated you to enter this race? I am currently your County Commissioner and Judge Pro-Tem and would like to continue serving the community by fulfilling my promise to protect your Quality of Life thru the many programs currently underway. In addition, three new members on Commissioners Court would create a very inexperienced management body to manage the business of the County and our Quality of Life due to the high growth issues currently being experienced throughout the County.

Everyone is talking about water – how do you see that the County could address and manage the water that we have? Commissioners Court is currently considering funding additional monitoring test wells that would allow additional proactive management of our water levels in Kendall County. Develop new methods to manage and entice new development designs for developers to protect our natural resources and our property rights. Write, revise and gain adoption of legislation that allows for local control of development and protection of our natural resources, your property rights and homestead.

Traffic – what solutions do you propose? Commissioners Court will review the recommendations from the Kendall County Transportation Committee and take prudent financial action.

Personally, I believe that addressing intersection deficiencies, some low water crossings, turn lane issues at several intersections, timing of some of the stop lights and entry and exit issues at HEB, Home Depot and Walmart would be a great first start affordable cost effective plan for all involved.

The word “growth” is talked about everywhere around town – how do we manage our growth yet maintain our “small town” way of life? This is an issue across America. By working together with developers and individual land owners who want to sell we can slow down the growth encroachment.

The controversial “Gateway” – what are your thoughts to it? Pros / Cons? The Gateway was voted “No” by Commissioners Court. It does not exist as a Transportation Plan.

County Judge is a demanding job – what makes you qualified to do it? The knowledge and work gained experience from being a Commissioner for 8 years and Judge Pro-tem for 6 years that I have gained. I have been basically doing the job.

I know all of the County leaders and department heads and the services they provide to the community.

In addition, my diverse experience in advocacy, finance, small business economic empowerment, infrastructure, strategic planning, team building, education and government are essential to address the challenges facing Kendall County.

There would basically be no learning curve.

Considering your opponents, what quality do you have that you feel they do not? Or what experience do you bring that they do not? The knowledge and work gained experience from being a Commissioner for 8 years and Judge Pro-tem for 6 years gave me is not replaceable. I have been basically doing the job.

In addition, my diverse experience in advocacy, finance, small business economic empowerment, infrastructure, strategic planning, team building, education and government are essential to address the challenges facing Kendall County.

My experience is supported by a formal education foundation of Engineering from IBM/University of Alabama, Chief Information Officer Certification for Executives from Carnegie Mellon University (SEI) and executive leadership training from the Center for Creative Leadership supplemented with 40 plus years of on the job real life work gained experience. Real life business experience with IBM, Datapoint, Protech, Scooter Store, Stanbio, Kendall County and several small businesses.

I currently know the County Business and Government leaders and County Government department heads and the services they provide to the community. I have worked with the budgeting process for 8 years and therefore review each budget yearly for inefficiencies.

My service to the community is as diverse as my work experience. I have served Kendall County for years in various capacities. My volunteer experiences as a Director on the Hill Country Regional Public Defender Office Oversight Board, Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce, Boerne ISD, GVTC, Boerne YMCA, member of the Boerne Education Foundation and advisor to many local businesses give me a firm understanding of the culture, needs and expectations of Kendall County residents.


Shane Stolarczyk

Occupation: Judge Advocate General, USAF (Reserves);
20-year research lawyer; small business owner (all non-lawyer related businesses are located outside of Kendall County).

Years in Kendall County: Over a decade.

What motivated you to enter this race? This is an important time for Kendall County. With explosive growth, transportation issues, and continued federal/state overreach into local control, everyone wants to be a part of our County. And, I don’t blame them. The choices we make today as a County will impact us, our kids, and our grandkids. I don’t only live here, but intend to retire here and have my future grandchildren raised here. As I stepped up to serve our country in a pivotal time, now I want to step up and serve our County during this critical juncture. I believe my unique skill set is the perfect fit to address the challenges Kendall County faces.

Everyone is talking about water – how do you see that the County could address and manage the water that we have? As we have learned, water is the new oil. It is a valuable and desired asset that our County should preserve. Balancing property owners’ rights, with the ease of access afforded developers by the legislators in Austin, will take someone with my legal background to devote time researching regulatory authority to ensure that our County does everything possible to explore potential options. My 20-year legal career has helped hone my ability to analyze and uncover all avenues available to conserve resources. Also, my relationships with other local leaders bordering our County who participate in legislative actions, will ensure our County secures and maintains a seat at the table so that when we want to be heard, we will be heard. The current Court has approved funding for Cow Creek to complete a more detailed study of water reserves, which will further give the County valuable information that can be used as a tool to possibly gain more control over development and density down the road.

Traffic – what solutions do you propose? There are many options on the table to tackle our traffic and mobility challenges. The countless hours put in by our community members serving on the Kendall County, Boerne, & Fair Oaks Transportation Committee are not yet complete, and that hard-earned work product will help guide my position on traffic solutions. When there is no unanimous answer to a community dilemma, an essential part of the solution is the voice of the people. Our residents understand the balance of traffic woes with property rights. It would be a mistake to not seek out the voice of the people on such an important issue as traffic. Moreover, the only successful solution for a contentious issue, such as traffic, is one that earns the community “buy in.” We are all in this together, so we all need to listen to each other, even if we disagree as to the solution.

The word “growth” is talked about everywhere around town – how do we manage our growth yet maintain our “small town” way of life? Most of us can easily understand why all arrows point to Kendall County. It does not get much better than this for a place to live, work, raise a family, or retire. There is a distinct difference, however, from a city and a county. The freedoms fought for by our forefathers include the freedom to choose where to live, whether that be within city limits or to maintain a more rural way of life. There is no wrong answer, as this choice is what fits best for each family. My vision for the County is to maintain that distinction so that all living and moving to Kendall County continue to have the choice to live within a city or outside of a city. Urbanizing the entire county only takes away the freedom of choice we all should be able to enjoy.

The controversial “Gateway” – what are your thoughts to it? The “Gateway Loop” was voted down 4 to 1 by the Commissioners Court and a resolution was passed to end the issue. In light of this fact, we need to focus our attention on the recommendations of the Kendall County, Boerne, & Fair Oaks Transportation Committee to address our current issues. The proposed “Gateway Loop” will result in the forced taking of land from many property owners and every effort should be made to avoid this result.

County Judge is a demanding job – what makes you qualified to do it? Besides my civilian background, I believe my military discipline and leadership experience has prepared me for this position. Military officers hold high levels of responsibility and authority even at low levels within the military organizations and are ready to serve full-time. Our leadership skills and discipline are formed through a progressive and carefully planned sequence of training, educational, and real-world events—far more time-consuming than similar training in the private sector or local government. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, my military service ensures our future leadership is based on a concept of duty, service, and self-sacrifice.

Considering your opponents, what quality do you have that you feel they do not? Or what experience do you bring that they do not? Both my professional and military careers have taught me the importance of discipline, integrity, and gathering all of the facts before making critical decisions. The issues facing our county did not happen overnight, and they most certainly will not be solved overnight either. The public deserves a candidate it can trust to diligently explore all options/solutions available and that will follow the letter of the law in protecting our County. With my legal qualifications, I will also be able to assist with the formation of the next County Court at Law to ensure its efficiency and can relieve some of the pressure on our court system by continuing the duty of handling probate cases and other criminal matters as needed.


 

Chris Taylor

Occupation: Retired from Hewlett Packard as a Legal and Engineering Operations Manager. Prior to HP, I was the Operations Manager over 520 employees in the family Pecan business.

Years in Kendall County: I met my wife, Holly, in Boerne Elementary School in the 4th grade. We started dating at the Kendall County Fair and married at the Kendall County Fairgrounds and then named our first daughter, Kendall. We just had our first granddaughter who is the 8th generation of the Kendall County First Family Settlers. Holly’s great grandfather was Sheriff Sidney Edge, who died in the line of duty in 1948.
What motivated you to enter this race? Citizens in our county are concerned about mobility, about future water availability, and about losing our way, our heritage, and our charm. Things seem to happen haphazardly rather than by design. I believe strongly that my education and experience give me the assets needed to put us on a proper path of planning so that we act according to a plan rather than react to circumstances.

Everyone is talking about water – how do you see that the County could address and manage the water that we have? The State of Texas places a lot of restrictions on what counties can and cannot due. But we can work collaboratively with local cities, communities, and property owners to create a water plan for today and for the future.
Traffic – what solutions do you propose? Once again, planning is key. But we need a plan that focuses on the areas of high growth and a plan this is in line with our Hill Country character. It’s the citizens in the southern half of the county that are sitting in traffic, not the citizens in the northern half.

The word “growth” is talked about everywhere around town – how do we manage our growth yet maintain our “small town” way of life? Once again, counties are limited by the state in their ability to stop growth. I think the first thing that needs to happen is an honest conversation about what a county can and cannot do. No more false hopes and promises. But that doesn’t mean sitting around and reacting to everything that happens. The county needs to be involved with the Cities of Boerne and Fair Oaks Ranch, the other local communities and towns, the Boerne ISD, Blanco ISD, and Comfort ISD, and citizens’ groups, leading the conversation about what can be done and how to best do it.
The controversial “Gateway” – what are your thoughts to it? Pros/Cons? The Gateway Study was requested by TxDot from both the City of

Boerne and the Kendall County Commissioners Court and then, quickly abandoned leaving the county with no plan in place for mobility. It was never formally accepted by either group, which is a shame because it demonstrates that a loop around the City of Boerne is not needed. What is needed is a plan for the areas of the county that have experienced high growth, e.g., the southern half of Boerne.

County Judge is a demanding job – what makes you qualified to do it? In addition to my work experience with HP, where I saved the company over $42 million without sacrificing jobs or quality, I also have a B.A. in Organizational Management from St. Mary’s University, an MBA from LeTourneau University, and a PGD in Strategic Management from the University of Portsmouth. I have served on various boards and commissions with the City of Boerne under three different Mayors, and I have over 15 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter.

Considering your opponents, what quality do you have that you feel they do not? Or what experience do you bring that they do not? I believe my strongest asset is strategic planning and creating operational efficiencies. In my later years at HP, I taught in many countries including North, Central and South America how to partner and collaborate with multiple entities and successfully achieve their goals and get results. In addition, I feel that my experience with previous natural disasters and man made disasters has prepared me to fill the role as the Emergency Disaster Director when needed.