Slow-paced Matagorda County hoping for speedy bounce back from pandemic

BAY CITY, Texas (KTRK) -- Matagorda County is looking to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic and its leader believes the rural values is what will make it happen. From the never-ending fields to the American pride found in downtown shopping districts, Texas' beauty is always on full display in Matagorda County.

"We need some more of that all over America," said Matagorda County Judge, Nate McDonald. "And by God, it's alive and well in Matagorda County."

McDonald has served as the county's judge for nearly 15 years.

"I ran for office to build a county," he told Eyewitness News on Wednesday. "Frankly, the best rural county in the state of Texas so my son and his generation would come back here."

To make that all happen, McDonald focused on creating new jobs. He said he's laser-focused on this again due to the pandemic, which left millions across the country unemployed. In fact, over the past year, nearly 6,000 people have filed for unemployment.

"That appears to be a heavy lift, but it's not," McDonald explained. "We've gone to work, bringing in new partners and asking our existing partners to grow."

READ ALSO: Looking for a job in the Matagorda County area? ABC13's virtual job can help!
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If you're looking for a job in Matagorda County, one of the area's biggest and newest companies is looking to grow.

However, rural living does carry its own set of challenges.

County leaders are urging neighbors to get vaccinated. State numbers show about 40% of adults have received a dose, but that number sits well-below that of its neighboring counties. In total, about 100 have died from the virus.

"I did a memorial for a gentleman just Saturday," McDonald recalled. "A good friend of mine who passed away too early. He was 70 years old, what we thought in good health. Got COVID and died from it."

McDonald said he's encouraging neighbors to get the vaccine, which he believes will make a major difference for the economy by this fall.

"I'm very bullish on Matagorda County," McDonald said. "We are going to be back and we're going to be back full speed ahead."

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