"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.
Life is slower in Matagorda County, which is just the way the county judge likes it. But with the pandemic taking a toll on the economy and health, he’s working quickly to help the county bounce back. Watch the #ABC13Plus story on @abc13houston at 630pm. pic.twitter.com/4qZy2YOcv0— Nick Natario (@NickABC13) April 28, 2021
"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!
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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