Q&A: Meet Montgomery County Precinct 3 commissioner candidates

County Commissioner Precinct 3

* Denotes incumbent.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Lore Breitmeyer Jones D
Occupation: sales and customer service
Experience: small-business owner; Georgetown University graduate; president, Students of Georgetown, Inc.; Montgomery County precinct chair and election judge; deputy chair, Montgomery County Democratic Party
Contact: www.lorebreitmeyerjones.net

What are the most important issues affecting Montgomery County residents in 2021 and beyond?

LJ: Helping our small businesses and residents recover from the COVID-19-related health and economic crisis; prioritizing flood mitigation; building partnerships with community institutions to build resiliency, sustainability and a robust local economy; providing user friendly public services accessible to all constituents.

How will you help residents and businesses affected by COVID-19 once CARES funds are used?

LJ: First, rapidly reallocate the $65 million of federal funds that legally can't be distributed to homesteaders for more strategic rental/mortgage assistance to prevent foreclosures, evictions, homelessness and business closures. Build more cooperation with community institutions and public/private partnerships that provide services to the elderly, the hungry, the homeless and mental health services. Finally, plan to fully open county libraries to help both parents and job seeking adults needing tech resources.

Do you see areas the county can reduce spending? If so, where and how much?

LJ: Yes, we should reduce road construction projects and encourage robust public comment before changing traffic patterns to avoid unintended consequences for our small businesses and communities. The $5.9 million spent on major projects in 2020 in Precinct 3 has created road construction fatigue. Although that amount will drop to $2 million in 2021 we should pause to evaluate the 2020 impact. We need to develop a more comprehensive and sustainable approach to transportation.

Why should residents vote for you as commissioner and what do you hope to accomplish if elected?

LJ: Our neighbors in South Montgomery County deserve a commissioner that approaches public service with respect and consideration for all of the residents and stakeholders in our community. As commissioner of Precinct 3, I would strive to build constructive relationships with our small cities, townships, HOA's and Chambers of Commerce to ensure our safety, economic prosperity and a better quality of life.

James Noack* R
Occupation: Commissioner, Montgomery County Precinct 3
Experience: Texas A&M University graduate, worked in financial industry for 17 years
Contact: www.jamesnoack.com

What are the most important issues affecting Montgomery County residents in 2021 and beyond?

JN: This year, Montgomery County taxpayers have faced rising appraisals, economic uncertainty, mandated business closures and a pandemic. This has led to lower wages, lost jobs and unemployment. Going forward, effective leaders will have to address these concerns, while continuing to manage growth, infrastructure as well as drainage and subsidence issues. Under my leadership I have proven my ability to tackle the residents' most concerning issues while adapting as they change based on circumstances.

How will you help residents and businesses affected by COVID-19 once CARES funds are used?

JN: I will make sure to continue to fight for the lowest tax rate possible so taxpayers can continue to make their own decisions on how best to care for their families in such unprecedented times.

Do you see areas the county can reduce spending? If so, where and how much?

JN: I believe we can always find ways to be more efficient with taxpayer dollars. I led the effort to reduce county spending by 5%, implemented a 20% homestead exemption, lowered the tax rate more than 10% and saved the taxpayers over $34 million in better debt management. This year I and Judge Mark Keough were the only two on the court who did not vote for a tax rate higher than the no-new-revenue rate and led the effort to lower the tax rate by more than 3%.

Why should residents vote for you as commissioner and what do you hope to accomplish if elected?

JN: Voters should re-elect me because I am a champion for the taxpayer. My focus will remain working with municipalities and other local leaders to responsibly address issues like mobility, infrastructure, the management of growth in Montgomery County and, as always, fighting to keep taxes low.

This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.