Four candidates are running for the position of Fort Bend County judge, including two Republicans and two Democrats (Courtesy Unsplash)
The primary will be held on March 1 with early voting taking place Feb. 14-25. The winners for each party in the March primaries will be on the ballot in the November general election.
Candidate responses may have been edited for length and clarity.
Experience: I am the current Fort Bend County judge and director of emergency management in Fort Bend [County]. Since taking office, we have worked tirelessly to make our county government more engaging.
Occupation: county judge
Contact information: 979-217-2818
Experience: I look forward to serving Fort Bend [County] with my experience as a veteran, emergency management professional, Democratic Party leader and as a longtime leader in the community.
Occupation: president/owner PABULUM Consulting
Contact information: 346-899-6838
Q: What would be your three priorities if you were elected?
George: 1. Economy: Jobs and taxes. We launched initiatives to bring large, mid, and small businesses to create good paying jobs. Through our efforts, we brought major employers like Amazon, Tesla, and Dollar Tree. We partnered with Mattress Mack to launch a job center and a business coaching program to help small businesses. Significantly, we have brought the county tax rate to a historic low from $0.56 per $100 [valuation] in 1990 to $0.46 cents per $100 in 2019. We will continue this downward trend. 2. Public safety: We have invested more resources than ever before in the Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement agencies to increase patrols. We also implemented our Officer Safety Plan for all county law enforcement, including body cams, advanced training, de-escalation tools, and technology solutions for officer and community safety. We also created the first Public Integrity Unit, Human Trafficking Division, and Animal Cruelty Unit in Fort Bend’s history. We will continue supporting our law enforcement partners to keep our communities safe. 3. Infrastructure and disaster preparedness: We have launched and implemented a major, multimillion-dollar effort to build new roads, lanes, better traffic signals, and flood mitigation projects in every precinct. We also upgraded our emergency management and ask everyone to text “FBCAlert” to 888777 to sign up for alerts. We will also continue to make new community partners to support residents whether setting up warming centers like the ones we implemented during the winter storm or even personal protective equipment distributions like we did during the start of COVID.
Bonner: Smart development – This means reviewing development projects for broadband access, flood mitigation, and the total economic impact across the county for everyone. Emergency management – I will ensure Fort Bend always stays ready for any emergencies from health crises to extreme weather events. COVID rental protections – Increase communication and coordination between federal agencies and county courthouses ensuring those facing eviction are receiving the full benefits of federally subsidized programs as well as county-level programs.
Q: We have a lot of diversity and a lot of development. What will you do to ensure that all of your constituents are represented with Fort Bend County as diverse as it is?
George: We are so proud of Fort Bend County’s incredible diversity. When I was elected, I launched a series of listening tours throughout every corner of our county for your voices, opinions, and community input. Since then, we have increased our commitment to transparency by, for the first time ever, live streaming all Commissioners Court meetings, using community surveys for major decisions like mask requirements, and, much more. We will continue making sure our local government is accessible to all our residents.
Bonner: From my experience as a veteran I know that being a good leader means being a responsive and visible leader. Being responsible and serving a diverse community like Fort Bend will require touring the county and meeting citizens where they are, ensuring that our boards, committees and task forces reflect our diversity. I will do all of this by being a dedicated and driven advocate for everyone in Fort Bend.
Q: What do you think will be your biggest challenge if you are elected?
George: The Brazos River and flooding continue to pose a challenge and threat to our communities. I look forward to continuing to partner with all agencies to implement flood mitigation measures. Since 2018, we have invested millions into protecting our residents and homes successfully, but we still have work to do as residents of the Gulf Coast.
Bonner: I know leading in the Commissioners Court as the first Black county judge will bring unique challenges that could lead to wonderful opportunities; but I am here to be of service and to lead. I will educate and change the perceptions of what a county judge’s responsibilities and duties are. It is hard work to change ingrained attitudes and mindsets but we can overcome our preconceived notions by working together to bring out the best of Fort Bend County.