Ballot Box

Early voting for the Nov. 3 election takes place Oct. 13-30. One of the local seats up for election is Collin County commissioner, Precinct 3 where incumbent Darrell Hale, a Republican, will face Dianne Mayo, a Democrat. Below are the answers each candidate provided to a Q&A from Star Local Media:

Darrell Hale

Republican

Occupation: County commissioner / entrepreneur

Number of years in county: 23

What is the biggest issue facing the county, and how would you address it?

Darrell Hale

Darrell Hale

Collin County’s biggest issue is continuing growth. Planning ahead for infrastructure growth to support mobility and county government is the critical function of government that we must address.

We must continue to work on US Highway 380, the Collin County, and a yet as unnamed and unplanned N/S highway to augment US Highway 75 for additional mobility. The next few years will involve working with TxDOT to nail down alignments and secure right of way with the least amount of impact to citizens as possible.

We also will have county infrastructure to build as part of our master plan created years ago. We will have additional expansion to the jail near-term as well as a future additional administration building for work space. We will lastly have to expand the Courthouse to support the inevitable addition of district courts when the case-load warrants it – and the state approves the addition.

What are the biggest issues in your precinct, and how would you address them if elected?

We have issues with joint boundary roads being consistent sore points with constituents. The roads routinely are split length-wise, down the middle and in combinations. We need to address the “ownership” of maintenance and I have begun work to address this with a few cities by the creation of a special “swap” ILA (interlocal agreement) to allow ownership of the road maintenance so there is ability to act quicker and maintain without confusion to the citizens or the government entities as to who is responsible.

What would your priorities be regarding roads and infrastructure in the county?

I have been a proponent for joint projects inside my precinct, and 27 of the 36 million dollars allocated for joint projects with cities in the past year went to my precinct. Hopefully in the next round the cities will compete favorably so we can approve projects for Anna, Fairview and Farmersville that did not receive an award in the last year. I am most proud of the new roadway improvement for Lucas Road that is ready to being acquisition of ROW and construction soon.

How do you feel the county has handled the pandemic response, and would you do anything differently if another wave hits?

I feel that the court has provided an incredible response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commissioners Court responded with an array of responses:

$3M for testing

$5M for personal protective equipment

$30M for emergency housing

$5M for food and grocery assistance (likely to increase)

$15M for Business Grant Program

$40M for county public safety, healthcare, and COVID compensation to keep the county functioning with full services

We have additional resources in reserve if a second wave hits, and I would expect that we would be ready to address needs again. I do not think I would change anything we did.

Why are you the best candidate for the county commissioner seat?

I am the best qualified with a great education from one of the premier leadership institutions in the United States, The United States Military Academy at West Point. I have a background of success through military, working in telecom for 15 years, and then as an entrepreneur like my parents before me. I successfully started a company from scratch and ran it for five years before selling it.

I have been performing the job as commissioner and the COVID pandemic has shown that the Commissioners Court has met the task of a major crisis with distinction. We have provided an array of programs in record time (perhaps the fastest in the U.S.) to address the economic effects and effects to our county government.

Even prior to the county dealing with the COVID crisis I dealt with supporting constituents in Austin to support the most comprehensive tax reform bill in decades (SB2) that put automatic rollback provisions into law. Not only did I advocate for lower taxes. I delivered them with two no new taxes budgets. I have never raised taxes.

I have made promises and kept them. I have done the job the merits of my performance justifies my re-election.

Dianne Mayo

Democrat

Occupation: Licensed escrow officer at title company

Number of years in county: 21

What is the biggest issue facing the county, and how would you address it?

Dianne Mayo

Dianne Mayo

The current COVID crisis, both in terms of healthcare and in terms of economic impact, is the biggest issue facing the county today. I would address it by making sure we put as many resources as possible towards easing the dual burdens facing Collin County’s citizens. The federally-funded Collin CARES Act is a good start, but too few know about it and many may not qualify. I’m concerned at the potential homelessness and unemployment issues we will be facing in the near future.

What are the biggest issues in your precinct, and how would you address them if elected?

Healthcare on a county level, including mental health, has been deprioritized by the current Commissioners Court. I’d like to see more healthcare programs to fully meet the needs of the county. Additionally, we have inadequate programs regarding homelessness and housing insecurity. I’d be in favor of rethinking our priorities to shift some funding to ensure our citizens can remain housed. This is going to be especially important as Collin County begins its recovery from COVID-19.

What would your priorities be regarding roads and infrastructure in the county?

I would love to see additional mass transit, especially clean mass transit, in the county as a whole. We are close to maxed out on roads, and traffic is still increasing. If we can move people more efficiently and less expensively, that would be ideal, and there are Federal funds available for that, but we are not yet taking advantage of those programs.

How do you feel the county has handled the pandemic response, and would you do anything differently if another wave hits?

I feel like a lot of our issues could have been better handled with additional mask and social distancing requirements. Better leadership examples would have had the commissioners and county judge standing firm in favor of simple CDC-recommended protocols to shorten and minimize the impacts to citizens and businesses. Instead, they minimized and even mocked them, which was to our detriment. Make no mistake, I am in favor of keeping open as many businesses as possible, but I truly believe that masking, sanitizing, and social distancing is the way to make that safer for everyone.

Why are you the best candidate for the county commissioner seat?

We need to bring balance and fairness back to the Commissioners Court in Collin County. Right now, the Commissioners Court is entirely one-sided, and with that comes complacency, and that can result in graft, corruption, and cronyism – any of which could be potentially devastating in terms of impact and expensive for taxpayers. We need to increase transparency and oversight for the Commissioners Court, so that our constituents are confident that we are providing balance, fairness and justice to Collin County.

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