Denton County Courthouse

Early voting for the Nov. 3 election runs Oct. 13-30. Among the elections in Denton County is County Commissioner, Precinct 1, where Sandy Swan will face Ryan Williams. Below are the answers to a Q&A they provided to Star Local Media:

Sandy Swan

Democrat

Occupation: Case worker

Number of years in county: 16 years

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

Sandy Swan

Sandy Swan

Measures to combat the coronavirus are currently of paramount importance. I would promote more public education about COVID as well as other public health issues and advocate for more widespread access to testing. All levels of government were underprepared for this pandemic. I would work for greater coordination between all levels of government and community based organizations to prepare for and respond to this and other disasters. Another issue is our county’s rapid growth. Denton County was designated a “Boomtown” by Smart Asset. We are projected to reach 3 million people in 30 years. While growth has benefits, all systems are impacted including infrastructure, education, housing, health care and social services. Traffic is awful and housing prices have soared with 43% of households cost burdened. The county must act proactively with our cities, the state, businesses, education and community organizations along with increasing involvement of our residents to address these effects.

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

The coronavirus has greatly impacted Precinct 1 along with the rest of the county. I would promote greater access to testing across all of Precinct 1 as well as increased public health education about reducing the spread of infectious diseases.

The rapid population growth in our county has particularly hit the 380 corridor. Denton County must take a comprehensive and future oriented approach to managing our rapid growth. Involvement of the residents and businesses in the area is critical to solving the complex issues brought about by this growth.

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

U.S. 380 is overloaded with traffic. What used to be a 30-minute drive across the county now takes over twice as long. I would work with residents and businesses near 380 to seek their input on best solutions to alternatives.

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

All levels of government were underprepared for this pandemic. The coronavirus has impacted every aspect of our lives. County government must work together with residents, health care providers, other businesses, school districts and community based organizations to plan for potential epidemics.

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

I have a proven record of community and political involvement. I have voted in every election since I was old enough to vote. I have been actively involved as an advocate in healthcare, voting rights and responsive government.

I will apply the knowledge and skills I have gained from my Masters of Public Health and decades of experience in health systems to addressing the health and safety of our community. I will promote greater community participation in county government, a future oriented approach, and bring a fresh perspective to working on the complex issues facing Denton County.

I will actively encourage greater community input and work with our partners in business, our cities, nonprofit organizations, education and intergovernmental agencies to create a more responsive county government. I will use my experience with project management, resource allocation, strategic planning, data analysis, organizational communication, and community engagement to build processes to create a more responsive, efficient and effective county government.

Ryan Williams

Republican

Occupation: Retired

Number of years in county: The majority of my life (40 plus years)

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

Ryan Williams

Ryan Williams

Infrastructure/planning (one issue). Denton County is rapidly growing, and Precinct 1 is the fastest growing portion of the county for the foreseeable future. It is essential that we take a business approach to this, and plan way ahead, to alleviate issues with roads and lack of infrastructure. One key aspect of my candidacy is that I will be a full time county commissioner, not having other jobs to occupy my time. I will spend the time needed to dig into these major issues, and it will serve the constituents of Precinct 1 well.

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

Our roads and bridges are in bad shape in a lot of areas, and some of this is the result of poor planning, and frankly, the result of having a part time commissioner, who has a law practice that comes first and foremost to him. I will spend the time required to help solve our most difficult problems, while also meeting with constituents on a regular basis, and will make sure my office is very responsive and accessible. While tackling this vital issue of roads and bridges, I will work to bring about zero based budgeting, so we can put government on the "Dave Ramsey Plan." We have to be able to stretch taxpayer dollars as far as they can go, and keep taxes from going up on our citizens, many of which are struggling to pay them (especially property taxes)

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

It is a major issue and one that needs a lot of work. Precinct 1 has over 700 miles of lane roads, and a good portion of Precinct 1 is unincorporated. This will require a hands-on approach, and one that focuses on building roads right the first time, to avoid failures and costly repairs, as well as addressing the roads and bridges near the point of failure.

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

The pandemic was something that hit us out of the blue and it has been tough to deal with for everyone. I am a businessman, and want to make sure that we don't harm businesses, which are essential to our community, and to the livelihoods of business owners, and their employees. It is important that take in and analyze accurate data and make quality decisions. It is always important to receive input from our citizens, and in a situation like this, it is even more important. I will do that in all areas.

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

I have a unique combination of experience and skills, and this gives me a great advantage in this race. First off, I have a very successful business background, and will utilize that experience and expertise if elected. I also have 18 years of law enforcement experience, as a non-paid, reserve police officer in Denton County. Lastly, I commit to this being my only job, and the citizens of Denton County demand and deserve a full-time county commissioner.

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