Weatherford Democrat

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February 12, 2014

MEET THE CANDIDATES: The race for Parker County Judge

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Name: Mark Riley

Age: 63

Occupation: Parker County Judge

Spouse/family: Married to Janet and we have five children and four grandchildren.

Education: I have earned hundreds of hours of judicial training credits. A graduate of Navarro College and completed additional course work in management and government.

Professional background: I am a member of the East Parker County Chamber of Commerce and am on the legislative affairs committee. I serve as secretary of the Regional Transportation Council, Secretary of the Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition, member of Weatherford Rotary and North Side Baptist Church. Recipient of the East Parker County Chamber Community Service Award. Recipient of the Careity Foundation Community Hero Award. Finalist for Greater Fort Worth Builder Association Community Service Award.

Community involvement: Over the years I have served on numerous community boards and committees. I have served as emcee of the Ms. Senior Parker County Pageant for 13 years and was emcee for the Weatherford Blue Belles Spring Show for 15 years and stadium announcer for Roo football for 15 years.

What are your top three goals should you be elected to serve? Please be specific.

A. Parker County has one of the lowest general fund operational tax rates in the state. Eighty-two percent of the 254 Texas counties have a higher rate than Parker County. The goal is to maintain the sound business practices that have allowed us to keep the tax rate constant. We have tripled our emergency reserves, improved our bond rating from A- to AA and received the Texas Comptrollers Award for Transparency. Since I have been county judge, we completed an addition to the jail, restored the historic courthouse and implemented the first-ever voter-approved transportation bond. Each of these projects was completed on time and within budget.

B. Moving forward with plans for the Eastern Loop, which will connect with the existing Ric Williamson Memorial Highway, is a top priority. Initial design and environmental studies have been underway since 2012 when the Commissioners Court authorized the expenditures. I called a joint meeting with the city councils of Hudson Oaks and Weatherford where we discussed the implementation of the first phase of the Eastern Loop. About 200 citizens attended. I am the only candidate who is not recommending a bond issue to continue the progress.

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