Parker County Precinct 3 Commissioner Larry Walden is seeking a third term after serving for the past seven years on the commissioners court.
Walden, 61, Republican, is a fifth-generation Parker County resident and believes in maintaining the county’s heritage.
“I’m a lifelong Parker County resident, actually fifth generation — my folks came here at the end of the Civil War prior to 1870 — and so for 150 years we’ve been here and we plan on being here another 150 years,” Walden said. “I tell people we want to keep Parker County western, we want to keep Parker County Parker County, and we don’t want it to become some other place. I think I kind of have a unique insight and I want to be on the commissioners court to work with the other commissioners and the [county] judge to make those things happen and manage our growth.”
Walden attended Garner ISD through elementary and middle school and graduated from Millsap High School.
“I’m very proud to have been educated in Parker County. I graduated from Weatherford College and then I moved on to Tarleton [State University] and got a bachelor’s degree there and then a couple of master degrees,” Walden said. “I worked as an educator beginning as an ag teacher and I also worked as an ag instructor at Weatherford College, and then moved on to be a school administrator and did that for 22 years. I’ve had an influence over a lot of young folks and hopefully an influence on the community too and I’m proud to use my education for the betterment of everyone here in Parker County.”
Walden said he is seeking re-election to finish some things he has in progress and wants to see through, including road construction.
“Our county is growing rapidly and I want to see that we manage that growth in the best possible manner. We have the bond election for the East Loop and that is ongoing — the projects that I have in my precinct associated with that — and then the big picture is the completion of the East Loop and making sure we do the best we can in utilizing that tax money to make it go as far as we can to leverage the other dollars we might bring in working with [Texas Department of Transportation] or any other entity we can to get the most bang for our buck.”
Walden said in addition, water in the county is another issue that he would like to tackle as commissioner.
“I think water is certainly an issue in Parker County — the number of wells being drilled and the availability of water for everyone — and things the court might be able to help do in that situation,” Walden said. “Judge [Pat] Deen and I have taken the lead in that and have actually had several meetings with the stakeholders about groundwater in Parker County and working with the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District to do the things we can to preserve our resources here and make sure we don’t have issues coming down the road.”
County resident and business owner Matt Drikas, 40, has filed to run against Walden in the race for Precinct 3 commissioner and said the county needs more leadership in getting the community involved.
“I think the community being involved in their own governance is super important. I’m not saying that we have leaders right now that don’t care, but we’re entering into this digital generation where information is wanted right now. The community wants the information, they demand the information,” Drikas said. “I’ve seen a disconnect and lack of enthusiasm from the community towards our local government and I don’t think it has to be that way. You can get on the Parker County website right now and you’ll see things from 2016, stuff from 2017, and it’s hard to navigate. The social media is lacking and we’re missing out on a lot of stuff.”
Walden said he hasn’t met Drikas.
“I have not met him, he actually doesn’t live too far from me, but I’ve never met him and don’t know anything about why he’s running,” Walden said.
Walden also serves in several organizations in the county, including the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse.
“I’ve been an officer for a couple of years in the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse and I’m also a lifelong member of the Parker County Livestock Improvement Association — that’s the group that puts on the youth livestock show here. I’m a member of the Parker County Soil and Water Conservation District Board and I’ve been a member of the Millsap Historical Society,” Walden said. “I served five terms, 15 years, on the Millsap ISD school board and I’m currently a member of their industry advisory committee — I’m very proud of the progress they’ve made in making things available for the kids. I’m also a member of the Millsap Alumni Scholarship Foundation and they work to provide scholarships to kids that might not have a chance otherwise. I believe in community service, I believe in giving back to our community and making things better for the community.”