What to know about the Williamson County Commissioner Election in Precinct 4
Republican Williamson County Commissioner Russ Boles is seeking his second term against Democratic challenger Jose Orta.
Boles, is a 54-year-old commercial real estate broker and attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Texas State University and a law degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
Orta, 60, is an Air Force veteran and the only Democrat to file for office. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business and management from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in international relations from Troy State University in Alabama. He also holds an associate degree in management studies from the University of Maryland and an associate degree in applied science from the Community College of the Air Force. He has over 30 years of community advocacy, including serving on several organizations such as the City of Taylor’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and the 2020 Williamson County Census.
Precinct 4 covers the eastern part of the county including Round Rock, Taylor, Hutto, Granger, Coupland and Thrall. A county commissioner serves a four-year term. Both candidates answered a series of questions about their campaigns.
Q. In your opinion, what are the most important problems facing Commissariat 4?
Bowls: Growth and private development are moving at a rapid pace. Trucking companies and housing estates seem to spring up overnight, causing difficult or dangerous road conditions. Public roads are for everyone, but they have to be planned and they take time to build. Accordingly, I advanced the construction of the Southeast Loop and the construction of additional lanes on Chandler Road, major improvements to the county’s road system.
After:Federal lawsuit calls for removal of Confederate statue outside Williamson County Courthouse
Orta: There is perhaps no greater problem facing East Williamson County than managing the increasing pressures of growth and development in a way that complements and reinforces the character of Williamson County. This unprecedented growth will impact and strain our roads, public safety and health infrastructure. We need a county commissioner who will look after the common good and not private developers. I want to work for the people of Williamson County, not the developers.
Q. What are your goals if elected?
Bowls: It’s no secret that Williamson County is experiencing growing pains. From roads to jobs to safe neighborhoods, we must work together to find solutions. The answers will come from citizens, landowners, MUDs, cities, school districts, the state of Texas and Williamson County. We must continue to deal together with basic services and the burden of taxes imposed on our citizens. Together, this is how we achieve the best for our citizens.
Orta: This is a full-time job, and we deserve a full-time commissioner who will show up to work for the people and make Williamson County a great place for all of us to live, work and play. I believe in a government that improves the lives of its citizens. For too long there has been unfettered spending on lawsuits and political agendas and not enough on the day-to-day issues that government is tasked with, such as building, maintaining and repairing our roads and bridges, and the good public. We have aging infrastructure in eastern Williamson County, and it needs our attention.
Q. Do you think the Confederate statue on the grounds of the Williamson County Courthouse in Georgetown should be moved?
Bowls: The statue issue is related to a (Federal) trial and I cannot answer.
Orta: It makes no sense to honor the people who left the Union and declared war on it so it could keep other human beings enslaved and owned. Our multiethnic, multicultural and diverse county does not need a monument that honors and glorifies a lost cause. The times have changed. Williamson County has changed. His placement is inappropriate. It’s time to move it.
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Q. What makes you the best candidate for the job?
Bowls: I am not an activist. The county commissioner is the sexiest elected office in government. To be a commissioner is to manage taxes. Serving is about providing basic services like roads, safe neighborhoods, and making sure our law enforcement and first responders have what they need to do their jobs. To serve is to understand the weight taxes imposed on a citizen. That’s why this year, between the county tax rate cut and the homestead exemption increase, the average county homeowner will see their Williamson County tax bill drop by at least $200. .
Orta: I have over 30 years of involvement in community advocacy in this county. My varied work and well-rounded community involvement have prepared me for this leadership position. I believe in building coalitions, building bridges and leading by consensus. I believe I have honed the skills over my decades of community service to be more inclusive to all of our residents. As Williamson continues to grow and prosper, we must continue to remember to include the entire community in that growth and prosperity. I believe I can bridge the gap between the community we serve and those charged with governing.