Breckenridge Texan

Candidate Profiles: City Commissioner, Place 2

October 13
08:32 2020

Below you’ll find the Candidate Profile Questionnaires that were returned to the Breckenridge Texan by the candidates for the office of Breckenridge City Commissioner, Place 2, in the order that they will appear on the ballot.

At the end of this story is an editor’s note that explains how the questionnaires were distributed, compiled, etc.

 


Gary Mercer


What office are you seeking? City Councilman

What is your current occupation? AT&T Installation and Repair

Tell us a little bit about your family: My wife, Vicki, and I have been married for 23 years. We have 3 boys Korben (20), Kade (18), and Kasen (14) and beautiful granddaughter, Emersyn (3 months).

What is your education/military service? I graduated from Weatherford High School in 1993 and I am currently attending LSU online to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

What do you think are the most critical issues facing the community and what would you do to address them, if elected? I believe a critical issue we have here is the budget and how as a city and community we can bring in more revenue. If elected I will try and use my vote in the best interest of the city and not for my own personal gain and interests.

 


Rob Durham


Rob Durham

What office are you seeking? Place 2, Breckenridge City Council

What is your current occupation? Sales consultant, Bayer Chevrolet-Buick-Cadillac

Tell us a little bit about your family: Married to Lori Durham (25 years); Two children: son Riley (20); daughter Sidney (19).

What are your community involvements/civic affiliations? Present: Breckenridge Lions Club, Big Country East Fellowship of Christian Athletes board member, Texas High School Basketball Officials Association-Abilene Chapter board member; Past: Virginia’s House/Dr. Goodall’s House Board of Directors, Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce.

What is your education/military service? Cisco Junior College, Tarleton State University, Grand Canyon University (Business Management).

What training, experiences and characteristics qualify you for this position? I have been a lifelong resident of the city of Breckenridge and have served on the city council for one elected term and a one-year appointed term. My family was some of the first Black settlers in Breckenridge and Stephens County, so my roots are firmly planted in our community. My mother and uncles were Breckenridge High School graduates and other members of my family were firmly rooted in our community. I’ve seen times where our community has grown, and I’ve seen our community shrink at times. But, most of all, I’ve also seen when our community has thrived. Breckenridge is a great place to raise your family. That’s why I want to continue to serve as your city councilman because my heart and my head want to see Breckenridge continue to grow beyond our years. I have no axes to grind so I am running for re-election in order to continue my personal obligation to do what I can to better our community. I am doing what I feel is the best way I can serve my community and its citizens and to do my part as a resident of Breckenridge.

What do you think are the most critical issues facing the community and what would you do to address them, if elected? There are several critical issues facing our community. However, those issues can only be solved if our citizens band together for the good and make sure these issues get resolved in a teamwork fashion.

1. Our city infrastructure has always been an issue for several years. However, I have always said: You cannot completely fix in five years what’s been messed up for 50. Our aging streets coupled with our constant repair of our water and sewer system have been in a position where we cannot fix them; we can only try to maintain them. We must put ourselves in a position as taxpayers and a community to fix items, rather than band-aid our infrastructure.

2. Another issue has been our tax rate. As a city councilman, my tax rate goes up along with every other citizen. Just like our community, I hate to see those rates continue to rise. Our valuations must stabilize where people can maintain a decent quality of life, while also being able to provide for their families. I am aware of the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. Members of our community were stricken with lost employment and furloughs. I want to see that we can try to make sure that our families are able to survive financially in Breckenridge. To do that, we must balance out the tax rate and cost of living. With that increased rate, we need to be able to see physical successes of those rising rates. However, in recent years, the rising rates have only been elevated to simply help our city survive. We must graduate from that ideology, or we will continue to spin our wheels with no progress for our community.

3.We must continue to show our transparency to our community and encourage education and interaction with our citizens. There are numerous ways the citizens of our community can reach out to our city government. City government can be reached via phone, email and other online access. The minutes to all our city meetings are posted on our city of Breckenridge website (www.breckenridgetx.gov). Social media runs rampant with people who really don’t know the full function of the community they live in. It’s up to us to bridge that gap. Our meetings are open to the public every first Tuesday of the month. I highly encourage citizens to come and sit in on a meeting. As a current member of the council, we encourage citizens to come and ask questions in order to find out what goes on in the place they raise their children, pay their taxes and work every day. Unresearched speculation can run rampant at times but the willingness to educate on certain situations also lies in the hands of our citizens. Therefore, our council should make sure our citizens are comfortable attending meetings and have that freedom to know what is going on with their tax dollars.

4. I think our community needs to work from the inside out. When I say that, I mean we must work together as a community and move forward in a sense of making Breckenridge an even better place to call home. We have citizens who will vote for every national election but not know where to cast a vote for their local election. We must make sure people know they also have a voice, not only for positions in Washington D.C. and Austin, but also in Breckenridge, the place they call home. People are always quick to criticize our community. However, when people are unobjective in their mindset, then it’s easy to look at life like their glass if half empty. Breckenridge has a lot to offer. We have several quality of life items that need repair and maintenance. Those items are functional because they are used by our community (the Breckenridge City Park, The City Pool, Breckenridge Skate Park, Trade Barns, etc.) We have the infrastructure in place to host future events in our community. But, we must work together as citizens and form partnerships to help get those items to our community. I do understand the Covid-19 restrictions have halted a lot of items, just as it stopped several of our annual events that are hosted by our community. However, this would be the perfect time to go out and see what we can plan for our future in order keep Breckenridge thriving and generate pride and positive citizenship.

Describe an accomplishment of which you are proud and how it helps make you the best candidate for the office? I take no personal credit for all the accomplishments for our community because it is a team effort for all of us to be successful. We have accomplished projects across our community. Those projects could not be accomplished without the hard work of our city of Breckenridge workers and staff. As a member of the city council, our goal is to help pass policies, enforce ordinances and to make sure there is a sound budget for the city of Breckenridge. It is our duty as a city council to support the people who are involved in the day-to-day operations of our city services. Without those men and women, we simply could not get it done. Our firemen, police officers, city workers and staff all work hard and tirelessly. I support them in all they do because they are the ones sacrificing their lives and having to leave their families to provide services to our community. I pride myself in keeping an open mind toward helping my community be the best it can be. I love everything about Breckenridge and I want to ensure that our community will continue its strong ties in years to come.


Editor’s note:

Each candidate in the contested City of Breckenridge race for Commissioner, Place 2, was presented with a list of questions via email.

All of the questionnaires were exactly the same. We asked the following questions:

  • Name:
  • What office are you seeking?
  • What is your current occupation, and how will that be affected if you are elected?
  • Tell us a little bit about your family.
  • What are your community involvements/civic affiliations?
  • What is your education/military service?
  • What training, experiences and characteristics qualify you for this position?
  • What do you think are the most critical issues facing the community and what would you do to address them, if elected?
  • Describe an accomplishment of which you are proud and how it helps make you the best candidate for the office?

The candidates also were asked to provide the Breckenridge Texan with a photograph. If there is no photo with a profile, the candidate did not provide us with one.

In the above profiles, we listed only the questions that each candidate answered. The only editing we did was to run a basic spell-check on the files to correct typos and to put the questionnaires in a standard format.

If you have any questions about the profiles or our procedure, please send an email to:
news@breckenridgetexan.com.

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