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Republicans hear from local candidates

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All six Republican candidates for county positions in the upcoming Republican Primary appeared at a candidate forum last week to let people know what their priorities are, what they had accomplished if they were incumbents and why their election would help the county if they are trying to unseat an incumbent.

They all professed to having solid conservative values, pledged to concentrate on keeping Bandera County in Republican hands and agreed on what some of the key needs of the county are, like improving its road system.

Precinct 1 County Commissioner Bruce Eliker, who worked for more than 34 years with the Texas Department of Transportation, said roads continue to be his biggest issue but that more will need to be done to resolve a staffing shortage in the road and bridge department so improvements can move forward.

He is opposed in seeking renomination to the post from the Republican Party by Troy Konvicka, a retired veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces who with his wife has put on the Riding on Faith Rodeo series in Bandera the last two year.

Konvicka agreed that more attention needed to be paid to county employees generally because that has a strong impact on how much gets accomplished by the county. He also wants to make sure that the county is able to grow in a responsible way that does not compromise the country ways that are so much a part of Bandera.

The Precinct 3 commissioner’s post also is up for renomination in the Republican Primary.

The incumbent, Jack Moseley, a former employee of the county’s road and bridge department, is being challenged by Leanne Beauxbeannes, a Hill Country State Natural Area Park Ranger for 10 years who currently works as the volunteer coordinator with Bandera County Emergency Management.

Those two talked a lot about the best ways to address the needs of the timeworn arena and other facilities at Mansfield Park, which is in their precinct.

Moseley, after financing an economic impact study showing that the park generated $3.2 million in economic activity for the county over 20 months, is working to see if a corporate sponsor is available to help the county pay for big improvements turning the park’s rodeo arena into more of an event center, while Beauxbeannes said a lot could be done to improve the park with a volunteer force working with a more limited budget.

“As a conservative, I’m taught to take care of what you have,” she said.

Longtime Precinct 2 Constable Ernest Reich III is opposed by Greg Spengler, a contractor, volunteer firefighter and a deputy constable in Medina County, for renomination by Republicans in the March 3 primary.

Meeting the needs of the public is the constable’s most important job, both candidates agreed. But Reich would like to have more resources to address more drug cases and illegal dumping cases in the county. Spengler said he would like to increase patrols in Precinct 2, especially in the East end of the precinct where encroachment from San Antonio is getting heavier all the time.

Election time for those places is rapidly approaching.

Early voting across Texas starts on Tuesday, Feb. 18, and will run until Feb. 28. In Bandera County, early voting will be on weekdays only at three locations, the Mauer Annex, 403 12th St. in Bandera, the Lakehills Area Library, 7200 FM 1283 and the Medina Annex, 161 E. Parker St. in Medina.

The winners of the Republican nominations are all but assured election to office since no Democrats filed to run for those positions in the November General Election.

Judith Pannebaker, who moderated the forum for the Bandera County Republican Party and the Republican Women of Bandera County, thanked the candidates for their participation, saying they made a thoughtful presentation to a crowd of about 100.