Voters in Angelina County will decide on three contested races in the upcoming 2020 Republican Primary. Early voting begins Tuesday.

In the Precinct 1 Commissioner’s race, incumbent Greg Harrison is facing Steve Allen and John Vaughn. Those candidates responded to three questions from The Lufkin Daily News.

Each candidate was sent three questions and given the same amount of time to respond, and each responded in his own words. Responses are listed in alphabetical order.

Question 1: Tell us about yourself. We want to know about your family and your work experience especially.

Allen: I was born and raised in Angelina County. I am a 1979 graduate of Central High School. I began my career with the Texas Department of Transportation in 1980 as a Maintenance Technician. In 1990, I was promoted to a crew chief position, which I held until 1997. I was then named the Assistant Maintenance Supervisor. In 2004, I was again promoted to the position of Maintenance Supervisor. I served the remainder of my TXDOT career as Maintenance Supervisor until my retirement in 2010.

I have a strong background in roadway construction and maintenance. My background includes specific knowledge in coordinating and implementing emergency responses to inclement weather, flooding, and accidents, as well as hazardous spills on roadways. I am able to effectively communicate with the general public in order to handle complaints and concerns. During my 30-year career with TXDOT, I was responsible for the planning and scheduling of all work done in the Angelina County maintenance section of the Lufkin District. I also have extensive knowledge in the preparation and execution of large budgets and budgeting compliance, as I was required to prepare and manage multi-million dollar budgets annually during my time at TXDOT. Additionally, I was responsible for supervising anywhere from 16-21 employees.

I have previously had the privilege to serve as the Precinct 1 County Commissioner from April 2013 to December 2015 after being appointed in order to fill an un-expired term.

I am currently serving as a board member of the Central Water Control and Improvement District.

I have been married to my wife Sally for 34 years. We have one daughter, Ashli. Ashli is married to Jay Vinson and they have blessed us with three beautiful grandchildren: Brylie, Bryson, and Brystol.

Harrison: My name is Greg Harrison. I am seeking reelection to the Office of Angelina county Commissioner, Precinct 1. It has been my honor and privilege to represent and serve the citizens of Central, Hudson, Pollok and all of Angelina County for the last five years. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve you for four more years.

I have been a resident of Angelina County for almost 60 years. My wife, Vivian and I have been married for 41 years. We are blessed with two wonderful sons and daughter-in-laws, Gregory and his wife, Rebecca, Joshua and his wife, Heather and four precious grandchildren, Lorilynn, Abigale, Silas and Hattie.

I currently serve Angelina County as a member of the Lufkin Hosts Lions Club, a board member of the George H. Henderson Expo Center and a board member of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments.

Each year, county commissioners are required to attend training to obtain knowledge and skills to govern and execute the laws, policies and procedures of local government. In October 2019, upon completion of the required training hours, I received the commissioners Court Advanced Curriculum Certificate presented by the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas.

I have worked for myself and others in the field of maintenance, preventative maintenance and welding fabrication for the majority of my life. Experience in running a local fabrication shop for over 15 years and working for myself taught me the importance of creating a budget and managing daily expenses, the necessity of equipment maintenance, the skills to manage and supervise a crew, the ability to work well with others buy listening and working to resolve issues and by treating everyone with dignity and respect.

Vaughn: John Vaughn is excited to have the opportunity to become the next Angelina County Commissioner for Precinct 1. He and his beautiful wife Amanda live north of Lufkin in Idlewood with their two busy sons, Hunter and Cullen.

Vaughn proudly boasts having been born and raised in the area where he graduated from Lufkin High School and later met the love of his life. He and his wife have enthusiastically chosen to extend the experience of being raised in this tight-knit community to their young boys. With the foundation of faith, hard work and dedication, Vaughn has been a solid part of Lufkin’s business community for almost two decades.

As an active member of the Idlewood Homeowners Association, Vaughn has been involved in his immediate community for several years. Deciding to run for County Commissioner is just one more way he can continue to support his friends, neighbors and colleagues. Vaughn is passionate about bringing positive change, while keeping taxes low and making ongoing improvements.

Vaughn has more than 18 years of experience running a business. His experience ranges from rolling up his sleeves and taking charge in the day-to-day operations to managing employees and equipment. He has the knowledge to properly get the job done and keep expenses within the allotted budget. Vaughn has a successful and diverse background in various areas of business and has developed a unique skill set as a result. As your County Commissioner, he is willing and eager to put these skills to work for his hometown community.

Question 2: Why are you running for commissioner?

Allen: I am running for County Commissioner because I believe my experience and knowledge would be a great asset to the Commissioners Court and represent the citizens of Angelina County in a manner that stands up for the taxpayers and ensures that their tax dollars are wisely spent.

I would love the opportunity to give back to my community and personally invest in making it a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

Harrison: I am running for reelection to the Office of Angelina County Commissioner, Precinct 1 to continue serving and representing the citizens in Central, Hudson, Pollok and all of Angelina County. I want to continue to work with the county judge, county commissioners and our local city officials to bring more businesses back into Angelina County. I also want to continue to work with the county officials to find funding solutions, either through grants or other means, which can be used to rebuild and repair county roads in Precinct 1 and throughout Angelina County.

Vaughn: Vaughn always leads by example, leaving his employees motivated to follow his lead and do the job right the first time. In creating this positive environment, Vaughn believes we will successfully save money, time and make our community a better place to live. It is this core foundation that Vaughn would like to use to manage Angelina County Precinct 1. With Vaughn as your County Commissioner, you can rest easy knowing that no shortcuts were taken under his watch and that your tax dollars were well spent. Most Precinct 1 needs for Angelina County is maintaining the lowest tax rate possible while still accomplishing our goals. Being a tax payer myself I empathize with tax payer wanting to keep taxes low and making the right choices to make that happen.

Vaughn won’t give up in fighting for what is best for Angelina County Precinct 1. As your County Commissioner, he will work to ensure only the best for the residents he represents. Vaughn is determined to do an outstanding job for his community, and do it right the first time.

When you go to the ballot box, remember John Vaughn, his ethics and values, as you cast your vote for Angelina County Commissioner — Precinct 1.

Question 3: What is the most pressing issue facing Angelina County?

Allen: In my opinion, one of the most pressing issues facing Angelina County is the disrepair of our county roads. Having retired from TxDOT as the Maintenance Supervisor for the Lufkin District, I developed a thorough knowledge of what is needed to improve the safety and quality of our roadways in ways that are cost effective and efficient.

Another pressing issue is economic development and making sure that Angelina County is attracting businesses that will grow our tax dollars as well as bring jobs to our citizens.

One other concern is the safety of the citizens of Angelina County. I will support our law enforcement and emergency services so that they have what they need to ensure that the citizens are cared for and well protected.

Lastly, as a fiscally conservative commissioner, I will use my experience and knowledge to address the county’s complex budget decisions with a commitment to keep our taxes low while working to make sure our county government is more efficient and effective in these challenging economic times.

I would appreciate your vote so that I can faithfully serve the people of Angelina County.

Harrison: In my opinion, the conditions of our county roads is the most pressing issue facing this county. In 2019, The Lufkin Daily News conducted an on-line poll asking the citizens of Angelina County to vote on the seven issues facing the county judge and the county commissioners. Receiving over 50% of the votes was the issue of road conditions. Every year the county commissioners fight an uphill battle to maintain county roads. The battle is the budget constraints the county commissioners operate under, which is six cents on the dollar, split between all four county precincts. This year the Precinct 1 budget to repair or rebuild roads was $1,130 per mile. This funding clearly limits the amount of materials that can be purchased to repair county roads for Precinct 1 and across this county.

However, county commissioners cannot look at one department by turning a blind eye to the needs of our other 32 departments. Many of our departments are facing funding issues too. It will take experience and skills to resolve the issues facing our county. I am asking for the opportunity to continue to work and resolve these issues for you. Please cast your vote to re-elect me to the office of Angelina County Commissioner, Precinct 1 to complete the work we’ve started.

Vaughn: It is Vaughn’s belief that maintaining the roads is important for current residents, but it is also a key factor in attracting new homeowners and growing the northern portion of Angelina County. Vaughn plans on ensuring that your roads are safe and well maintained while making sure your hard-earned tax dollars are used efficiently.

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