Gray County commissioner candidates make case at Monday’s forum
The Gray County Republican Party hosted their annual candidates forum to inform area voters about the candidates on the ballot for the upcoming primary election.
Those present at the forum included United States Congress Texas representatives for District 13 candidates, Gray County commissioners candidates, Gray County sheriff candidates, court of the appeals candidates and more.
This article will highlight the county commissioner candidates for precincts one and three.
Candidates were given three minutes to introduce themselves followed by a question and answer session where they were given one minute to respond.
Gray County commission precinct one
Logan Hudson — Logan Hudson said he is running for election to bring the “highest possible good to Gray County.” He then introduced his wife before talking about himself.
“We’ve lived in Gray County since 2002,” Hudson said. “I moved here with my mom and dad, Stan and Patti Hudson in 1985 and graduated Pampa High School in 1991.”
Hudson obtained a peace officers license in 1995. He went to work at the Ochiltree County Sheriff’s Office for two years before becoming a game warden from 1999-2016, working in Gray County for 14 of those years.
“After leaving the Parks and Wildlife Department, I started a government affairs consulting business and did that for three years until February 2019 when we started Steel Horse Outfitters motorcycle repair shop and Top O’ Texas Motorcycle Training,” Hudson said. “So I am a small-business owner and understand what it takes to operate within a budget.”
Hudson has served on a number of boards including the Texas Game Warden Association, Five-State Game Warden Association and the Miami Independent School District board of trustees.
“We have to determine what the highest possible good is and finding out what is keeping us from that highest possible good,” Hudson said. “When you figure out what your separation is you have to establish clear steps to get you there. There is never any change unless you establish clear steps to get you where you need to go.”
Archie Summers — Archie Summers is a Lefors resident who currently is a production technician at Pantex and has been employed there for 16 years. Summers was born and raised in Pampa and has lived in the area all of his life. Summers said he has always enjoyed serving the community.
“I’ve been involved in public service for a number of years in a variety of positions,” Summers said. “After learning that Joe Wheeley was retiring from his position and not seeking re-election, I decided this would give me the opportunity to serve Gray County in a greater way.”
Summers moved to Mobeetie in 1980 and served at the volunteer fire department, school district’s board of trustees and was interim mayor.
He moved to Lefors in 1989 and volunteered for the fire department and EMS where he received his state EMT license and served as EMT, firefighter, assistant chief and chief.
“I was fire chief during the 2006 wildfires that devastated Gray County and the Texas Panhandle,” Summers said.
“This is where I learned to make split decisions for public safety.”
Summers lives near the Precinct 1 barn and knows many on the Precinct 1 staff. His budget experience comes from serving on the Pamcel board of directors.
Summers said the area has seen it’s fair share of ups and downs, mostly downs, and seen the loss of businesses and residents.
“We must take a look at the entire County budget and find new ideas for various departments,” Summers said.
“The budget is something we must improve continually. We need to all work together to bring back businesses, corporations and industries to Gray County.”
Gray County Commissioner Precinct 3
Neil Fulton — Neil Fulton has served as County Commissioner for Precinct 3 in the past and said he is a born-again Christian before thanking God and introducing his wife and talked about his family.
Fulton has served on the board of directors for the Top O’ Texas Rodeo Association, led the Kid and Pony Show, county commissioner for four years and city commissioner for six years.
“I believe putting the two (county and city) together gives me an advantage to put the right people in the right places,” Fulton said. “I talked to a lot of people in the city when I was a city commissioner whether you lived in my precinct or not. I took care of your problems.”
Fulton recalled bringing his men from the County to the City to aid the City during the ice storm in 2011.
John Mark Baggerman — The incumbent John Mark Baggerman has been a resident of Gray County for 60 years and said his heritage, which traces generations back to the early 1900s, has been a part of the County’s growth through hard work and public service.
Baggerman talked about his family and his various projects with the youth.
“One of the projects I’m most involved in is the 4-H and serving on the board of directors as the commissioners court representative for the White Deer Land Museum,” Baggerman said. “I’m proud to serve on the board of directors (WDLM) during a special time that has seen a growth of exhibit space that I share in the history of Gray County and the Baggerman family.”
Baggerman said as a county commissioner he is involved in several projects that helps the community including Perry Lefors Field, Carruth Pavillion, White Deer Land Museum, Lake McLellan, adult probation, juvenile probation, Gray County 4-H, McLean Airport, TXDoT Aviation, Gray County EMS and more.
“It’s hard to put into words but I like serving the community with many of these organizations and believe Gray County is a great place to live,” Baggerman said.
Question and answer
The first question asked was directed toward Archie Summers and Logan Hudson and asked if County resources could be used to do maintenance work on streets and drainage systems in Lefors.
Summers — Summers said he isn’t familiar with the rules and regulations of using County funds for working in the city of Lefors but does know the streets need help.
“We flood all of the time with rain over two or three inches,” Summers said. “That is something I’d bring to the commissioners court and see what the regulations are.”
Hudson — Hudson that is something that can be done through inter-local agreements.
“It’s been done before with improvements to the parking lot at the football field and a couple of other things,” Hudson said. “It takes an agreement with the county commission and the County gains as much as we spend along with Lefors. Those inter-local agreements will be limited in scope and time as long as the job is accomplished to the benefit of both entities.”
A question was asked what can be done if a department keeps spending more than their allotted budget run by elected officials.
Summers — Summers said the commissioners would have to see what they are spending over budget and determine a way to get that budget down.
Hudson — Hudson said he will never give the “yes” vote to budget that’s inadequate or “over-inflated.”
“I would recommend when you have a problem with somebody, you go to that person,” Hudson said. “I would say the judge and the court meets with that department head/elected official and see if we can come up with some ideas and clear steps to get where we need to go. If that didn’t work I’d open it up to the public for some ideas. After all, it’s you’re money we’re spending.”
Baggerman — Baggerman said he would hope the department head/elected official would come before the Court and explain why they are going over budget before budget season.
Fulton — Fulton said his mother never had anything that wasn’t balanced and recalled a story from his childhood. But, like the others, he said the court and the judge would have to meet with the department and elected official to arrive at a solution.
Early voting starts Tuesday, Feb. 18 and Election Day is March 3.