Kelly Kovar – Candidate for Ellis County Judge
Ellis County Press Questions
1. Top three platform issues? 1-Government by principal. 2-A proactive stance against crime. 3-Reject federal stimulius money.
First, I believe that the way to make decisions about issues is to know what you believe about principles. As a candidate for County Judge, I freely share with Ellis County citizens what my principals are and they can be confident that any decisions which I am required to address as County Judge will be based on these underlying principals. 1) I believe that all people, from the unborn to the elderly, are intrinsically valuable. 2) I believe that the individual has the responsibility to take care of himself and his family as well as the moral obligation to help his fellow man. 3) I believe that people groups should not be oppressed or denied basic human rights because of ethnicity or gender. 4) I believe that our government has been entrusted with our tax dollars and thus has the inherent duty to provide a strong defense on a national level and ethical and effective law enforcement on the county level. 5) I believe that government does not have the right to impose regulations on citizens that infringe their personal liberties, including undue taxation or regulations pertaining to education, health, property and gun rights, or the restriction of the free exercise of religion. 6) And, I believe our country was established with documents that assert that the belief in God is a foundational principle of our governmental system.
Second, I would like to see the County Judge take a proactive stance in dealing with the criminal element in Ellis County. This is the biggest county budget item and with the trend in our society and the continuance of Ellis County becoming a target for metroplex area criminals, this situation can continue to grow and dominate our budget. The County Judge needs to give the sheriff’s department and local law enforcement agencies the utmost support in making Ellis County a place which does not invite crime. This can be accomplished by establishing a Citizens’ Crime Commission which will consist of volunteer participates drawn from every area of the community: business, law enforcement, county officials, churches, non-profits, etc. These citizens, under the blessing of the County Judge, can work together to provide education for citizens about crime prevention. They can work to offer speakers and facilitate training to law enforcement. They can work with young people to educate them about the law and the benefits of being a law-abiding citizen. They can work with local business to encourage a community spirit of watchfulness. They can, as volunteers, encourage a spirit of cooperation between citizens, and law enforcement which will improve the safety of citizens, property and law enforcement personnel.
Third, Federal Stimulus money that is offered generally is accompanied by Federal mandates which are not necessarily beneficial to Ellis County. The County Judge can voice objections to accepting federal stimulus money to NTCOG, and to State government. Any mandates that come with federal money that require rolling the program into the county budget the next year, and being paid for by county tax money should be rejected. For example, when FEMA funds come to Ellis County for road and bridge repair, the County should insure openness and transparency to the taxpayers regarding what mandates the money entails.
2. Why are you seeking this position? I have 35 years of business experience as an operations manager, purchasing manager and editor. An ongoing interest and concern for local and national politics has always been forefront in my mind, and the intention to run for County Judge has been a long-held aspiration. The current political climate in the country and the county has led me to feel strongly that this is the time to step forward and offer myself for public service. My deep love for Ellis County has grown immensely over the last five years, during which I served as an editor and writer for a local media, doing feature writing. In that capacity, it has been my privilege to travel throughout Ellis County and listen to the stories of local workers, politicians, educators, business people, youth, musicians, artists and ranchers. I have listened to the stories of literally hundreds of local citizens and heard of their individual struggles and successes, their concerns and their needs. I still want to hear people’s stories, and I still want to be their voice. But, I need to take that voice out of the pages of a magazine and into the public arena because I believe that the true voice of the people is not being heard and represented by government. So, I decided, with the support of my husband and family, to run for Ellis County Judge.
3. What are your goals for the first three months in office you would like to see accomplished? Inform the public. Involve the public. Appear in public.
The business of the County is the business of the people. As County Judge, I would like to make the agenda for Commissioner’s Court and the schedule for Commissioner’s Court more available to the public. One method for doing this would be to have a monthly column from the county judge to the citizens of Ellis County, which would keep people updated in a readable format about issues facing the county and would clarify exactly when those issues would be on the court agenda. This letter could be posted online, but more importantly could be made available to local media outlets to publish if they choose to.
Citizen involvement is one of the aspects of county government which is closest to my heart. Commissioners’ Court is the venue where citizens can interact with county government and become involved with issues which affect them personally. With court being held at 10 A.M. on the second Monday and at 6 P.M. on the fourth Monday, there is no time when citizens with regular 9-5 jobs can attend court. By the time someone getting off work at 5 or 5:30 gets off work, especially if they work in Dallas, or far away from the courthouse, they don’t have time to get to court by 6 P.M. Moving the court time to evening meetings held at 7 p.m. would make meetings more accessible to citizens.
As I have visited in the county recently, one thing I have frequently heard is that different areas of the county want to see the county judge actually taking the time to make appearances throughout the different towns in the county. As County Judge, I would make it a regular habit to be aware of events and gatherings throughout the area, and take the time to go to the different towns in Ellis County to attend events and actually be available, outside of the office, to listen to the citizens.
4. Tell the readers a little about yourself.
I was born, the fourth of five children, to Clois and Nancy Rainwater, in 1959. My parents met at Texas Tech and married after my father’s graduation. My paternal grandfather, Roscoe Rainwater, was a banker and business owner, who survived the depression. My maternal grandfather, Joe S. McIlhaney, owned McIlhaney Creamery which produced dairy products during and after WWII. My father’s career in the Boy Scouts of America gave me a childhood which involved moving several times and emphasized to me the continuity of the American experience. From my father I, of course, learned to “Be Prepared,” the Boy Scout motto. I also saw a man who had served in the South Pacific during WWII come home to a country that offered economic freedom for those who were willing to work hard and take responsibility for themselves. His philosophy of personal sacrifice and thriftiness has given me the courage to do what has to be done during the hard times of life. I have lost both of my parents since this race for County Judge began - my father to advanced Alzheimer’s Disease and my mother to a brain aneurism. But, the faith, optimism and love of both my parents enabled me to grow into an adult with unflagging perseverance, integrity and loyalty to my God and my country.
During high school, I found a life-long inspiration in Ronald Reagan, who was campaigning for the upcoming Republican nomination for president. His political ideology voiced what was in my heart – limited government, a strong national defense, individual liberty, right-to-life, and the restoration of self-respect and dignity to every American. I earned a B.A. at the University of North Texas, in Political Science, studying criminal justice, legal systems, Constitutional issues, the courts and the American political system. An academic emphasis in mass media and international relations gave me the foundation to pursue a career in writing. Over the years, I have continued to broaden my education with a class in public administration at UNT, and countless continuing education credits in mental health, substance abuse issues, community organization, and coalition building.
Since the 1970s I have been an active, registered Republican, serving as a page at a Texas State Republican Convention, and serving with the Young Republicans in Dallas as a volunteer coordinator for the Republican Convention Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast, at which President Ronald Reagan was our honored guest. It was my privilege to assist with the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas and to attend the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans.
I have been a regular voter, and have frequently attended precinct meetings, and served as a Precinct Convention officer. In 2000 I worked with the Dallas Young Republicans at the 2001 George W. Bush Inaugural Ball, providing security during Bush’s attendance at the Dallas Ball.
Since moving to Ellis County in 1999, I have been heavily involved in the community, currently serving my second year as the Ennis Tourism Commission President. I was nominated by Ennis Mayor Russell Thomas to the Commission and elected by unanimous vote to be President of the Commission. I also serve as a founding Board Member for the Impact Ennis Coalition, and was a member of the original Executive Committee, serving as Secretary of the Board.
Promoting arts and culture in Ellis County is a priority for me. As a founding Board Member of Inspiration Inc., a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for children and adults to participate in artistic expression and promotes cultural diversity in the arts, I have participated in productions in Ennis and Waxahachie. I am also an active participant in the Ennis Public Theatre and Warehouse Living Arts Center.
A commitment to providing quality education for both my own family and students throughout the County is important to me. I have served as the Home Education Event Coordinator for Homeschool Outreach Ministry of Ennis and as an instructor for the homeschool co-op, Christians On Duty. I homeschooled two children, one of whom is now preparing for a career in chemistry and the other to be a professional musician. With my husband Dirk and my family, I am an active member of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Ennis. My husband’s family has been in Ennis since the early 1900s and we are currently in the process of restoring his family’s farmhouse.
5. Any additional comments. Campaign Web site: www.kellykovar.com
Setting goals is not just about what we want from life – it is about what the world needs from us. I have a passion for seeing the principles of freedom and individual liberty, which are blessed by God, insured for all people. I believe that as County Judge I will bring my ability to sincerely listen to and care about what you, the citizens of Ellis County, are saying, and represent that voice in County government. This nation, founded on the principle of individual liberty, will remain great only as long as it is fueled by the individual. Liberty is not born in the seat of government, but in the heart of man.