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Candidate promises new vision, leadership

By BY BEN ZELLER
Feb. 26, 2014 at 6:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 25, 2014 at 8:26 p.m.

Ben Zeller, GOP Victoria County judge candidate

Victoria County voters have a historic opportunity this year to elect a Republican county judge for the first time since Reconstruction.

The county judge serves as our county's chief administrator and budget officer, and I entered this race to bring a new vision and new leadership for Victoria County. I hold a bachelor's degree in business and an MBA and have taught business courses at Victoria College. I'm a financial professional and currently serve as a senior loan officer at TDECU. I have a strong background in finance and budgeting and will work hard to cut county taxes and eliminate wasteful government spending. As a husband and father, I'm committed to stewardship and doing things right for the next generation.

I've been active in Republican and pro-life causes since my early teens and helped elect numerous conservative Republican candidates to local and statewide offices. I currently represent Victoria and 20 surrounding counties as an elected member of the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC). I was the youngest member of the SREC when elected in 2010 and was part of the group that helped turn the Republican Party of Texas around financially from running budget deficits to having a surplus. Given the size and multimillion dollar budget of the party, this was no small task. I'm proud of the job we did in turning the party around, and I'm ready to go to work for the people of Victoria County.

I saw that Republicans deserved a choice in that 2010 election, and they deserve a choice in this current election. After being encouraged by many friends and local leaders to run for county judge, I decided to step up to the plate. I'll bring the conservative principles of stewardship, hard work and faith that my parents instilled in me to the courthouse. I don't believe that local government should be run only by a select few or dominated by special interests. It's vital to embrace the ideals of our Founding Fathers and remember that engaged citizens, not career politicians, create good government.

Victoria County is at a crossroads, and it's time to change gears. The incumbent county judge raised property tax rates by more than 10 percent in the first county budget he prepared after taking office in 2003. Since then, the county's total annual budget has exploded from around $31,000,000 to nearly $53,000,000. This represents a spending increase of more than 70 percent on the incumbent county judge's watch. Unlike the incumbent, I didn't need years of active involvement in the Democratic Party to realize that tax-and-spend approaches are wrong for our country, state and communities. For me, the conservative principles laid out in the Republican Party platform stand for something. Things like stewardship, transparency and accountability are nonnegotiable.

The county judge sets many priorities for county government, and fighting for the citizens of Victoria County will be my top priority. As county judge, I'll bring the energy needed to try innovative, new things to make county government more efficient and responsive. I'll have an open-door policy as county judge and be accessible to everyone. I believe in leading by example and that collaboration and teamwork are vital to long-term success. I have the energy, work ethic and drive to be an effective county judge and give hard-working taxpayers the kind of conservative leadership they deserve.

The office of county judge is one of service and trust, and nobody in this race will work harder than I will to earn that trust. Please stand with me in this Republican primary and vote Ben Zeller for Victoria County judge.

Ben Zeller is a candidate for the Victoria County judge nomination in the Republican primary election on March 4. Voters can contact him with questions or comments at 361-649-7932 or by email at benzeller03@yahoo.com.

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