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Democratic Party nomination for county commissioner Precinct 2 in Calhoun County

Jan. 25, 2014 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 24, 2014 at 7:25 p.m.


Editor's Note: To help voters learn more about the candidates, the Advocate is printing profiles in contested races in the March 4 Democratic and Republican parties primaries. Sunday's profiles spotlight candidates for the Democratic Party nomination for county commissioner Precinct 2 in Calhoun County. The winner of this race will not have a Republican opponent in the Nov. 4 general election.

Michael Balajka

• Age: 48

• City and County of residence: Port Lavaca, Calhoun County

• Occupation: Self-employed

• Political party: Democrat

• Office Seeking: Calhoun County Commissioner Precinct 2

Why do you want to serve in this position?

Serving as commissioner has been a lifelong goal as I enjoy working and doing for others. I want to continue rebuilding our roads to county specifications as I did in the past. We can't continue to put Band-Aids on the problems. This precinct is in dire need of drainage work. My goal is to bring solutions to these problems. I will work with city government to solve mutual drainage problems and be a full-time, on the job commissioner overseeing each job from start to finish. I want to see our tax dollars used more efficiently.

What qualifies you to serve in this office?

I worked five years for Precinct 2 Commissioner Stanley Mikula and 10 years for the sheriff's office in several supervisory positions. I was elected commissioner of Precinct 2 in 1998 and held that position for eight years. I have an associate degree from Victoria College and countless hours of continuing education in county government. Living in Precinct 2 all of my life has given me the ability to have the knowledge and know needs of the area. I continue to stay active in our community and, if given another chance, I assure my constituents a difference in myself and improvements in the precinct.

If elected, how will you go about effectively serving your constituents?

My goals are to rebuild unsafe roads and fix drainage issues to county specifications. I will continue to implement a fire/water storage facility and see that a fire station is built so that expensive county equipment can be stored in a secured dry environment. As commissioner, I plan to maintain a positive work environment within the department while working to create a longevity incentive program for all county employees. There will be very noticeable changes in the precinct from the start, but only with your help can we make this happen.

Phone number, address, email address or website where people can contact you for more information:

• 361-550-9656

• 6149 FM 1090, Port Lavaca, Texas 77979

Vern Lyssy

• Age: 50

• Office Seeking: Calhoun County Commissioner Precinct 2

• Party Affiliation: Democrat

• City and County of residence: Port Lavaca, Calhoun County

• Current Occupation: Incumbent, County County Commissioner, Precinct 2

• E-mail: vllys@aol.com

Why do you want to serve in this office?

Since 2007, the Precinct 2 road and bridge crew and I tackled major projects. We now have better drainage, improved roads, plans to improve other roads and regular maintenance of public properties. Residents have noticed this and appreciate our efforts. Commissioners' court and I have taken a proactive approach to address many issues that threaten the economic health of the county. As a result we have new or improved facilities and infrastructure, including the airport and runways and a stronger fiscal outlook. These relationships with others and accomplishments done as a group are rewarding, and it is my honor to serve Calhoun County residents.

What qualifies you to serve in this position?

I believe professionalism and the ability to manage people and budgets and plan for the future are necessary to serve as county commissioner. Perhaps, though, the most important ability is the ability to serve the public - to listen to the needs of the community, work with others and combine resources to save tax dollars. I believe my seven years as commissioner, previous 20 years in business, where I managed personnel and finances, and my leadership roles, including my position on the finance committee for Our Lady of the Gulf, prove that I am qualified and am willing to put the needs of others ahead of my own.

If elected, how will you go about effectively serving your constituents?

Recent droughts devastated our infrastructure. In response, we have reconstructed and resurfaced many of our roads and will continue to make that a priority until all roads are completed using CERTZ, a new state funding program to replace roads devastated by the drought and overweight vehicle use. We used TxDOT grant monies to replace county bridges and have completed our in-kind work for the final bridge projects that TxDOT has under contract for completion within the next two to three years. Grants funded the airport runway lighting, which is the final upgrade necessary for public safety, and to encourage commerce and tourism at the airport.

Address, phone number, e-mail address and website where the public can learn more about you:

• 680 Hengst Road, Port Lavaca, Texas 77979

• Phone: 361-552-9656

• E-mail: vllys@aol.com

William J. (Bill) Swope

• Age: 60

• City and county of residence: Port Lavaca, Calhoun County

• Occupation: Retired operator from DuPont and Invista

• Political party: Democrat

• Office Seeking: Calhoun County Commissioner Precinct 2

• swopeforcommish@yahoo.com

Why do you want to serve in this position?

I am a retired operator at Invista in Victoria. I have the experience and knowledge to successfully perform the position of Precinct 2 Calhoun County Commissioner. I feel my time in working in the community has been a very fulfilling experience. I look forward to serving in this capacity to bring intelligence and integrity to this office. My experience with budgets and Board protocol will greatly enhance my ability to do this job.

What qualifies you to serve in this office?

I have served on numerous boards in Calhoun County, including the Calhoun County School Board and the Calhoun County Appraisal District Board. In my work at Invista, I acted in the position of planner and scheduler and also worked for 32 years in an environmental capacity. One of my major jobs was controlling the plant's water flows, which will be invaluable as a background for this job. I have always made it a point to learn the laws involved in any office I have performed. If I make a mistake, which we all do, I will acknowledge the fact and do everything I can to correct it.

If elected, how will you go about effectively serving your constituents?

My idea in serving as the Precinct 2 Calhoun County Commissioner is to be on the job daily, studying the needs of my constituents in a way that will be long term improvements. I will see that road work will be done in a way that will have a long-term life expectancy. I feel that anywhere a school bus must go is maintained in such a way that safety and smoothness is a priority. I also understand that farm equipment is hard on roads and that the upkeep is best done in a way that shows long-term improvement.

Phone number, address, email address or website where people can contact you for more information:

• 114 Oak Grove Lane, Port Lavaca, Texas 77979

• Cell Phone: 361-676-2365

• Home Phone: 361-552-6127

• swopeforcommish@yahoo.com

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