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Victoria County Commissioner Precinct 3 Republican Primary questionnaires

May 17, 2012 at 12:17 a.m.

Gary Burns

Editor's Note: Early voting is May 14-25 for the May 29 general election. To help our readers learn more about candidates in the contested races, we will publish responses to the League of Women Voters questionnaire. Candidates Gary Burns and Gary Charbula respond today.

• Name: Gary Burns

• Age: 59

• Occupation: Commissioner

Background and Qualifications:

I am a father, husband, businessman, and taxpayer. I was raised working on ranches in the hill country. I worked my way through college and graduated with a degree in business. I have four great children: Lindy, Danielle, Nick, and Sydney. One granddaughter - Parusha and am married to J.R. Burns.

Why are you seeking this office?

I made promises when I was first hired (elected). I promised to be an advocate for attracting new business to Victoria. I recognized the potential of our airport and worked to clean up and develop this great resource. I have worked to establish a Groundwater Conservation District. It is essential to protect and maintain control of our water. I have worked to ensure our law enforcement and fire departments have the tools and resources needed. I have helped establish a grant department, which has obtained millions of dollars in funds. It sounds corny but I want to make a difference.

What is your vision for our county and what steps would you take to get us there?

Victoria is blessed. I see a bright future for our city. I see tremendous economic development and growth: a chance to provide a bright future for our children. I see a quality of life envied all over this great State and Nation. This has to not only include great job opportunities, but a tremendous medical community, major educational facilities (schools, community college, major university presence and job training). Also included are fine arts, recreation, churches and a population excited and proud of what has been accomplished. Also, a City and County working together to keep moving forward.

Answer was cut because it exceeded word limit.

What challenges does our county face and how would you address them?

With our growth, we have to be prepared for the need of more and better services. We preach smaller government, but not inferior or inadequate service. We are facing rising fuel and material costs. We have quality personnel and have to take care of them. Plan and be prepared.

What opportunities do you see for the County to increase revenues and reduce expenses?

With the expected growth and increased need for services, this will be a challenge. I always stress using sound business practices. We are not allowed to generate profit in the government. We can, however, offset expenses. We need to consider partnering with private businesses. We need to look for duplication of services: ex. City/County. We need to keep after the State and Federal government to stop them from passing down unfunded mandates. Experienced, successful business men and women on our boards and committees are essential. Pursue grants and be willing to invest in our future. Be proactive, not just reactive.

• Name: Gary Charbula

• Age: 53

• Occupation: Business owner

Background and Qualifications:

I have been in the construction trade for over 30 years, self employed for 23 years as a electrical contractor, and a member of ABC and the Tea Party. I have worked with every major architect, engineer, and general contractor in the area, and worked with VISD School District on multimillion dollar construction projects.

Why are you seeking this office?

I am a life long resident of Victoria for the last 51 years, and I feel that the tax payers have been taxed enough already. Anyone can raise property values to meet a budget, it's about maintaining a budget without raising taxes. If you spend more than you take in you have a problem.

What is your vision for our county and what steps would you take to get us there?

My vision for Victoria is to have the university expand, and have major manufacturing industries locate to the area to have a diversified economy. The county needs a major water park for entertainment and create more jobs in the county. Also, work with Calhoun in the future on the Barge Canal to keep cost down.

What challenges does our county face and how would you address them?

The challenges Victoria will face is traffic flow around the loop and high schools, and utility services as Victoria's population and businesses expand. The county and city will have to join together to keep cost down. Victoria needs to have Deep Waste Injection Wells come through the county not just the Railroad Commission to protect water systems.

What opportunities do you see for the County to increase revenues and reduce expenses?

With the Eagle Ford Shale, Caterpillar, and Formosa expansions revenues will increase on there own. To reduce cost the county and the City of Victoria need to consolidate. We need to look into a bio-diesel plant to save on fuel cost.

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