Victoria county commissioner candidate withdraws from race

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Jan. 9, 2014 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 9, 2014 at 7:10 p.m.

The race for Precinct 2 Victoria county commissioner is uncontested.

Jerry Pearce, 58, withdrew from the Republican primary Wednesday, but his name will still be on the ballot.

Pearce recently retired as a training specialist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture after 36 years. Groups such as the De-Go-La Resource Conservation are now soliciting his help with other projects in the region.

"When I filed for the race, I thought I was going to have adequate time to perform the commissioner's duties, but since filing, I have found out that I actually have some other obligations," Pearce said Thursday. "I would rather go ahead and withdraw from the race than, I guess you could say, not serve the taxpayers and voters in Precinct 2 like I should.

"I feel like to really do a good job at being a commissioner you need to dedicate time to it. In Victoria County, that's probably full time," Pearce added.

He said he was qualified for the position because of his management experience. He wanted to improve the precinct's infrastructure, and he has taught grant writing in the past, among other things.

"One thing that I've always believed is a sign of a healthy community is when you have healthy nonprofit organizations," he said.

With the De-Go-La Resource Conservation, Pearce helped get the county's volunteer fire departments assessed and developed recommendations on how they could lower their insurance service office numbers.

If the departments could lower their International Organization for Standardization, which is graded on a variety of factors, such as their water supply, training and equipment, homeowners insurance premiums decreased, Pearce said.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Janak wished Pearce and his family the best.

"I respect Mr. Pearce for putting his name on the ballot. I think that's a great thing. It's nice when people get involved; plus, it's the American way," Janak said Thursday.

Janak was elected seven years ago.

During an election, he is reminded to tout the precinct's accomplishments, he said.

"What happens when you're in office is you're constantly working and being focused on projects. Sometimes, you overlook things. You need the people you work for to give you a call and ask questions," Janak said.

There are 144 miles of road in Precinct 2, and he and his staff are always evaluating them for safety.

Each commissioner is given anywhere from $185,000 to $200,000 a year to redo roads in their precinct. That means about 4 miles of road are improved in Precinct 2 each year, he said.

Janak declined to say which road is going to be the top priority for improvement in 2014 because traffic patterns change, especially with the opening of West High School and Cade Middle School.

But bridges on Kohutek and Oliver roads will be replaced in 2015 and 2016, respectively. A third bridge replacement on Raab Road also is in the works.

"I love my job," said Janak, who is also an operator at a coal-fired plant. "When you love something so much, you have the drive to get whatever it is done."

Pearce added, "I look forward to serving the community in a different capacity, and hopefully, my efforts will be fruitful."



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