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Voters in northern Montgomery County are gearing up for a hotly contested commissioner race in 2020 with the announcement of veteran and nonprofit owner Billy Graff’s candidacy for Precinct 1 Commissioner. Graff joins local businessman Robert Walker in the Republican primary to replace retiring incumbent Mike Meador, who is Walker’s cousin.

Graff is a Marine veteran who went into ministry and has been a chaplain and pastor. He currently runs Connect Outreach, a nonprofit organization that helps people recover from natural disasters. He has lived in Graystone Hills in Conroe since 2017.

“I’ve served this community as a Marine veteran, as a business owner and job creator, a pastor, and now the founder of a nonprofit that serves communities devastated by natural disasters,” Graff said in his campaign announcement. “I want to fight for you as a conservative Republican voice in the county commissioners court.”

Graff says that his campaign platform will focus on lowering property taxes and limiting government spending.

“We must live within our means, refuse to raise taxes one penny on our constituents, and decrease the size of government at every level,” said Graff.

The Precinct 1 election could shift the balance of power in the commissioners court. Many conservative reforms County Judge Mark Keough has attempted to push through have faltered on a 3-2 vote, with Keough and Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack supporting the proposals and the other three commissioners, including Meador, voting them down.

As the cousin of the current county commissioner, Walker has received substantial support from the county’s political establishment. However, Graff’s entry into the race means he will not be unchallenged.

The filing deadline is in December, and several potential candidates are rumored to be considering joining Walker and Graff in the race. Whoever wins the Republican primary will likely coast to victory in this heavily Republican precinct.

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