Plano resident Mark Reid was a natural choice to lead the Collin County Republican Party when the chairman position opened up earlier this year. The small business owner, community leader, and former Collin County commissioner has lent both his conservative principles and financial acumen to local grassroots activities for years, and he was eager to help lead his local party heading into the 2020 election season.
Yet Reid’s rise through the ranks of Collin County’s conservative politics started from scratch just a decade ago.
An Arkansas native who says he “got to Texas as fast as I could,” Reid grew up in Richardson. After graduating with a degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas Tech University, he began his career at Texas Instruments before founding his own commercial building company, IDEA Construction. Reid married his high-school sweetheart in 1980, and they moved to Plano in 1996 with their two sons.
It wasn’t until 2008, though, that Reid was moved to get actively involved in politics.
“I found myself yelling at the TV as President Bush and Timothy Geithner announced TARP [the Troubled Asset Relief Program bank bailout],” Reid said. “I did not believe that was what our country needed, and I vowed to ‘run for Congress and show those people how a businessman would handle the problem.’” He acknowledges it wasn’t a very practical plan, but he was determined to get involved and make a difference.
Shortly after making that declaration, Reid went to a TEA Party gathering in Plano and saw all kinds of people who, like him, were tired of the federal government’s tax-and-spend policies. Since then, Reid says he’s been doing all he can to help stop the erosion of liberty and advance the concept of small government and personal responsibility.
“I believe in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the principles on which these two documents are based,” he said. “Our Founding Fathers got it right. In my lifetime, we’ve lost our way.”
“I’ve spent the last 10 years working towards the small government principles that I support,” Reid added.
That work has included actively participating in local government. After serving on the Collin County Planning Board from 2011-2013 (a position he returned to in 2017), Reid was appointed in 2013 to fill an unexpired term on the Collin County Commissioners Court.
At the city level, Reid founded and led the Plano Citizens’ Coalition, a group of civically engaged residents who advocate for limited government, fiscal responsibility, and transparency within the city and school district. The group also initiated a Citizens’ Budget Committee to review the city’s spending habits and recommend efficiencies.
Reid has been a driving force behind several other local and state grassroots groups as well.
Since 2010, Reid has also been involved in the Collin County Republican Party, serving in positions from precinct and caucus chair to technology vice chair to treasurer, working on a variety of committees, campaigning for candidates, and acting as a delegate to several conventions at the local, state, and national levels. The party’s executive committee selected Reid as county chair in May of this year.
“I want smaller government focused on its core functions at every level,” Reid said of his grassroots involvement.
“I want churches, nonprofits, and individuals to take care of their fellow citizens in need, rather than expanding the welfare state. I want to return to the pride and dignity of self-reliance and hard work. Government is not the solution to our problems. In fact, government is the problem. Government at all levels is too big, too intrusive, and is systematically taking away our liberty, our God given rights. We have to push back.”
Reid’s work was recognized in 2018 with a Conservative Leader Award. CLA recipients are nominated by their fellow citizens for their leadership in fighting for a stronger Texas.
For other Texans looking to make a difference, Reid recommends they study history, look around, and get involved. “I got involved because of fiscal issues, but I’ve learned about so many other things over the last 10 years,” Reid said. “There are all sorts of clubs you can join and learn about our great nation and the political process. They’re great places to make friends and meet our representatives.”
“You can spend as much or as little time as you like, but do something,” he added. “If you see a need, if you have an issue, take the time to work on it yourself. Recruit like-minded people to join you. Take personal responsibility for making a positive change.”
Reid also reminds people to vote. ”If we don’t vote, then our voice is silenced.” Naturally, Reid encourages Texans to vote Republican and to participate in primary elections.
Between volunteering and running his business, Reid says he doesn’t have much free time, but he has always loved flying and is building a two-seater airplane to travel in with his wife. As a leader in Collin County heading into a big election year, Reid will likely have even less free time than usual. As he says, fighting for liberty is a 24/7/365 battle.