A slate of new county officials has been sworn in, ushering in a new era for Montgomery County and presenting an opportunity for pro-taxpayer reform.
For as far back as anyone can remember, Montgomery County has been run by a corrupt “good ol’ boys” club. However, that changed when voters in the 2018 Republican Primary swept establishment incumbents out of power and elected a grassroots-aligned slate that ran on reform. These new officials, who were sworn in on the first day of 2019, now have an opportunity to deliver on their campaign promises of ethics and transparency.
The position that presents the biggest opportunity for reform is the election of Mark Keough as county judge. Keough campaigned on a “Contract with Montgomery County” that includes significant reforms on which the court will need to deliver.
Also sworn in was Judge Kristin Bays of the 284th District Court, which is Montgomery County’s civil court. A number of cases important to reformers have come through that court in recent years.
Another important change was the election of a new county treasurer, Melanie Bush, who campaigned on bringing ethics and transparency to the office as it had previously experienced problems in both of those areas. Equally important was the election of reformer Melissa Miller as District Clerk.
Matt Beasley was sworn in as the new Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace in a separate, low-key, midnight ceremony, and got to work immediately in the wee hours of 2019.
The new situation also presents a couple of unknowns. James Metts was sworn in as the new Precinct 4 Commissioner. As the Precinct 4 JP, he has associated with the establishment; however, he does not yet have a record on the court and has avoided public positions on most issues. Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley was re-elected after a spirited challenge by a tea party candidate. However, with Riley’s mentor — former Judge Craig Doyal — now gone, he will have an opportunity to chart his own course if he so chooses.