Republican businessman Hal Richards has officially announced his intentions to run for Kaufman County Judge in the 2018 GOP Primary.
With the retirement of incumbent Bruce Wood, the county will have a new executive for the first time since 2011.
Richards said he believes in order for Kaufman County to prepare for future growth and plan for infrastructure needs, it is critical to elect a County Judge with deep experience as a businessman.“We should take some lessons from the business world and apply them to government institutions” Richards said.
“With limited resources, you’re forced to set priorities and then stick with them. The county should zone-in on the core services that citizens expect like safe roads, top-flight law enforcement, and an efficient court system. After that, it should cultivate a low-tax, low-regulation environment and get out of the way to allow the private sector to expand and create quality jobs here.”
Richards has owned and operated two successful businesses in Kaufman County since 1981. He said the key to his success in business has been surrounding himself with well-trained, hardworking people and developing a culture of excellence in customer service.
“In the private sector, a customer can take their business elsewhere if they aren’t happy with what you have on offer,” continued Richards. “That forces a business to go the extra mile to ensure customers are satisfied. Unfortunately, taxpayers don’t have the same choice. They can’t go somewhere else to get the services government provides. It is incumbent on elected leaders to create culture of excellent customer service.”
Richards is also the former Mayor of Terrell. He was elected in 2007 shortly before the “Great Recession” struck. In the years that followed, while other cities raised their tax rates to compensate for the severe loss of revenue that accompanied the recession, Richards led the City’s effort to live within its means.
“Raising taxes on people who had just lost their jobs or on businesses struggling through the recession seemed like a wrong-headed way of approaching a revenue shortfall,” Richards explained. “Businesses and hard-working families were doing more with less, so why shouldn’t city government do the same? Sure, we had to make some tough choices, but so did everyone else, and we came out on the other side as a stronger community because we did it together.”
During his tenure as mayor, Richards encouraged a culture of customer service and pushed a “get it done” approach. They put a new team in place, including a new city manager and several new department heads, including those in Municipal Development and at the Terrell Police Department, which was transformed into a modern, highly-professional law enforcement agency. He also negotiated the construction of Buc-ees, worked with TxDOT to finally complete the Highway 34 Bypass, implemented a Building Standards Commission to get rid of dangerous and uninhabitable buildings, and upgraded emergency communications.
“I’ve committed myself to the betterment of Kaufman County for the past thirty-five years. I am proud of my record, but I also know that the challenges ahead are great. Kaufman is the fourth-fastest growing county in the state, so the choices we make in the coming years will determine whether or not our children inherit a safe, pro-business, pro-family, Kaufman County. We must plan for the coming growth, while at the same time protect our unique quality of life that makes people want to move here in the first place.”
Richards holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University where he was also a member of the Corps of Cadets and the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. He and his wife Christi, a former first grade teacher in both Terrell ISD and Forney ISD, are the proud parents of three sons and became grandparents for the first time earlier in September. The Richards’ are active in their Church and avid supporters of the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, Education Excellence Foundation, and other local charities. Richards is enthusiastic about aviation and aviation history and is a licensed pilot.
To find out more about Hal Richards and his campaign for county judge, please visit www.HalRichardsforJudge.com.