Hays County Commissioner Will Conley is stepping down from his post to seek the Republican nomination for county judge, he announced Tuesday night at a press conference.
County Judge Bert Cobb has been on leave since August as he battles cancer. Cobb is not seeking re-election when his term expires in 2018, Conley said.
“These are critical times and I’m running for county judge to keep up the fight so our families can enjoy a high quality of life for generations to come,” Conley said.
The Hays County judge is the top administrative official in the county, similar to a mayor, and presides over the commissioners court, which sets the budget and makes policy decisions.
Conley said he will continue to serve as commissioner until Cobb appoints a replacement. That person will have to run on the next available ballot, which will be the March 2018 primary and then November 2018 general election.
Conley was first elected commissioner in 2004 for precinct three, which includes San Marcos and Wimberley.
He is also serving his sixth consecutive year as chair of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, a regional board of officials who focus on transportation issues. He was the group’s first chair to come from outside Travis County.
Conley emphasized in a press release his coordination with the Texas Department of Transportation in securing road project partnerships as one of his major accomplishments.
He often points to the “pass-through” financing reimbursement he worked out from the Texas Department of Transportation for road projects from the county’s 2008 bonds, including improvements to FM 1626 that started last year.
Under the agreement, the county paid for the work, and the state then promised to gradually repay the county $133 million over time as roads meet traffic standards that trigger the reimbursements. Those projects came in under budget, meaning the state will pay the county more than the county actually spent.
Conley lives in Wimberley with his wife, Erin, and three children. He owns and operates an auto services business with locations in Wimberley and Kyle.
He will officially kick off his campaign on Nov. 7 at the Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood.
“I am deeply grateful to this county, and especially the residents of San Marcos and the Wimberley Valley,” Conley said. “Serving this community is the honor of a lifetime, and I am excited about what we can do together in the future.”