Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long, who is running for her fourth four-year term in Precinct 2, is facing a challenge from former sheriff’s deputy Bart Turek in the Republican primary in March.
The winner will face a Democratic opponent, Kasey Redus, in November.
Long, 55, said she has a proven track record of getting transportation projects done in the county and a business background that helps her understand how to work with the county’s budget.
“I’ve been a leader in transportation and been successful in helping bring in tens of millions of dollars to Williamson County transportation projects,” she said.
Turek, 47, said he has been involved in several budget discussions, including one in 2000 about putting laptops in patrol cars when he was a sheriff’s deputy.
“I am a firm believer that the good old boy system should not play any part in politics, and I’ve seen that it does,” he said. “I also tell folks I’m not a politician nor do I want to be a politician.”
Turek started as a Lago Vista police officer in 1994 before becoming a Williamson County sheriff’s deputy in 1997. He was the deputy coordinator at Williamson County’s emergency management office from 2013 to 2015.
Turek said he decided to run for political office for the first time because he thinks he can do a “little bit better job” on some of the issues the Commissioners Court has handled, including the parking garage at the Williamson County Justice Center.
“The county hired a company to build the garage and then couldn’t use the top floor because it wasn’t structurally sound,” he said.
The garage, which was built in 2003 for $5 million, closed in January 2011 after the county found several cracks. The county sued several people involved in the construction, and the garage has since been fixed and reopened.
Turek also said he would like to re-establish communication between the Commissioners Court and the cities in Precinct 2, including Leander, Cedar Park and Liberty Hill. People from those areas have told him they can’t get a commissioner to speak with them about problems, Turek said.
“I want people to know when I get elected all they have to do is pick up the phone and say, ‘Bart we need to talk,’ and we will talk face to face,” he said.
Long said the county made the decision to build the parking garage before she was first elected. She also said she is available to talk with anyone on the phone or in person who calls her.
“I would be hard-pressed to find someone who could not get a meeting with me,” she said.
She also said the county has held open houses on transportation projects to get public comments, including a recent one in the U.S. 183 area north of Texas 29. “We go out of our way to get comments from folks about projects,” she said.
The county also has partnered with the cities of Leander, Liberty Hill and Cedar Park to pay for road projects in their areas, Long said.
She said her business background, such as owning a consulting business whose clients included airlines and manufacturing companies, helps her manage the county’s budget.