After serving on the Denton County Commissioners’ Court for the past 11 years, Andy Eads, 46, has thrown his hat into the race for County Judge.
After announcing his candidacy on Dec. 2 and filing with the GOP on Dec. 4, Eads will be running unopposed for the Republican nomination. The winner of the general election next November will replace County Judge Mary Horn, who is leaving the position after having served for 16 years.
A conservative, Eads emphasized his priorities will be maintaining a small but efficient government. He said he will look to keep Denton County at a low tax rate and continue to help the county bring in business.
“[One of my priorities] as county judge would be to grow our commercial tax base,” Eads said. “This would relieve the property tax burden on our homeowners and lower the property tax rate for everyone, even commercial.”
Eads added prioritizing this would help attract jobs to the area.
In terms of budget, Eads said he wants to focus on continuing to fund public safety and first responders, which he called a core function of county government.
He also wants to address the transportation system, as well as continue improving county roads, bridges and the interstate highway system through the county’s partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
“Some real, true substantive change has come with helping expand our state highway system,” Eads said.
While commissioner, Eads said he has been involved in the maintenance of numerous projects that have expanded the interstate highway system around the county. Some of those include FM 1171, FM 2499, the expansion of I-35 E, FM 407 and FM 156.
Horn endorsed Eads after announcing she would not seek re-election. Horn, 72, said she believed it was time for someone else to take the reins.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Andy Eads for 11 years and he’s always been very eager to do anything I’ve asked him to do,” Horn said. “He’s a hard worker and a smart young man.”
Horn commended Eads on his communication skills.
“He goes to great lengths to communicate with all [17 cities in his precinct], stay in touch with them and reach out to them when they have needs,” Horn said.
Eads said working on the commissioners’ court for over a decade was what sparked his interest in the position, saying his experience working with the county judge has provided him a unique opportunity to see and learn the role.
“I’ve been a close observer and working with the county judge all these years, I’m very familiar with the job functions and the duties and great things the judge can do,” Eads said.
Wanting to work for local government, Eads got his start in Addison, where he worked for roughly six years. During his time in Addison, he worked as an intern and administrative assistant in the city manager’s office. He also worked in the finance department to help prepare the city budget. His last role in Addison was human resources, where he helped with hiring and exit interviews in the department.
“It was a good learning opportunity for me to understand how local government worked — how cities operate,” Eads said.
Eads believes the experience has served him well as precinct 4 commissioner, as he represents all or part of 17 cities.
As well as serving on the commissioners’ court, Eads has been a part of a number of committees and organizations across the county, including being the county’s representative to the Regional Transportation Council, where he is the secretary.
Along with his commissioner’s court work, Eads has served on the Regional Transportation Council, the Cross Timbers Rotary Club, the Lewisville ISD Education Foundation, the Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce and the Denton County Historical Commission.
He also sits on the Denton County Master Plan Committee.
Prior to entering elected office, Eads worked as a real-estate agent in southern Denton County. He said the field helped him understand what factors drive people’s decisions in where they move to.
“I understand how to sell Denton County and how to promote Denton County,” Eads said. “Because I know exactly the kind of things [residents and businesses] are going to be looking for.”
One thing he noted he and Horn differ on is the county’s role in economic development. He specified Horn does not believe in providing incentive packages for businesses to relocate to the county, adding Horn believes the county has a great tax rate as is.
He said it is something the rest of the commissioners’ court has been very active in.
“We don’t offer those unless that is a true deal breaker or deal maker,” Eads said. “The rest of the court members are supportive of those if they’re necessary…to make the deal happen.”
Eads grew up in Lewisville and is a fifth-generation resident of Denton County. He graduated from Liberty Christian School in Argyle and received his BBA from Howard Payne University in Brownwood, TX. He received his Masters of Public Administration from the University of North Texas.
Denton residents Diana Leggett and Willie Hudspeth will be facing off for the Democratic nomination. The winner will face Eads in the general election.
If you would like to learn more about Eads campaign, visit his website at http://andyeads.com/
The Lewisville Texan Journal will be presenting candidate profiles on each local candidate in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.