Van Zandt County voters will have the opportunity to elect two new county officials as sheriff and Precinct 1 county commissioner on Tuesday.
Ray got his start in law enforcement working for the Mineola Police department; he worked as a trooper for the Texas Department of Public Safety in Wood, Smith and Van Zandt counties. He was a part of the DPS major gang unit in Dallas, and worked in Tyler, handling narcotics cases. He retired from the agency in 2011.
“I have the qualifications, the commitment, and the desire to bring effective, efficient, and professional law enforcement to Van Zandt County,” Ray stated on his website.
Ray is facing Democrat Deborah Davis. According to her Facebook page, she has worked in law enforcement for 29 years.
Davis started in the industry as a dispatcher for the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Department. She went through the police academy in 1991, and worked as a reserve deputy of Wills Point Police Department for four years while working as the county’s chief dispatcher.
Davis said she had a large role in updating the county’s jail records to state standards in 1998.
She has worked full time with the Wills Point department since 2002 as a dispatcher and assistant administrator to the police chief.
“I will work 24 hour days if that is what it takes to make our county a safe place to live for you and your family,” she stated on her Facebook page. “I will not request additional law enforcement staff; our officers will be sent all over the county and they will work to combat crime on all fronts.”
Voters in Precinct 1 will also have two fresh faces on their ballots, — Democrat O.D. Hazel and Republican Brandon Brown.
Hazel, a retired right of way supervisor for Lone Star Gas Company, said he held the position from 1993 to 2000. He said during his tenure as county commissioner the county was not in debt, with surplus money and good roads.
Brown, owner of Brandon Brown Construction Company in Van, said he has experience in building and managing large projects. He said he is a conservative who would treat the county’s money as if it was his own.
“Our county (has gotten into) $2.5 million in debt over the course of years by borrowing money,” he said. “We have got to be able to focus on running our county on our tax dollars and strive hard in getting our county out of debt.