Every so often, County Progress asks our distinguished Judges and Commissioners to allow us a glimpse into their public lives, giving us a fresh appreciation for the myriad of roles and responsibilities they shoulder every day. Our thanks to Johnson County Commissioner Rick Bailey for taking the time to visit with us.
I am proud to be a native of Texas who grew up between the suburbs of Dallas and my grandparents’ farm in Shelby County. I settled in Johnson County more than 30 years ago where I began a sand and gravel operation. I feel the trust earned as a businessman certainly helped when I decided to run for office the first time in 2008. After all, the work ran hand in hand; I built many private ranch roads and personal driveways and along the way built relationships with the people in the county, in business and as a Commissioner. Since elected, I have tried to maintain that trust through education, community projects, and a conservative view on the Commissioners Court to protect the investment the people put in me when elected.
On the lighter side, I enjoy playing music and tinkering with old cars when time allows.
IS IT WHAT YOU EXPECTED?
No one can come in and know all that is expected, but the tools are there. When you find yourself trying to “reinvent the wheel,” sometimes you get a reality check. It is everything I expected and then some! Building roads was natural to me; the administration side continues to grow as our county grows. There is so much more to what we do, and let’s face it, most don’t know what we do! I have learned to expect the unexpected, and finding solutions to the smallest problems sometimes takes longer than the larger ones.
A typical day can start off just a mild morning, but all of a sudden you have 10 different directions to go with emails, calls, appointments, constituents in the office…and then you have to cancel lunch with your wife! And then, just about the time you lay your head down, the phone rings and you have a tree across the road on the far end of your precinct.
But every day has new challenges, and challenges must be met with enthusiasm or else this would simply just become a job. Every call, every visit, every decision – make them count.
We can all agree that budget time is the biggest challenge. But just as important, every two years the Texas Legislature meets. It is essential that we let our representatives and senators know what our needs are and what we don’t need handed to us by unfunded mandates. We, the elected in our counties, are the ones who truly know the issues we face, which include animal control, overweight trucks, solid waste disposal, water, potential growth, health care, jail, veterans, budgets, day-to-day operations, and the money it takes to do all of the above. For all of us the list goes on and on.
FAVORITE PART OF BEING A COUNTY COMMISSIONER:
Addressing and solving public safety concerns, finding ways to save money for the taxpayers, fulfilling the purpose of why I am here, that is what makes this calling enjoyable. What works for me is that every day is a different day. It keeps me on my toes. It is a gratifying and also humbling job, and it is definitely not boring. And I always get invited to be a judge at the 4-H Youth Fair – lots of good cookies.