Former Runnels County Commissioner Skipper Wheeless took office in 1989 and served as president of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas in 2001-02.
Skipper was also president of the West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association and the Far West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association. He served on the Texas County Financial Data Advisory Committee, Tobacco Settlement Administration Advisory Committee, TAC Board of Directors, TAC Law Enforcement Education Committee, West Texas Council of Governments (WTCOG) Area Agency on Aging, WCTCOG Advisory Committee, and the Texas Fair Defense Act Committee.
In January 2002, Skipper wrote the following.
From the President:
I hope all of you had a very enjoyable holiday season, had plenty to eat, put on some weight and got everything that you wanted for Christmas. I had all of the above!
Now it is time to get down to the business of a new year.
Brendan Francis once said, “The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it.” Some serious problems are at hand this upcoming year. We are in a new budget year, with several of our counties near or on the verge of bankruptcy. To top it all off, it is an election year.
How do we as elected officials, whether incumbents or new on the scene, go about solving some of our problems? We are facing higher taxes, federal and state mandates, drought, economic decline in our rural counties, closing of our rural hospitals, loss of emergency service departments, deterioration of our county roads and transportation system and, above all, a projected water shortage. We can help solve these problems by playing our part; we must commit ourselves to addressing these issues.
I hope all of you had the opportunity to read the article on the *Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA), which ran in the November issue of County Progress. I would like to commend the authors of House Bill 7, which created ORCA, and the Texas Legislature for passing this legislation.
“Rural Texas is dying on the vine. We want it to continue to survive,” said Charlie Stone, legislative assistant for Rep. Judy Hawley, D-Portland, who authored the bill along with representatives Warren D. Chisum, R-Pampa; Robert L. Cook, D-Eagle Lake; Bob Turner, D-Voss; and Gary L. Walker, R-Plains. Bobby Gierisch, director of research for Speaker James F. “Pete” Laney, D-Hale Center, said rural areas have not always been well-served, simply because the focus was not there.
I encourage you to remember the names of these legislators. If you live in a rural county, these are some folks that you need to meet and get to know… I commend them for their efforts, and I look forward to interaction between our association and this newly created agency.
Remember to do what you can with what you have where you are.
God Bless and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!
Runnels County Commissioner Skipper Wheeless retired from office in 2004 following 16 years of service. Since that time he continued in his vocation as a welder and eventually went to work in the oilfield for BP Petroleum.
Skipper is now semi-retired. He and his wife, Lana, still live in Runnels County in the county seat of Ballinger. As of this month, Skipper and Lana are planning to sell their farm and begin traveling.
As scheduling allows, Skipper continues to attend the Past Presidents’ Luncheons at the West Texas and State Association conferences…and he’s been known to help out with the conference pool tournaments whenever possible!