As “they” say, hindsight is 20/20. As you look back on your years of service, what are some of the most valuable lessons you learned?
I learned to give myself time to stop, listen, and watch how the government system works. It is not like a private business. Transparency is key in all that you do. Take it before the Commissioners Court and discuss the issue.
Be upfront in everything you do and say. After all, it’s public. Be fair in all dealings, and stand up for what you believe. As a Commissioner, you are representing all of your constituents. Not everyone will be happy with you; however, if you earn their respect, you have done a good job.
Nothing is as valuable as a good team of people that work for you. They represent you every day. Treat them well, and pay a lot of respect to them for the jobs they do. They are the backbone of each precinct. Without them, the jobs would not get done.
What is the best way for members of Commissioners Court to connect with other officials in the courthouse?
I think the best way to connect is to visit with each of the officials and share ideas. Get to know them, their wants and needs, and what they think it will take for the county to succeed. Learn from them what it takes to run their departments. After all, you will be voting on each of their budgets every year you are in office.
How do you connect with your constituents?
I try to connect with my constituents in person as much as possible, by phone a great deal of the time, by social media, and publicly. I believe it is important to connect with all the people you come in contact with.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far as County Commissioner, and how did you navigate that challenge?
I would say trying to do my best for the people I represent as fairly and as conservatively as possible has been one of my biggest challenges so far. Money is always No. 1. Rising costs of equipment, labor, rock, oil, and fuel are an ever-present problem. Equipment repair is costly but essential. Staying within my budget year after year without increasing taxes is a priority. Trying to keep our county government working as efficiently as possible is very important, as well as taking care of all departments plus the public’s wants and needs from year to year. Doing the best you can to say you have lived up to the expectations of the ones who elected you is the biggest challenge of all.
In closing, what has been your most rewarding experience thus far?
I can’t name just one experience. Fulfilling a family tradition to me is rewarding. My dad was a public servant, deacon of the church, Fannin County Farm Bureau president, and Texas Farm Bureau state director. David Magness, Rockwall County Commissioner for many years, was my brother.
Getting to serve as a Fannin County Commissioner and being able to say that I have represented the people I have grown up and lived with my enter life is very rewarding. To have served with so many great officials and people who represent Fannin County is an honor.
My biggest reward is to see the Fannin County Courthouse restoration happen; the project is currently underway. To know my name will be on the cornerstone is an honor.
The completion of Bois D’Arc Lake, the first new major reservoir in Texas in nearly 30 years, and the Lake Ralph Hall project, resulting in one of Texas newest lakes, are also very gratifying. Just to be a part of the historic events that are happening in Fannin County makes for a truly a rewarding time in my life.
My term will end Dec. 31, 2024. My hope is to go out of office as respected as my father, Royce Magness, and my brother, the late Rockwall County Commissioner Joe David Magness.