On November 9, 2013, the first day of filing, I officially filed to run for re-election for Denton County Commissioner, Precinct 4.
Denton County continues to be one of the fastest growing counties in Texas, and this rapid growth requires elected officials who are willing to tackle the tough challenges that growth presents with real-world solutions.
Since taking office in 2007, I have worked diligently to create partnerships with our cities to advance transportation improvement projects, increase economic development, and improve the overall quality of life in Denton County, while maintaining common sense conservative principles. I look forward to the completion of these projects over the next four years.
Economic growth, reducing traffic congestion, efficient government, and safe communities have been, and continue to be, my top priorities. Denton County is evolving, and I will continue to use my experience and influence to provide the necessary infrastructure for citizens and future generations.
The campaign filing period has closed and I have no challengers. I am so grateful to each of you for your support and good wishes during this campaign season.
35Express Expansion Project
While we have many construction projects underway, none will affect most of us more than the expansion of I35E. More than 200 dignitaries and elected officials attended the October 3 kick-off event and groundbreaking ceremony for this $1.4 billion expansion project. Plans are to add new bridges, reconstruct and expand the existing bridges, and widen portions of the 28-mile stretch of highway in Denton and Dallas Counties.
The 35Express Project, its new name, extends through eight cities and two counties – from US380 in Denton to I-635 in Dallas County – and is expected to relieve congestion in one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the North Texas region.
The project includes a combination of general-purpose lanes, two reversible managed/toll lanes, and frontage-road improvements from I-635 in Dallas County to US 380 in Denton County – approximately 28.2 miles. In addition, the project includes the building of a new southbound bridge across Lake Lewisville, which further increases capacity.
Current construction includes drainage work, bridge reconstruction or expansion, utility relocation, and construction of a southbound frontage road at FM 407.
For the latest information on construction and traffic changes, you can keep up with the progress of the project on their web site at www.35express.org. Register for the online newsletter for the latest news and updates, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.
You can also visit the 35Express Public Information Office located at 2420 S. Stemmons Freeway in Lewisville, Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Commuters can also get updates on the 35Express hotline by calling 214-483-7777. Or send an email to [email protected] Express.org.
This project is scheduled for completion late 2016.
New County Crime Lab
On Tuesday, Nov. 19, county commissioners approved a one-year agreement between UNT and the Denton County Sheriff’s Office to house the drug analysis lab on campus. This collaboration will assist the sheriff’s department in its continued efforts to ensure the best possible resources to keep citizens safe.
This is a great deal for the county as the crime lab will be paid for by drug seizure funds. In addition, UNT will provide the sheriff’s department with space and two graduate analysts enrolled in the graduate school in chemistry or biochemistry, and UNT will pay their salary.
The sheriff’s department currently uses the Texas Department of Public Safety lab in Garland, which is understaffed and overloaded. The results are delays in crime solving and prosecution, which costs the county money.
This new agreement allows the sheriff’s department to move $300,000 worth of instruments and equipment to the UNT facility. Once that is done, the lab will work to attain ISO accreditation from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board.
University officials are familiar with the rigorous certification inspections, and that will help get the lab up and running. They have expertise that we don’t, so it’s a great partnership to make sure the certification process goes smoothly.
The county’s population is approaching 1 million, and according to the 2012 census we currently have 707,304 citizens living in Denton County. Once we reach that 1 million mark, we will be required by the state to have our own medical examiner and lab, so this is an excellent first step toward that goal.
Flu Season Is Here
During the last legislative session, Representative Tan Parker sponsored a bill designating October 1st as Influenza Awareness Day. On that date, multiple Denton County elected officials gathered at the Denton County Health Department to be vaccinated against influenza. The flu vaccine is a very effective means of protecting individuals and families from the influenza virus that affects thousands of Denton County residents every year.
The Centers for Disease Control have indicated recently that Texas is one of the states showing increased early flu activity. This could be an indicator of an active influenza season. Denton County Health Department has a good supply of flu vaccine in both the Denton and Lewisville offices. Waiting times are sure to increase when cases begin to rise, so consider vaccinating your family now.
If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is [email protected] and my office number is 940-349-2801.