Thursday, September 25, 2014

Just the Facts!

Hello Everyone,

It has been a while since I have written. With everything that has gone on in the last month I felt it wiser to stay quiet until everything was taken care of than to speak out; however, it is the time to explain a few things and get them out of the way so we can move forward towards the November Election.

Many folks have asked and even more have been talking about what happened with getting Opey Watkins on the ballot for the Commissioner’s race. Let me clear it up for everyone and explain it as simply as possible.

First off, I refuse to get sidetracked by the rumor mill or the questioning of anyone’s motives or actions in dealing with this. This was not the fault of the County Clerk, the Elections’ Clerk, the candidate, the Milam County GOP, the Democrats, or anyone else. I failed to get Mr. Watkins nomination certification filed on time and I take full responsibility for it.

The fact is I had the wrong date for the deadline. In one of those rare instances when my OCD did not kick in, I continued to believe August 29th to be the deadline and did not realize that the 25th was the actual date. I had it on my calendar to go to the County Clerk’s office on the 27th and take care of the remaining paperwork from the primaries, file Mr. Watkins Certification, and verify the ballot for the Elections Clerk.

Once I found out my error I endeavored to correct my mistake and via the hard work of several individuals and a ruling by the 3rd Court of Appeals we were fortunate enough to be allowed to file the certification late and get Mr. Watkins on the ballot and allow the voters of Precinct 1 to choose their commissioner.

This ruling was issued based on legal precedent as the court deemed that the voters of Precinct 1 and Mr. Watkins should not be punished due to no-fault of their own. The court ruled that it was my mistake that caused this and not anyone else’s. There was no malice or deception involved here, it was an honest and regrettable mistake.

Mr. Watkins has the full support of the entire Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Milam County. During the Executive Committee meeting held to nominate Mr. Watkins a quorum of Executive Committee members were in attendance and everyone, including myself, unanimously agreed on Mr. Watkins as the GOP nominee for the Precinct 1 County Commissioner place on the ballot.

I apologize to the voters of Precinct 1 and to Mr. Watkins in particular as it was never my intent for any of this to happen. I can assure everyone that no one has felt worse about this entire situation than I have. I promise to rededicate my efforts to ensure this sort of incident does not happen in the future.

I also apologize to Milam County Clerk Barbara Vansa and Elections’ Clerk Sherry Mueck. These two ladies work very hard to ensure we have fair and efficient elections in Milam County and I thank them for their efforts. I have always worked very hard to help them in there difficult job and with one mental lapse managed to make their job that much more difficult. As the prior court rulings have stated, the County Chairman is not required to be perfect. I know I’m not, but I apologize all the same and promise to work harder in the future!

In closing I would like to thank everyone who helped in this matter. It has always been my hope and goal to allow the voters of Milam County to choose their elected officials in a civil and fair manner.

It is my aim to continue to do so.

Bill Whitmire
Republican Party of Milam County