What’s your favorite Place in Hays County?
I’ll have to say the Salt Lick Bar-B-Que Restaurant is one of my favorite places, who doesn’t like Bar-B-Que?
What’s your history of supporting Democratic organizations prior to your run for office?
While working for the Hays County Sheriff’s Office from 1995 – 2000, I supported Democrat Sheriff’s Paul Hastings and Don Montague while working at their Sheriff’s Office. As Sheriff of Caldwell County, I consistently supported the Democratic party at functions for 20 years. For the past 3 years I have supported Constable David Peterson in his democratic endeavors. In November 2023 I announced to run for Sheriff and directly paid my dues to the Democrat Party Chair. I donated at the CEC Meeting and then at the LBJ Celebration I contributed by winning an auction item. At this time, I am offering myself as one of the longest serving Democrat candidates in the State of Texas to the Office of Sheriff to be selected as the new Sheriff.
Have you ever donated and/or voted for a republican? If so, why and to whom?
I have never donated to or voted for a republican candidate.
What’s the appropriate level of police staffing, and how much oversight should the Sheriff exercise?
Police staffing or in this case Sheriff’s Deputy Staffing has been debated for years. There have been several different formulas used over time using crime stats as well as other pertinent information such as population. I was able to find the national average for police departments to be at 3.4 officers per 1000 of population and an older formula showed 2.1 deputies per 1000 of population. With the current times and with the older formula being from 2007, I would say we are closer to maybe a 2.5 per 1000 population. But I don’t think the County Commissioners would agree to 750 Officers for our Sheriff’s Office. Today the current regime With Sheriff Cutler is running with a staff of approximately150 field officers and 128 correction officers. That’s 150 deputies to 295,545 population and 128 jailors to 603 bed facility. Also, in answering this question one would have to consider the staffing shortages in both field and jail operations, excluding support staff and special assigned details such as admin. and communications etc... Crime rates show Hays County to be below the national averages Violent - 15.6, property - 33.5 (Nat. Avg. V- 22.7 & P-35.4). With all of this in mind I would say we are in a good place presently, but with some program improvements and vigilance we could lower the rates and deter more crime. The Sheriff should have oversight with at least a designee keeping him informed, after all the Sheriff is ultimately responsible for all the above and should be abreast of what’s current and where our Sheriff’s Office compares in efficiency and effectiveness measures.
What would your low-level marijuana offense position be once elected?
When a Sheriff is elected prior to taking office there are certain formalities that must be completed, one being the sworn oath of office which is swearing to Faithfully execute duties of the office and will preserve, protect and defend, the constitution and laws of the United States and of the laws of the State of Texas, so help me God. That means we don’t get to decide what we will enforce or not enforce, because the citizens already voted and decided what will be enforced. However, there are some avenues that can be done through pretrial diversions and the District Attorneys Office of what is decided to prosecute or not prosecute. Therefore, the determination of how the low-level will be handled will be made from agreements between officials (DA, Judges, Sheriff) that is unless legislation is passed changing these laws. I am not opposed to any agreement made.
How can the Sheriff’s office address the Fentanyl crisis?
I have heard and seen the awareness notices that have been done by all agencies meeting with the children and schools, the awareness programs are great. I also am aware of the arrests and prosecutions for the distribution of and possessions of dangerous drugs, these also are good. I believe that what could or can be done is being done. Without further information all I can suggest is to be as vigilant as possible and persistently go after all those that are preying on our citizens with the spread of dangerous drugs especially those they prey on our children.
How do you feel about abortion access? How will you support women on this issue?
Being a man I never have or will give birth to a child. Therefore, I don’t believe I have the right to infringe on someone else’s decision or belief to have an abortion for whatever reason they decide. I strongly believe it is personally between the woman and whomever she decides to confide in. I will always support any woman with her right to choose what ever does or does not happen to her body. It’s her body, therefore it’s her choice.
What Democratic values will you apply to your work once elected?
I plan to further build and develop partnerships with all our communities within Hays County, and we will be dedicated to providing the highest level of public safety to all. Through effective leadership, accountability and teamwork, we will strive to improve the quality of life, always seeking new and better ways to serve. We will be committed to treating everyone with courtesy, respect, and fairness at all times. We will be committed to managing our resources in a careful and responsible manner. I believe the employees are our most important assets and will seek their input into matters that impact employee job satisfaction and effectiveness. We will actively recruit and hire the best people; we will recognize and reward good performance; we will train our people to reach their potential. We will maintain the highest levels of integrity and professionalism in all our actions. We value diversity in the workplace and community. The Hays County Sheriff’s Office will lead by example.