Meet the candidates running for judge in Hays County

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Fentanyl and how to deal with it is top of mind for Hays County leaders. Voters decide who should lead those efforts and other things like managing growth.

Two candidates are competing for this position. Incumbent Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra and County Commissioner Mark Jones are running for county judge.

“For the community to re-elect me would be so humbling,” Judge Becerra said.

It’s a title Commissioner Jones said he would like to have.

“This position would be an honor,” said Commissioner Jones.

Fighting against fentanyl

An issue both candidates are prioritizing is the fight against fentanyl. In the past few months alone, four Hays CISD students have died of overdoses.

Becerra said he would like to get to the root of this drug use.

“Support a mental health facility that I work for to understand why someone might want to potentially self-medicate,” Becerra said.

Jones said as commissioner, he primarily works with Hays CISD on anti-fentanyl training. As a judge, he said he would like to work with other school districts as well.

“We need to start rolling it out to the junior highs, maybe even the fifth and sixth graders and make sure we catch them early enough,” Jones said.

Population growth

As the county continues to grow, both have plans for how to handle the area’s booming population.

“We have to keep moving it to try to keep up with the growth. But we also have to be able to try to keep, you know, the hometown, small-town vibe,” Jones said.

As a former planning and zoning commissioner, Becerra said he would like to build in a way that best protects the environment.

“It’s an attractive thing to see higher density, multi-story facilities of all kinds of parking, apartment complexes and offices, so that we’re not just paving over our beautiful environmentally sensitive recharge areas,” Becerra said.

Water resources

With more people moving into the county come concerns about water resources. Jones said the county could collaborate with other municipalities on this issue.

“Municipalities that, you know, are working on pipelines to bring water into Hays County from other areas that have excess water,” Jones said.

Becerra said preservation and conservation are most important to him.

“Most people love Hays County because of its topography, because of its natural resources. And so it would be a hell of a shame to just pave it over and have it be a smooth asphalt,” Becerra said.

As voters cast their early voting ballots, the countdown to Election Day continues. Ultimately, then, Jones and Becerra will find out which of them is the next Hays County judge.

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