A wealth of experience and a commitment to fiscal responsibility make up the cornerstone of County Judge Loyd Neal's campaign platform as he seeks a second term in office.
Neal was the first Republican county judge to serve Nueces County in more than 140 years when he was elected in 2006 and, since his election, has presided over the first Republican-led majority of the Commissioners Court in the county's history since 2008, when Mike Pusley was elected into office. Prior to that, he served four consecutive terms as mayor of the City of Corpus Christi.
He has a bachelor's degree in marketing from Texas A&M University-College Station, as well as a Master's degree in business administration from Texas A&I University. Neal is a retired Colonel from the U.S. Army reserve, having served more than 30 years in the active Army and Army Reserve.
Neal said as county judge, he has worked to promote a sense of accountability and fiscal responsibility in a county government that had previous administrations issue over $100 million worth in non-voter approved debt within the span of five years.
"With that change (Pusley's election), we began to really institute, what I believe to be good, conservative fiscal policy into this county," he said.
During his first term, Neal said he worked with the other members of the Commissioners Court to cut back on unnecessary spending, including voting down a proposed $24 million arena at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds. That money was then reallocated to other much-needed county infrastructure improvements, Neal said, including technology upgrades at the Nueces County Jail and Courthouse.
In addition, Neal said he helped to negotiate a refinancing of part of the county's debt that will save taxpayers about $1.9 million over the next 10 years. The county has also implemented an energy saving program at the jail that will save taxpayers about $500,000 annually, he added.
"We have a fiscal responsibility to hold the line on costs and hold the line on expenses," Neal said.
If re-elected, Neal said he would like to make a push to address the issue of drainage in the rural areas of Nueces County. A longtime proponent of a countywide drainage district, Neal said he believes the issue is a regional one that needs a solution that involves all entities and taxpayers within the county.
In addition, with more cuts likely needed next year to offset the effects of a sluggish economy, Neal said experience will be key for the county when preparing its budget.
"What people want, I believe, is a steady hand on the wheel," he said. "You don't get that kind of trust by waking up one day and deciding, 'I think I'll be county judge.' You earn that trust."