Doyal files for Montgomery County Judge in GOP primary



For immediate release Dec. 2, 2013

For media follow up, please contact the Craig Doyal Campaign at (936) 520-6098. Want to join us? Go to


Craig Doyal filed for Montgomery County Judge in the GOP primary Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. He is joined by Dr. Walter Wilkerson, chairman of the Montgomery County GOP.

Craig Doyal filed for county judge in the Republican Primary Monday, Dec. 2, saying his conservative values, his years of service to Precinct 2 and his leadership on regional projects had prepared him to serve all of Montgomery County as county judge.

“I love Montgomery County, have lived here all my life, and I share the great values of conservative government and responsible leadership that have made this one of the greatest places to live in Texas,” Doyal said.

Educated in Conroe ISD schools and a proud “Aggie,” Craig is married to wife Amy and has three children, 30-year-old Brian, 27-year-old Lindsey, 20-year-old Jennifer, and 7-year-old granddaughter, Laylee.

A native Texan and 4th-generation Montgomery County resident, Craig Doyal has served as Precinct 2 County Commissioner since August 29, 2001. Prior to holding the office of CountyCommissioner, Craig served for 15 years as the Administrative Assistant to Commissioner Malcolm Purvis, where he handled the day to day operations of Precinct 2.

“I grew up here and have spent my career in Montgomery County learning how this county operates and taking the lead on key projects, like the construction of the Fish Creek Thoroughfare, the expansion of FM 1488 through the pass-thru program, and acquisition of right of way for future thoroughfares. Those experiences have prepared me to handle the diverse challenges our county faces as we prepare for rapid population growth that is headed our way.”

Craig said he will focus on four key areas as county judge:

Responsible economic growth and development

“The county needs to take a thoughtful, conservative and responsible approach to ensure its infrastructure is prepared to cope with its rapid population growth, and I am prepared to do that.” Doyal has taken a leadership role on projects like the 249 Tollway (the Aggie superhighway), which will ease congestion and promote economic growth, and the Camp Strake project, which will provide a quality commercial and residential development on Conroe’s doorstep that will add millions of dollars to the county’s tax base without requiring much, if any, of county services.

Open and transparent service

Craig is committed to maintaining an open-door policy for all county residents and will push for transparency at all levels of county government.

Conservative values on budget, social issues

Doyal has voted repeatedly to keep the county tax rate flat, allowing the county’s expanding tax base to take care of its growth needs. He has opposed wasteful spending, and has supported responsible approaches to county facilities such as the Joe Corley Detention Center, whose sale generated $22 million for the county along with approximately $3 million in operating revenue, and now is permanently on the county’s tax rolls, generating annual revenues.

Protecting natural resources

Doyal has consistently opposed threats to our groundwater from projects like the controversial proposed wastewater injection well east of Conroe. He also is concerned about the county’s sole surface water resource, Lake Conroe, and will work to ensure it is protected from depletion as the cities of Conroe and The Woodlands turn to it to end their longstanding reliance on groundwater for their water needs.

As County Commissioner, Craig’s role in meeting the many challenges of a rapidly growing county have dramatically changed.  Today he works closely with county department heads to manage the expenditures of a $279 million budget and establish policies and procedures for the operation of county government.  Along with these duties, Craig works closely with the Texas Department of Transportation and other county and state officials to make sure our mobility issues are addressed countywide.

Commissioner Doyal has served as past Chairman of Houston Galveston Area Council and the county representative to the Transportation Policy Council, and currently serves as chairman of the SB1420 Committee that will determine funding options for portions of the proposed Grand Parkway and is the Montgomery County representative to the Gulf Coast Rail District.

Commissioner Doyal has served as a Montgomery ISD Board Trustee and a board member of the Montgomery County Committee on the Aging ‑ better known as “The Friendship Center”.  He was a “Meals on Wheels” volunteer for nine years, president of the Magnolia Parks Council and is a member of the South County, Magnolia, Magnolia Parkway and Conroe Chambers of Commerce. Craig is also a member of the Woodlands Rotary Club and a lifetime member of the Montgomery County Fair Association. Additionally, he is a longtime financial supporter of several area Republican groups.


Political Advertising Paid by Craig Doyal Campaign



Finally….with Palin out, the GOP can get on with the primary

GOP Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin givi...

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I remember having the chance to see Sarah Palin at a rally in Cypress, Texas back during the 2008 campaign, before she had been picked to run as vice president.

She was still a GOP rock star at the time, appearing on stage beside Gov. Rick Perry before an adoring crowd. The occasion was a Perry re-election rally; Palin was there to help draw a crowd, and that she did. The applause lines were well-scripted, and Perry and Palin made for a perfect, red-blooded conservative pair.

What a difference a few years makes. In 2008 she brought life to the John McCain campaign and helped reinvigorate Republican hopes that they would keep the White House.

But by Wednesday, when she finally made clear her intentions to not run, I think the average GOP voter probably was breathing a sigh of relief, rather than regret.

It’s not that she isn’t still a formidable figure. But after all the media overexposure, her occasional stumbles on the 2008 campaign trail, her controversial decision to quit the governor’s post in Alaska, a reality TV show — and then this relentless, “Is she in, or out” coverage, I think many GOP voters were finally tired of the drama.

And besides….who likes a tease?

So now, with Gov. Chris Christie likewise bowing out, GOP voters can finally get down to reality and decide who among this current field will be the best standard-bearer. It’s time to focus.

Cain, Perry, and race-baiting

Herman Cain

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I still remember the first time I heard the “N” word in casual use.

It was in Irving, Texas back in the 1980s — about the same time Gov. Rick Perry’s parents, according to his telling, were painting over a rock by their hunting lease that bore a similar slur.

The fact that I as a young, ex-Air Force brat could encounter that phrase in common conversation says something about certain aspects of Texas’ culture at the time, as does that now famous rock outside a hunting camp — but it says next-to-nothing about Gov. Perry himself.

The fact that it even has become an issue in the GOP primary race is race-baiting at its worst, and it is even more disappointing that someone who should know better — Herman Cain — would so readily jump on the bandwagon of the ever race-conscious left.

The first encounter with racist language was while I was a young man in college visiting my wife’s parents. I happened to be out in the front yard, and struck up a conversation with the lawn guy who handled my soon-to-be father-in-laws’ yard. His yard man was a crusty, old white guy who fortunately was one of a vanishing breed.

Standing out under the hot sun, the word just popped out of his mouth — I can’t even remember the context. It was my first shocking encounter with the reality of a southern culture I barely understood at the time. I grew up on or near military bases, mostly in the north and in California. The military in many ways was the vanguard of the civil rights movement, with integration being fully entrenched in the services well before much of the rest of the country, especially the South.

Texas’ racist past is well-documented; one of the most disturbing stories I have ever heard regarding the once dominant racism in my area of Texas is that of a young black man lynched on the courthouse steps here in Conroe in the early 1900s. He was burned alive by a white mob.

It is one thing to decry clear examples of racism that once were common in Texas. It is another thing entirely to paint a presidential candidate with that brush with virtually no evidence to support that accusation — and plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise.

Everyone now is familiar with the gist of the story. The Washington Post reported recently earlier this week that the entrance to the property that Perry’s family had leased for hunting was marked by a rock painted with a name — “Niggerhead” — that had been associated with the area for as long as anyone could remember, and well before his family began leasing the property.

And according to Perry’s telling, his father ended up painting over the rock in the very first year he leased the property. Others questioned that timeline in the story, but their memories are vague as to dates and most of the sources are anonymous. And most importantly, Perry’s name wasn’t added to the lease until 1997. This is a nearly 30-year-old incident.

And armed with those scant facts, GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain apparently felt entirely comfortable weighing in on the issue and ascribing racist motives to one of his chief rivals for the GOP nomination.

“There isn’t a more vile, negative word than the N-word,” Cain said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And for him to leave it there as long as he did before he painted over it, it’s just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country.”

If Gov. Perry is a closet racist, he’s done an incredible job hiding it, somehow burying that deep secret under a number of high-profile minority political appointments, as is described in these excellent stories by Kelly Shannon and the Texas Tribune.

Baseless accusations of racism are a tired form of attack employed almost exclusively against Republicans, conservatives and conservative organizations such as the Tea Party. Meanwhile, Democratic politicians like the late Sen. Robert Byrd, who once was a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan, are forgiven their sins.

All the more reason for a presidential candidate in the GOP primary to resist the urge to play that game. Cain clearly is emerging in the polls, and his skills and background deserve attention. He’ll be in The Woodlands, Texas on Thursday to sign copies of his new book.

But his ham-handed handling of this issue reflects a profound lack of judgment and a lack of awareness of the unique power his words hold as a black candidate for the presidency. Already Monday, Cain was working to step back from his earlier attack, telling reporters “I really don’t care about that word. They painted over it,” he said, referring to a sign painted on a rock at the property the Texas Governor once leased. He continued to add that the matter “doesn’t bother me at all,” and that he was satisfied with Gov. Perry’s explanation.

Well, that’s nice. First play the race card, and wait for the explanation later.

Gov. Perry certainly has some troubles of his own making and has a lot of ground to make up after stumbling in recent debates. And Cain is a candidate who deserves a broader audience. But he needs to leave the race-baiting to the experts. Besides — they don’t need any help.


Generally speaking, it’s a bad thing when a Republican
presidential candidate gets booed at a Republican debate, as Gov. Rick Perry
was at Thursday night’s FOX Republican debate when he reiterated his support
for in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants.

It’s especially bad when you consider that the only other
similar expression of displeasure that night was reserved for the gay U.S. Army
soldier who outed himself for the purpose of asking a videotaped question to
. That is awkward company for a GOP presidential candidate (and a bit of a commentary on these debate audiences. Gay or not, this was a soldier who is serving his country, after all)

But what’s really puzzling is why Perry led with his chin on
the issue after already being beaten up on it at the previous debate, offering no
other real defense of it other than it was the right thing to do, that he still
supported it strongly to this day, and that those who disagree “don’t have a
heart.” (Note to the Perry team: GOP voters don’t generally care whether
presidents have a heart when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars or government benefits – especially
given that some of the worst policies and most disastrous federal programs in
the last century were launched by bleeding hearts from that other party.)

GOP primary voters could be best described by that famous
quote from Sir Winston Churchill, who said “Any man who is under 30, and is not
a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative,
has no brains.” The train wreck of these past few years was visited upon us in
part by hordes of young brainless voters with hearts seeking Hope and Change.
Republicans rightfully are very distrustful of heartfelt emotion at the moment –
especially if it involves compassion in the form of some sort of government
benefit. And besides, it doesn’t play to Perry’s strength – his toughness and courage —
attributes acknowledged even by comedian Jon Stewart in one humorous sketch, saying Republicans would pick him as our next president in part because he’s the guy who would “punch cancer in the face.”

So speak to our brains, Gov. Perry. Why exactly should
Republican voters support – or at least tolerate, the Texas Dream Act? That law
permits all students (including students from other states), regardless of
immigration status, to qualify for in-state tuition at Texas colleges or
universities provided they have lived in Texas the three years leading up to
high school graduation and resided in Texas the year prior to their enrollment
in higher education.

First, the fact is that few states face the onslaught of
illegal immigration as Texas has in the past decade. Based on the Pew Hispanic
Center figures, Texas is second only to California in terms of overall illegal
immigration. And Gov. Perry, as he pointed out in the debate, has attempted to
address this problem, throwing $400 million of the state’s own money toward the
border to help with border enforcement.

So what’s Texas to do, when saddled with an immigration
problem caused by destructive federal inaction on border security? Well – you
choose the lesser of two evils, and create policy to deal with the mess left
you by the federal government. This should be Perry’s defense – not that he’s more
compassionate than other GOP presidential candidates.

The Texas Dream Act is not a policy to be embraced as a
positive good that should be modeled by other states as a solution to their
immigration issues. It is the lesser of two evils, forced upon Texas by the
reality of a wide-open southern border, a federal government that refuses to
fulfill its constitutional duty to secure it, and the need to provide some kind
of upward opportunity for talented, promising young people brought to Texas and
now stuck here by their parents’ choices.

That’s not to say there isn’t a place for Perry to show he
has a heart. But where he can best show his compassion is for the workers being
crushed by this economy and by bad government policy. And if he wants to show
he has a heart, it should be a heart that beats with love for the vision of
America as a “shining city on a hill” – a dream that is very nearly in danger
of dying, choked to death by an out-of-control federal government. In my view,
this actually is a missing ingredient at the moment in the GOP presidential field.
Perry needs to find within himself that ‘Reaganesque’ touch – that ability to
touch everyone’s heart with a simple love for the American dream.

Numerous commentators have remarked on Perry’s uninspiring
debate performances. I don’t want to pile on. After all, I still believe Perry
is the best pick of all the candidates, with the guts to make some very tough
decisions on the budget, foreign policy and the many challenges that will face
him in office. And besides, how can you not like a governor who got out and ran
with the best of them in the 201-mile Texas Independence Relay? (see my picture
below – yeah, that’s me second from the left) Furthermore, Perry’s able to earn
grudging admiration from journalists who absolutely oppose most of his
policies, as evidenced by this excellent piece by Texas Monthly political
columnist Paul Burka.
It takes a talented leader to win admiration even from his critics.

Perry can still win this. But he’s got his work cut out for
him. One place to start is a better defense of the Texas Dream Act.

In the election for Precinct 3, will this coronation stick?


Longtime Commissioner Ed Chance enjoys a brief moment with businessman Kenny Speight, whom Chance has endorsed in the GOP primary contest to choose Chance's successor.

At The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center early Tuesday morning more than 600 Montgomery County elected officials, business people and voters saw the closest thing possible to a royal succession in local politics.

The only question is whether the royal successor gets to keep his crown after the March GOP primary.

In a well-choreographed ceremony designed to convey an inevitable transfer of power, longtime Commissioner Ed Chance, who has served as commissioner over Precinct 3 north of Houston for 25 years, gave his blessing to local Woodlands businessman and civic leader Kenny Speight at a breakfast in Speight’s honor. Chance is stepping down at the end of his term in 2012.

The room was thick with supporters and elected officials from throughout the county, and the ceremonies were presided over by none other than Woodlands powerbroker Nelda Luce Blair, who is serving as campaign treasurer for Speight’s campaign. The banquet hall was dotted with a bevy of local civic leaders and political officials such as Township Chairman Bruce Tough, state Representative Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, County Judge Barb Sadler, and numerous others, including several city of Conroe officials.

Enjoying a moment together after the event as the remnants of the crowd filtered out of the banquet hall, Commissioner Chance, chatting with Speight, acknowledged the purpose of Tuesday morning’s breakfast: to demonstrate Speight’s campaign is an unstoppable juggernaut.

“For anyone dropping by the breakfast this morning, the message is very clear,” Commissioner Chance said.

By anyone, Chance was clearly referring to James Noack, a local retirement planner and budding community activist who at the moment is Speight’s only named opponent in the GOP Republican primary.  Noack is the only other candidate to have filed papers with the Montgomery County Elections Office to indicate his interest in running in the GOP primary for the Precinct 3 seat.

By any measure, Speight should have the nomination in the bag. More than $60,000 was raised for the Speight campaign, and Speight’s 20 years in the county come with a long list of accomplishments, including owning his own independent insurance agency, being named a Woodlands 2005 Hometown Hero, serving as chairman of the South Montgomery County Woodlands Chamber of Commerce and working with groups such as the Montgomery County Fair Association, Conroe ISD Education Foundation and The Woodlands Lions Club.

Still, this will not be just any election year. 2012 marks an epic battle for the White House, with an especially robust contest shaping up for the GOP presidential nomination.

The keen interest in the GOP presidential primary – especially with the presence of Gov. Rick Perry — could drive a large number of voters to the polls who may pay precious little attention to local politics. For example, the last township election drew about 4,500 voters to the polls in The Woodlands – most township elections are relatively sleepy affairs. By contrast, in the 2008 GOP primary, a presidential year, twice as many voters in Precinct 3 flooded to the polls. And in the 2008 general election, almost 37,000 voters cast ballots in Precinct 3. Obviously, the presidential primary and election was a magnet for voters – voters who can be quite unpredictable when it comes to casting an informed vote in down-ballot races.

The theme of the breakfast was continuity. Township Director Nelda Blair stressed that Speight would “carry on” Chance’s “tradition of leadership.” But will “carrying on” be enough? Or will voters demand more, including a specific plan to use county government not only to continue Ed Chance’s and south Montgomery County’s success but enhance it? And on which specific issues will Speight demonstrate leadership? Any such details were lacking at Tuesday’s breakfast and on Speight’s campaign Web site.

On that count, Noack has been a vocal presence lately, being quoted in the local press regarding his criticisms of a proposed extension of Ken Lakes Drive and the impact it could have on traffic safety. He and others fear the extension – from  FM 2978 to Terramont Drive – could create traffic safety issues for Deretchin Elementary students. More than 400 residents have signed a petition against the extension. As the primary draws near, and voters become increasingly engaged, it could take more than the message of Tuesday’s coronation to ensure Speight’s election.

I’ve known Kenny for years, and he is an extremely likeable, affable guy. He’s a successful businessman, and is clearly dedicated to and is generous with his community. Those are fantastic attributes for any aspiring politician. But “Carrying on” is not leadership; leadership rather involves defining a vision and plan for future success. As he looks toward a campaign designed to convert Tuesday’s endorsement breakfast into an electoral reality, Speight might do well to begin spelling out his specific vision for leadership sooner rather than later.