EDITOR’S NOTE: Both candidates vying in Tuesday’s Republican Primary runoff election for Ellis County Commissioner Precinct 3 requested the opportunity to submit a column in today’s edition of the Daily Light to highlight both their platforms and record in office. Incumbent Commissioner Heath Sims’ column is published on Page 9A. The column for his challenger, Paul Perry, is published on Page 11A. With election day on Tuesday, both candidates were given equal opportunity to present their views independently. Voting will take place from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Polling wards are published on Page 3A of today’s edition.

As Election Day draws near, I’m reminded of the question I have heard a lot during the campaign, “Why are you running for re-election for Commissioner Precinct 3?”

With all the negative advertising and mudslinging we often see during a campaign, that’s a great question for any candidate — no matter what public office they seek.

Why would anyone want to submit themselves to the nasty advertising and untruths told during a typical campaign season?

As the Commissioner for Precinct 3 in Ellis County, I have had to make some hard decisions in an effort to protect all of Ellis County — and not just the interests of myself or special interest groups.

I see myself as an eight year servant to the people of Ellis County — having run and served in just one public office. A politician will say whatever it takes to win your heart. A true servant will be willing to make the tough decisions when it counts to do what’s best for everyone involved.

While the tax vote was one of the hardest ones I’ve had to cast, I see the tax increase I voted for as one that could not be avoided. I cast my vote that day knowing I had a responsibility to all the people of Ellis County. I simply could not imagine making a decision based only on politics or an upcoming election.

Avoiding the increase would simply pass the buck to future budgets and lead to a higher cost in the years to come simply because of my unwillingness to solve a problem when things got tough.

The tax increase was needed for several reasons:

The biggest reason I saw for the increase was to pay for a lawsuit that not only affected Ellis County but also the City of Midlothian and Midlothian ISD.

The county was also under a federal mandate to narrow band our radio system or we would face daily fines of more than $10,000.

In 2010, the county was faced with using non-recurring revenue to balance the 2010-2011 budget.  I argued against this saying we would be paying for this action for years to come, while the Ellis County Republican Chair stood before the court and encouraged the passage of the budget - saying it was fair and balanced.

Despite my best efforts, the budget passed and in the 2011-2012 budget — we were stuck with the bill. Those non-recurring funds were just that, non-recurring and they didn’t come through in 2011-2012.

We were forced to cut county jobs, reduce employee retirement and pushed additional costs for  employee health benefits on to the backs of our employees to save money. We also raised fines and fees and made numerous other cuts to make the budget work.  Again members of the local Republican Party and Tea Party stood before the Commissioners Court and said that the 2011-2012 budget was fair.

As a court, we were faced with the decision of cutting the most basic services to the residents of Ellis County, or raising the tax rate by two pennies per hundred dollar value. In the end, I felt my duty to the residents of Ellis County meant balancing the budget while ensuring the most basic services continued.

There have been other decisions like the tax vote that were not my favorite and ones that I never would have anticipated when taking this office but I’ve made these votes knowing that we must be responsible for this generation and the next.  

I have always stood strong in helping people have the ability to use their land as they see fit and stood strong to enable property owners the right to build homes for their families — even when their property might not have fit into the box as the county thinks it should.  

I continue to fight hard for the freedom of all Ellis County residents and I won’t pass the buck simply because a decision is unpopular.

In the end, I seek re-election because it scares me when I see people wanting the government to have more control.

I seek re-election because the constitution gives us freedoms and it is not this government that should decide who gets those freedoms and who does not, freedom is for everyone.  

I seek re-election because I want my children and grandchildren to have freedom to either succeed or fail on their own without the government bailing them out or passing rules that say who can build a home or business and who can’t.  

I seek re-election because my family has lived in Ellis County and Precinct 3 for over 150 years.  I love this county and I want to help keep it moving forward in a positive direction that protects the freedoms we all say we want.   

I seek re-election because local government is not the place for politics and personal agendas, local government is the place where we all work together for solutions and not bury our heads in the sand to avoid reality.

If re-elected, I know my votes may not always win the hearts of everyone in Ellis County or Precinct 3 but I promise to continue keeping all of Ellis County in my heart and mind with each vote I cast.

Again, I want to thank all of my supporters for their prayers and their vote and ask those that have not decided — to cast your vote for Heath Sims for Commissioner Precinct 3, and be assured that I am not seeking this position for its prestige or as a stepping stone for a higher office.  I am seeking this office to continue to be a servant and a steward for the people of Ellis County.

Heath Sims serves as Ellis County Commissioner Precinct 3.