Meet the Candidates: Brazos County Commissioner, Precinct 4

KBTX News 3 at Ten EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Oct. 29, 2022 at 9:21 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -Democrat Wanda Watson and Republican Timothy Delasandro are running for Brazos County Commissioner Precinct 4.

Commissioner Irma Cauley and her late husband Carey had represented Precinct 4 of Brazos County for three decades. After a tough Democratic primary, Watson and Delasandro are looking to fill her shoes this November. Although they aren’t from the Brazos valley, they have deep roots.

Watson said she has resided in Brazos County for 40 years since she moved from Fort Worth with her husband. As for Delasandro he moved to Bryan-College Station to attend Texas A&M University and graduated in 1998 with a degree in biology. He’s married to a Bryan native and calls BCS home.

Before coming to Bryan-College Station Delasandro served in the military. Directly after he graduated from high school he went into the United States Navy.

“I stayed in the navy for four years active and then when I got out of the Navy I went to nursing school and I was in the reserves while I was in nursing school,” Delasandro said.

Both candidates said they want to help the county grow responsibly.

Over the next 25 years, Delasandro said he expects Brazos County’s population to triple. If elected, Delasandro said he wants to make sure that the decisions commissioners make today are going to affect the growth and how that growth happens in the future.

“How we plan for that growth today is going to affect the county for decades,” Delasandro said.

Watson said she has a background in finance and a passion for helping others.

“My work started in financing budgets for the university,” Watson said. “And at one point from that, I moved over to the academic affairs side and started working with students. That’s where I found my niche.”

Watson said her north star has always been service, and if elected, her goal is to hit the ground running.

KBTX asked the Precinct 4 candidates about their thoughts on the recent tax rate standoff. For over a month Brazos County commissioners could not come to an agreement on a new tax rate. Commissioners Steve Aldrich and Russ Ford had skipped meetings in an effort to lower the tax rate for residents.

Watson said she disagreed with how Ford and Aldrich handled the situation

“Commissioners are going to have to work with the other governmental entities to make sure we have a thriving environment,” Watson said.

Watson said all commissioners should be at the table and make the decision that makes the broader impact.

Delasandro said he believes Ford and Aldrich were standing up for their voters and the voters’ interest.

“We’re in a hard economic time right now and the tax rate that was going to be set was going to raise 15 million more dollars for the budget this year when the budget actually went up by seven,” Delasandro said.

One thing both candidates agree on is where ARPA funds could be better spent.

Delasandro said the only mental health facility in Brazos County had closed down. Instead of spending the ARPA funds on a medical examiner’s office, Delasandro said he would have preferred if the county worked on the mental health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So now Brazos county does not have an inpatient mental health facility,” Delasandro said. “So if you’re in a crisis and you need inpatient mental health care, you have to wait in line for the services of another community that are going to put their citizens first.”

Watson said access to mental health resources is very important for the community.

“I’m hopeful that they will find a way to put some funding toward mental health resources,” Watson said. “There’s not even enough healthcare professionals.”

The commissioner will serve a four-year term overseeing the construction and maintenance of county roads, approve the hiring of and salaries for many county employees, set tax rates, authorize expenditures, and issue bonds.