The race to represent Precinct 2 as Grayson County Commissioner is a two-man event, but only one of those candidates was able to attend last Tuesday’s debate, hosted by the Concerned Citizens of Grayson County. Incumbent David Whitlock could not make the event due to illness.

The race to represent Precinct 2 as Grayson County Commissioner is a two-man event, but only one of those candidates was able to attend last Tuesday’s debate, hosted by the Concerned Citizens of Grayson County. Incumbent David Whitlock could not make the event due to illness.


That left challenger Gary Cox as the only candidate at the debate from Precinct 2, which covers most of Denison and the eastern portion of the county. Cox was given five minutes to address the standing-room only crowd at the Grayson County Courthouse, of which he used the first half to run through the reasons for his candidacy, as well as his biography.


"I want you to know that I grew up in Sherman in the ’60s, so for a long time I’ve loved this county and Lake Texoma and this region," said Cox to open his remarks. "I live 20 miles east of Denison; I own 20 acres and a house out there. And I love my neighborhood and I love the County. And that’s why I’m running. I believe in this County; I want it to succeed, and I think in our government, we can cut."


Cox touched on the high-points of a 26-year career in the U.S. Air Force, including budgetary experience he said prepared him for the fiduciary responsibilities of a county commissioner.


"I have managed budgets from $150,000 to over $400 million projects, and $400 million in the military is, trust me, a small program," said Cox. "You learn all the business of the Air Force. You write contracts. You enforce that contract. You see performance. You establish performance. So I have a great bit of business experience."


After running through the remainder of his résumé, which included an 18-month stint as vice president of a Frisco service firm, Cox focused the second half of his remarks on a question asked by the moderator regarding the possible unification of county road and bridge resources.


"I’ve researched that, talked to several of the commissioners, and I believe that right now our county is different — I use the comparison to Collin County, they’re the ones who established a centralized road and bridge department," said Cox. "Most of their roads are now run by the cities, because the cities have expanded so much, they don’t have as much county roads. So it’s much more effective for them to have a smaller number of roads, to use a centralized approach. I think since we have so many (county) roads … it is the defining challenge for any commissioner."


Cox proposed saving $11 million in the County’s rainy day fund to address transportation infrastructure repairs. Running up against his allotted time to speak, the candidate used the waning seconds of his speech to address another moderator question as to whether being a county commissioner was a full- or part-time job.


"I want you to know that when I go to work, I will go to work full time for the Precinct," said Cox. "It is a full-time job, but it’s only a full-time job if you’re there doing the work full time."