For Blanco County Commissioner
- Communicate directly with Blanco County citizens
- Press Commissioners Court for meetings accessible to the public – periodic evening meetings
- Improve audio / visual and online capabilities for Commissioners Court meetings.
- Hold regular citizen forums to obtain input on community issues
- Coordinate with city governments to develop growth strategies
- Utilize Transportation and Economic Development Plan to focus county projects to deal with growth
- Develop strategies for optimal subdivision controls
- Protect water resources, quality subdivision road standards
- Hold developers accountable for development commitments and road damages associated with construction activities
- Coordinate with cities on all issues where synergies will produce better and less expensive results
Roads & Bridges
- Establish road and bridge planning process
- Develop countywide long range roads plan (5 year)
- Tie road and bridge budgets directly to the long range plans
- Incorporate engineering design services for the long range plan to ensure shovel ready projects with finite construction schedules
- Push for No New Revenue county budgets
- Utilize available grants for all areas of county business
- Consider full time Grant manager to identify available grant resources
- Utilize State grants to develop county health strategy
- Establish commission of physicians, pharmacies, ISDs, ESDs, Hospital Groups, TxHHS, and Health associations to create a county health strategy.
- Identify and secure public sector grants to support improved healthcare access in the county
About Ken Welch
Why I am running for Commissioner – Precinct #4
After retiring from Union Pacific RR with 34 years of experience supervising and managing in the Engineering Department, and leading the Environmental Management Department for the entire system (23 states), my wife, myself, and our daughter with disability settled in the Texas Hill County.
We moved to Blanco County in 2007 to get out of big cities and enjoy a quiet life. We had relocated 14 times around the South and Midwest including three locations in Texas. Blanco County seemed to be the perfect place to enjoy the countryside without sacrificing the pleasures of the big city. Our family of three settled in and enjoyed what we had anticipated, however, we grew to realize the limitations of this rural life. Many of the basic public services available in urban areas are not available in Blanco County.
We live in a health desert, with only three physicians which are open Monday through Friday daytimes. Our two Emergency Service Districts provide ambulance service but the distances they travel to the patient, plus greater distances to emergency facilities, limits the effectiveness of medical care for our citizens. There are no emergency clinics and no hospitals in Blanco County. We can do better with leadership committed to attracting high quality healthcare. I am prepared to work toward this goal.
County roads in Blanco County have been described by our commissioners as “fair to good”, but we still have dirt roads. They are generally good “dirt roads,” however, this is 2022 and we should have fair to good paved roads at a minimum. We have low water crossings that should be dry on days without rain. Yet we drive through running water on some low water crossings every day of the year. I am particularly qualified to improve road and bridge maintenance and construction to eliminate these deficiencies.
Our county is growing rapidly as subdivisions are being built. We have subdivision regulations, yet our Commissioners Court routinely approves variances which reduce costs for developers while diminishing the value of construction standards.
These rural limitations need not exist. We are limited by the decision making processes within our county government. Our leadership is resistant to citizen involvement, and the Commissioners Court does not utilize knowledge and expertise available from its citizens. The Court resists public input by avoiding public hearings, denying public comment, or holding regular and special meetings at times inconvenient for the public. Statutory requirements regarding the administration of county government are routinely neglected.
Elections in the United States have become a fierce competition between two parties. I believe good government starts at the local level. There are 3,143 counties in the United States. These ground level governmental bodies form the foundation for state and federal government. Once each election is completed, the competition should stop. The decision processes at every level of government should be based on information, facts, and integrity. Partisanship should cease. In Blanco County one party rule has resulted in poor decision making processes after officials assume their positions.
I offer leadership experience based on 34 years of management and supervision. I offer integrity and professionalism as a Registered Professional Engineer. And I offer knowledge regarding county governance based upon my close observation while living in Blanco County over the past 15 years. Most importantly, I offer you a choice for Precinct 4 County Commissioner.
After attaining my Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri in 1972, I began my 34 year career in the railroad industry. As I progressed through the Engineering Department, fulfilling various positions, I was responsible for maintenance and construction of track and associated facilities across Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, and Illinois.
In 1990 I was promoted to Chief Engineer – Facilities, in Omaha, NE. As Chief Engineer I had system-wide responsibilities across all 32 states of the Union Pacific system. My primary responsibility was planning, scheduling, and budgeting of all Engineering Department maintenance and construction activities. This involved the coordination of all track, bridge, and signal work with the daily train schedules to ensure the infrastructure was maintained at the highest standard while facilitating on-time train operations.
In 1992 I became Assistant Vice President – Environmental Management with responsibility for environmental compliance, waste water treatment facilities, site remediation projects, and hazardous materials response teams across the entire UP system. During that period I also served as President of the Roadmasters and Maintenance of Way Association of America and later Chairman of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) – Environmental Committee.
I retired to Texas in 2006 and in March 2009 I was presented the Railroad Environmental Achievement Award by the Association of American Railroads, the Railroad Engineering and Maintenance Association, and the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign.
Some of my Professional and Civic Rolls Along the Way:
1972: Asst. to District Engineer, Texas and Pacific RR – Ft. Worth Texas
1974-1982: Roadmaster, Abilene, TX. – District Engineer, N. Little Rock, AR.
1979: Registered as a Professional Engineer – Arkansas, now in inactive status.
1980: Rotary Club of Little Rock
1987: Asst. Regional Engineer, Spring, TX
1990: Chief Engineer- Facilities, Omaha, NE.
1992: President – Roadmasters & Maintenance of Way Association of America, a national organization of track maintenance professionals.
1992: The ARC of Nebraska – Board of Directors providing services, training, advocacy, and resources for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
1992: Asst. Vice President of Environmental Management, Omaha, NE.
1993: Groundwater Foundation – Business Advisory Board connecting people, businesses, and communities through local groundwater education and action nationwide.
1994-1997: Presidential Non-Point Source pollution task force presenting issues facing the railroad industry as national stormwater regulations were being reviewed for modification by the USEPA; Chairman – Association of American Railroads – Environmental Committee
1997: Nature Conservancy – Business Advisory Council
2009: Epilepsy Foundation Central and South Texas
2019: Gem of the Hills – active supporter
2019: Regular attendance at Blanco County Commissioners Court, ESD #2 board meetings, Blanco City Council meetings and BPGWD board meetings.