Article From The Williamson County Sun On Democratic Candidates For Commissioner's CourtThe Williamson County Sun
by Ben Trollinger
Democrats join '06 election fray
Round Rock trustee counting on Democrat tradition in Commissioner's Precinct 4
Two Democratic candidates emerged this week to announce they will run for seats on the Williamson County Commissioners Court. One is a new comer and the other is a Round Rock resident now serving as vice-president on the Round Rock Independent School District's board of trustees.
Brig Mireles, 67, served two terms on the school board before retiring. The board called him out of retirement after the board's former vice president, Steven Copenhaver, resigned facing criminal charges.
Mr. Mireles will run for Precinct 4 County Commissioner, which includes part of Round Rock, Taylor, Hutto, Granger, Coupland and Bartlett. It is the largest of any the four precincts. It is also historically the most Democratic. Before Commissioner Frankie Limmer, a Republican, took office, Democratic Jerry Mehevec held the seat for several terms.
Mr. Mireles said he believes that history, coupled with the board support he has in Round Rock, makes the office winnalbe.
"It is the most Democratic of the precincts," he said. "It used to be the other way around, but Republicans were very presistent and kept on going and I'm hoping we're doing the same thing. I'm hoping that a victory will be a step in reestablishing the Democratic Party in the county."
Mr. Mireles has lived in Round Rock for close to 14 years, he said. In addition to the school board, he also serves on the board of directors for the Williamson County Appraisal District and the Senior Citizens Foundation.
He said he believes people will cross party lines to vote for him, because he is known as someone who cooperates in working toward a share goal.
"I think I'll be able to work with folks from all campus," he said, "Ultimately it's not about who's a Democrat or Republican in county government. When we come to the general election, folks are going to have to start looking at the candidate. There are only going to be two of us. Who has a wealth of experience and a dedication to the community?"
Even though the majority of Precinct 4 candidates have been from Round Rock, Mr. Mireles emphasized that he is sensitive to the needs of residents living in other parts of the county.
He said that environmental issues, including the county landfill and water quality, will be central in his campaign.
Leander resident Michael Hofmann has lived in Williamson County for about three years and already he is "fed up" he said.
He's fed up that not one Democrat holds and office in county government. In running for Precinct 2 County Commissioner, he hopes to change that.
"It puts a different voice out there," he said. "If there's a Democratic county commissioner, then people think "The tide is turning.' Right now, there's not balance."
The 39-year old Houston native moved to the Austin area around 1999 to work as a sales manager for Circuit City and later for a software company. Three years ago, he and his wife Tonya moved to Leander, where they eventually started their own business, and online marketing company geared toward helping small businesses.
Previously, he and his wife owned and operated a retail shop in Houston similar to the Nature Store, he said.
He's never run for public office before, he said. "But I've been a diehard Democrat for a long time."
He said he is currently researching how county government works and has yet to develop his campaign platform. He opposes toll road projects such as 183A., supports others such as State Highway 130 and doesn't like the rising cost of the courthouse restoration.
At presentime, neither candidate had filled.
Mr. Hofmann is collecting signatures in lieu of the filing fee of $1250.00, according to Williamson County Democratic Party Chair Jimmy Rocha. He must collect at least 500 signatures, he said.