As a Boy Scout, I learned you always leave a campsite in better shape than you found it. To my way of thinking, our existing infrastructure is an investment that our parents and grandparents made in our country. Maintaining and improving local roads, bridges, utilities, and other county services – that’s an ongoing responsibility we have to our children and grandchildren. I am determined to make sure I use taxpayers’ dollars responsibly to benefit all Montgomery County residents.
Mr. Keichline holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management and has over 18 years of corporate Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) and consulting experience. He is a certified Management Systems Auditor and is committed to using his experience as an auditor to ensure transparent and ethical operations under his responsibility.
Mr. Keichline is active in The Woodlands and surrounding communities, having been a volunteer on the original steering team for the Bike The Woodlands Coalition, is a life member of The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. (GrassRoots Environmental Education Network), as well as a member of the inaugural June 2009 graduating class of the Montgomery County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). He and his wife are proud parents of two boys attending a local elementary school in The Woodlands.
I have a few ideas I'm currently working on. I know that the Commissioner's Court has been accused of corruption and cronyism. I think this needs to be taken seriously and so I would propose an independent audit be undertaken to identify areas for improvement. Similarly, I would like to see more transparency and approachability from the Commissioner's Court. To the extent allowed by law, I think all public meetings should be live-streamed and archives should be available online for residents to review. This would allow for more citizen participation as well as holding the court accountable. Trying to get a sense of the court from the published meeting minutes is a daunting task.
This is my first non-academic run for elected position. My final year in graduate school I was elected to student council and was our environmental advocate. I fully understand this will be significantly different experience, to put it mildly. I identify as a Democrat and have a Master's Degree in Environmental Management. The real spark for me was the result of last year's Presidential election - I was deeply shocked and dismayed. My uncle was a County Supervisor in rural Northern California and I always admired him for balancing his public service with farming, and I'd often talked about wanting to run for office in some capacity. I learned that there were numerous opportunities to run as a Democrat in local elections and decided that it was time to do something proactive. I think my educational background in environmental science combined with practical work experience in management and budgeting will be valuable to the commission.
I feel like a budget should be managed much like a contract - a proper budget should describe a scope of services and price to complete those services. Unless it is clear that the current budget is over-inflated, I would not be in favor of arbitrarily trimming the budget without understanding what services or personnel would be reduced. I feel that money that is approved to be spent should be spent according to the scope of services. Projects that are completed under-budget should be audited to ensure the project was completed as scoped.
Personally, I am not a big fan of tollways in general as they are by their nature inequitable and disproportionately affect low-income residents (as the toll is de facto a road use tax). My opinion on the subject is that public roads should be equally available to all residents and visitors. That said, I am committed to following the law and the will of the voters: should such a referendum be approved I would act in my capacity to implement the project on-time and within budget. Furthermore, I understand that there are different types of bonds that may be used to pay for such projects (general obligation bonds vs revenue bonds, for instance) and the specific details need to be understood before I can make a definitive, blanket statement on TX-249.
Honestly, there is going to be a large group of voters who will hear that I am a Democrat and will decide I'm not for them, regardless of what I say. I won't be able to overcome someone who won't even give me the chance - that goes for The Woodlands, Magnolia, and the rest of Precinct 2. I would love to think that "I am open to different ideas" but that is a pretty Pollyanna answer to a complicated question. I expect that I will need to spend a lot of time outside of The Woodlands getting to know voters, learning their concerns, and hoping my answers to their most important questions are better than my opposition.
For any county project under my responsibility I believe that I have an obligation as County Commissioner to select the best contractor at a reasonable, justifiable price. I believe there are strict contract bidding/selection rules that apply to all County contracts and I will adhere to those ethical requirements above all else. That said, I am more than happy, where possible, to push for DBE contract vehicles for small businesses, disadvantaged businesses, minority- or women-owned, or veteran-owned businesses - to help these entrepreneurs gain experience and project portfolio to be able to compete for open County-wide contracts.