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Williams to run for Gregg County commissioners court

By Meredith Shamburger
Oct. 24, 2017 at 12:45 a.m.

Kasha Williams stands Monday with Gregg County Pct. 4 Commissioner John Mathis as she announces her bid to seek the seat he has held for three terms.

After serving three terms on the Longview City Council, Kasha Williams has a new goal in mind: a seat on the Gregg County Commissioners Court.

Williams says it's a natural transition from the work she's already doing.

"I look to increase my work and work on a broader scale, not just within the city of Longview, but also at the county level: that's the opportunity," she said. "And to have an even greater impact to influence progressive change for the greater good."

Williams, a Democrat, announced Monday she's running for the Gregg County commission seat held by three-term Pct. 4 Commissioner John Mathis. He is not seeking re-election in 2018 and has endorsed Williams as his successor representing southern Gregg County.

Williams' formal announcement of her campaign was made Monday evening on the lawn of the Gregg County Courthouse. More than 100 people, including a bevy of Gregg County officials, were on hand.

Williams pledged to be a voice for her constituents, a good steward of public money and a force for positive change during a brief speech, calling her announcement "a long time coming."

"Now the time has come," she said. "It's a natural transition for me to take my work, our work, to the next level of public service."

Pct. 4 covers much of the southern part of Gregg County, including parts of Longview, Lakeport, Easton and Kilgore.

Mathis said Monday afternoon he decided not to run for re-election because it was time to step down and enjoy his life. He was first elected to the job in 2006 after a long career with the Gregg County Sheriff's Office.

"I enjoyed working with my constituents, I enjoyed working with people, I enjoyed helping people," Mathis said. "I enjoyed improving Precinct 4 and the people of Gregg County."

He said Williams was getting his support because she is the most qualified candidate.

"She's a great candidate and the most experienced we've ever got that's running," he said.

It was that record of commitment and service Williams said she hopes to draw on in her campaign. Her work on the Longview City Council has included helping to craft a streets bond package, developing a comprehensive plan for the I-20 corridor, acting as the council's liaison for public transit and working with the Texas Municipal League.

She was first elected to the council in 2011 and, due to city term limits, her current third term to 2020 would be her last. However, under state law her announcement Monday constituted an automatic resignation from her seat, which must be filled by special election within 120 days. Until her successor is in place, Williams will continue to serve.

In addition to her terms on the Longview City Council, she has served with a number of other organizations including the Rotary Club of Longview, Delta Sigma Theta, the Longview Museum of Fine Arts, Keep Longview Beautiful and the NAACP.

A Longview native, she graduated from Longview High School and received her bachelor of science degree in chemistry and biology from Prairie View A&M University. She is employed in medical device sales.

Her regional affiliations include as vice president of Region 15 of the Texas Municipal League, East Tex Connects and TEMPO.

Williams says she's focused on three priorities in her campaign for commission: budget administration and management, infrastructure and public engagement. She says she wants to make sure the county's roads and bridges are maintained, that she can help steward taxpayer dollars for county operations and to ensure residents have a way to voice their concerns. If elected, Williams says she plans to host town hall meetings in each of the communities she would represent on the commissioners court.

"I believe that that provides clear opportunities for dialogue, and I believe that as elected officials, we have the responsibility to discuss issues with our constituents as we work together for the greater good of Gregg County," she said.

Looking at her supporters Monday evening, Williams said her campaign was an opportunity to work together and do good. She said her record shows she is the best choice for Pct. 4.

"My record shows that I am committed — not only that, but my record shows I am the most qualified," she said.

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