Dennis Graham announced that he is a candidate for county judge in the March 4 Republican Party primary election.

Graham said he has several objectives if elected.

• He said it's "time we roll up our sleeves" and focus on the future of Brown County antis citizens by setting short and long-term goals. Graham said his focus will be to lower the operating cost of Brown County and looks forward to working with the commissioners as a team, and identifying new opportunities.

Graham said he will welcome Brown County citizens to public meetings and his door will always be open for citizens to voice their concerns.

• Graham said he believes an outside independent audit of the county financial records should be done as soon as possible. The cost of such an audit is minimal compared to the potential exposure of not having an outside audit performed on a periodic basis, Graham said.

"You wouldn’t put your life savings with a firm that wasn’t audited on a regular basis. I believe you should expect the same accountability from Brown County," Graham said.

• Graham said he believes everybody living in the county should have the right to vote. "But as I discovered while running for Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1, only a portion of the county residents can even vote in the water board election," Graham said. " Imagine not being able to vote on the single most valuable resource in the county — our water!"

In order to accomplish this, Graham said, the county must have an accurate survey defining the metes and bounds of the county. If BCWID No. 1 1 had this information it would be possible to expand current district lines and include all residents in Brown County, and this survey can only be accomplished through the county judge and commissioners court, Graham said.

"My vote would be to support a feasibility study to determine the estimated cost and requirements for this project and let the voters decide," Graham said. Without a survey the BCWID No. 1 cannot expand the original district lines, which leaves a large portion of residents the inability to vote on our most precious resource — water, Graham said.

For the last 40 years,Graham said, he has been in business management, working for publicly-owned companies as well as privately-owned. He has served in a variety of senior-level management positions with Airgas, including president. Currently Graham is the senior director of retail and distributors. He said he works closely with distributors and identifies possible acquisition candidates for Airgas to purchase. Airgas has more than 15,000 employees, 1,100 locations in the United States and sales in excess of  5.3 billion, and is a Fortune 500 company which is publicly traded, Graham said.

In 2012 Graham was elected to the Board of Directors of the Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1, and he currently serves as secretary/treasurer. Graham said he believes in working together with the other board members. The board has been able to bring positive change to the Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1 and believes he can do the same for Brown County. 

Graham said he believes his extensive background in operations, management, personnel, budgeting, safety compliance working with federal and state agencies and contract negotiations has prepared him with necessary skills to perform effectively as the Brown County judge.  

 The county judge in Texas is the administrative head of the county government and presides over the Commissioners Court, Graham said, and in Texas the county judge is not required to be an attorney. The majority of county judges in Texas are not attorneys, Graham said. 

Graham said his family has lived in or near Brownwood for 130 years. He and his  wife, Kimberly, have been together for more than 25 years and are the parents of two sons who graduated from Brownwood High School. When not working, Graham enjoys traveling with his family, golfing, fishing and raising racing pigeons. 

Graham has owned and operated two successful businesses in Brownwood. The first was Brownwood Welding Supply Inc., which was sold to Airgas in 1990. Currently, Graham owns HCD Graham Investments LLC. His wife manages HCD, which consists of residential & commercial rental property.

Graham is an active member at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church. He is president of the Brownwood Kiwanis Club and serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club, and as an executive board member of Boy Scouts of America, Texas Trails Council. He has chaired the last two Distinguished Citizens Dinners. Graham is also an associate member of the Brown County Republican Women’s Club and Howard Payne University Committee “A Call to Send,” raising funds for a new Welcome Center. In 2012 Graham was a Brown County Republican Delegate.

"I am a man that believes in giving back to his community," Graham said.