By Greg Ritchie
HOUSTON COUNTY – The Houston County Hospital District (HCHD) called a meeting for Friday, April 7, before later cancelling the meeting and rescheduling it for Thursday, April 13. The meeting will be a closed meeting in executive session to discuss the lease and indigent and uncompensated care agreements with Crockett Medical Center. The Messenger will report on any outcome from that meeting which may arise after the end of the HCHD executive session.
Elections for the hospital board are set for Saturday, May 6 with the following candidates:
Position 1 – Barbara Crowson (I), Buddy Clonts, Kim Spellman
Position 5 – Roy Langford (I), Tami English McCreight
The Messenger, along with the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce, will hold a candidate forum for the candidates Tuesday April 25 at 6 p.m. at the Crockett Civic Center.
The candidates will each have the use of a table in the center’s entryway to meet people and answer questions before and after the forum. The Messenger recently informed the Houston County Commissioners Court of the forum and invited county employees to be present and support the elections which will shape the future of our county health care.
Pastor Keith Smith from Tabernacle of Praise in Kennard has accepted our invitation to give the invocation and Peanut Queen Emily Hanna will lead the group in the pledge of allegiance while members of the chamber welcome candidates and guests to the event.
The candidates will be seated by position, beginning with Position 5 and ending with Position 1, where each candidate will have approximately two minutes to answer the following questions:
- Please tell us about yourself and your background.
- What is the most important role the HCHD board has?
- What do you consider the most important factor in negotiations with a hospital administrator?
- Do you think the citizens are taxed fairly and that income is used wisely? What would you want to change or improve?
- What is the one greatest healthcare need in Houston County and how can HCHD help?
- Why you? Why now?
As always, The Messenger tries to keep our questions open, allowing the candidates themselves to expand on areas they deem important. This is not a debate in the traditional sense, but a forum where the public can meet the candidates, get a general sense of their views and follow up afterwards with any questions or clarifications.
The candidates have all received the questions in advance, as it is our goal for them to think about their answers and answer them in a thoughtful way.
The county’s hospital is a rarity in Texas – most rural counties do not have a local hospital of any kind. HCHD is tasked with making sure the county has a stable and capable hospital for our citizens, which not only is good for our health, but the health of the county economy and potential for growth.
There is debate – as there always should be in a free society – over how much money should be spent and how best to spend it – and these will no doubt be some of the crucial themes of the upcoming candidate forum and election.
The Messenger hopes our county will turn out for this important and free event, taking the time to not only vote but to familiarize themselves with the issues and the candidates in this important local issue.
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]