Duaine Goulding

And then there were three. Duaine Goulding recently filed to compete in next year’s county judge race and will compete against fellow candidates Christopher Boedeker and Mike Mizell in the March 1 Republican Primary. The deadline to file for that and other offices up for election is Dec. 13.

Early voting for the March Primary runs from Feb. 14-25.

Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon recently announced that he will not seek reelection.

Goulding, 73, lives “west of Rio Vista in the country.”

“I’ve been disappointed with county government for a number of years,” Goulding said when asked what prompted him to enter the race. “The lack of openness, lack of transparency and decisions to omit taxpayers from important decisions. Like the $24 million bond issue for the jail where taxpayers weren’t given a voice in that.”

Goulding said he considered running for the office four years ago.

“I didn’t though because we lived in Burleson at the time and were planning to move and actively shopping for a place to move to the country,” Goulding said. “I decided that since we couldn’t be 100 percent sure we’d stay in Johnson County that I needed to forget about that.”

Goulding remained in county and interested in local government.

“I decided to enter the race this year because I continued to be extremely disappointed in all of the, kind of hidden stuff going on in the county,” Goulding said. “Much of the county operates in shadows. In my interaction with people throughout the count and events that I go to I find a distressing number of people have no idea what’s going on with the county government. So I want to open it up. I want to communicate to the people. I want to go out and talk to the people and give the people a voice. The taxpayers need to have a voice.”

A Cleburne High School graduate, Goulding went on to earn a degree in math and computer science and work in the IT and management consultant fields.

“There weren’t a lot of, not any actually, large data centers in Cleburne so I had to go to Dallas to pursue that career,” Goulding said. “But as I got closer to retirement I took jobs as a management consultant. Those were 100 percent travel, which allowed me to move back to Johnson County.”

His experience in those fields, Goulding said, makes him a good candidate for the job as county judge.

“I held a number of executive roles running large organizations both hierarchical and matrix organizations. The county government is a matrix-style organization. So a lot of experience in leading large organizations, managing large budgets and negotiating large contracts. Much of the county judge’s duties are not necessarily negotiating contracts but a lot of negotiating between elected officials. So there’s some similarities to that. I’ve negotiated contracts in excess of $100 million so that gives me some perspective on that.

“Doing those things means you have to learn and know a lot about how to read people, seek common ground and communicate. And all those things I’ve done successfully over a number of years.”

Goulding, who voiced support for term limits on the commissioners court, said that running for county judge is not a career decision for him.

“I’m comfortably retired and don’t need another career,” Goulding said. “But I do need to see a more responsive government to the taxpayers. My taxes are frozen. This is not for me. This is for the taxpayers a lot of whom are getting squeezed really hard by property taxes. People need ot have a voice and they need to have county officials that will talk to them and not just during campaign season but month in and month out. We have to have that to have effective government and we have never had that in Johnson County.”

Although he’s never held elected office, Goulding served more than five years on Burleson’s Planning and Zoning Commission and one year on the city’s zoning board of adjustment in addition to having served on executive boards of several private companies.

Goulding is also a member of the Cleburne Rotary Club.

“When I retired I gave away all my suits and ties and decided that I needed to lead a less complicated life, which I have and is why I moved to the country, for the peaceful quiet,” Goulding said. “But, when you feel like you’re not being well served by your elected officials, it makes you angry. It’s not just me. There’s an unbelievable amount of anger that I hear from people that I talk to whether it’s local, state or federal. Taxpayers don’t feel like they’re being served by their elected officials and I decided to take on a mission to change that in Johnson County.”

Goulding called himself a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and a proponent of law enforcement.

“Just saying Back the Blue isn’t enough,” Goulding said. “That is one step but we need to make sure that our law enforcement are properly staffed, properly equipped and properly trained. I look at law and order as an end-to-end process, them through the court system.”

Property taxes, Goulding said, need to be controlled.

“The ideal thing would be for the state to replace the property tax system, which I think is the most unfair tax system I’ve ever seen. It needs to be replaced. If it can’t be replaced it needs to be managed by the Central Appraisal District and I don’t think they’re doing a very good job of that right now. I’d like to see a board of directors of the CAD be a truly independent board.”

Goulding also stressed the importance of integrity.

“There have been instances in this county where we’ve had elected officials fall short by voting for something they’re opposed to,” Goulding said.

Asked about his chances in the race, Goulding said he’s not sure.

“It’s not about name recognition,” Goulding said. “It’s about getting your message to the people. That’s going to be a challenge because I don’t serve a special interest. I’m not part of the establishment in the county, the good old boys club as it’s fondly referred to. That tends to promote certain favored candidates. Since I’m not part of that I know I’ve got an uphill battle.”

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