District 3 Candidate Bios 2010

Candidates for District 3 are Andrew Backus and Mark Key.

Polling location for this district is Driftwood Community Center on Hwy 150 West in Driftwood.

Andrew Backus

I am running for reelection and would be honored to have your vote. If reelected I will continue striving to manage our region’s groundwater in a way that respects the people’s property rights by keeping our wells pumping and our streams and springs flowing. In this critical election campaign I offer the most directly related experience of any of the candidates running. I have served on this board since 2003. As an elected board member I have devoted thousands of volunteer hours working on Groundwater Conservation District (GCD) matters related to policy, science, planning, operations and general administration.

I ask for the opportunity to continue utilizing my considerable experience and formal education to represent constituents in Area-3 for another 2-year term. In other words, I want to continue working to keep our aquifers healthy and our wells from going dry.

We are at a critical period in the evolution of groundwater law and management in Texas. Some folks don’t believe groundwater districts have a place in Texas law. They would prefer the rule that prevailed in the frontier days – which was no rules. Nowadays, with growth straining our natural and financial resources, things aren’t so simple. Groundwater Conservation Districts are the State’s preferred means of providing local management of groundwater resources.

The law concerning the operation of GCDs may be changed in the next legislative session or by a Texas Supreme Court decision. Even so, GCDs are likely to remain the State’s legal means of providing local control and planning for the future of our shared groundwater resources. Our area will be served best by electing someone with my experience who understands the science, the policy and the needs of constituents.

Like our highways, I believe groundwater is a shared resource. To keep our commerce and communities thriving – and for all those who rely on this precious resource to be able to share fairly – there needs to be ‘rules of the road.’ We Texans like our rules to be managed by locally elected residents. The HTGCD fulfills this local role in western Hays County while working regionally with other GCDs.

I have years of hands-on experience and the educational background to understand the complicated groundwater management issues confronting property owners and our communities.

I understand we live in one of the fastest growing areas in the country. I understand our aquifers will not be able to supply all the water that will be needed. I understand fully that conservation and additional supplies of water are vital. And I understand that our residents do not want any unnecessary rules forced on them.

We can save our aquifers for ourselves and for future generations through careful management and coordination with alternative water providers. Our aquifers can continue to provide a portion of the human water needs as well as provide life giving sustenance to our natural systems that are important to our economic well being. Without smart management of the aquifers, property owners, our economy and natural systems will be shortchanged.

I received my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Geology in 1983. During the ensuing 14 years I was based in Austin and worked around the country as a hydro-geologist and project manager on a variety of projects, including managing multimillion dollar clean-ups at mining and industrial properties. While I was working, I received a Masters in Energy and Mineral Resources from the University of Texas in 1990.

My wife Jean and I were married in 1996. Soon after, we moved to Hays County near Driftwood. Jean is a CPA and founding partner of the accounting firm Carpenter & Langford. Jean and I have a well at our home and we rely on a rain-water collection system for our drinking water.

I have a long record of public service. I am a founding member of the community-based Friendship Alliance in Hays County. I was an active participant in the Envision Central Texas project, a member of the Executive and Core Committees of the Regional Water Quality Protection Plan involving thirteen governmental jurisdictions, and served on the Stakeholder Committee revising Hays County Subdivision Rules.

Thank you for your support.

Mark Key

Lifelong Hays County resident graduated from Dripping Springs high 1990.

Married 10 years, three children

Letterman Hardin Simmons University football

United States Navy veteran

Former Golden Gloves boxer and coach

I9 flag football coach

Self-employed contractor 12 years

I would like the district to move toward a conservation and education mindset and away from the command and control over people’s lives it has sought for the last several years. Far too much money has been spent on activities that do nothing to help the aquifer.