Home    2014 Campaign Articles

This website is provided to hopefully answer questions about who I am and why I am running for reelection to the position of Milam County judge, I will review my background, what I feel I have accomplished so far this first term, and my position on various issues.  I’ve tried to be transparent with you as your county judge and will continue to do so in this campaign and in the next term should you choose to reelect me.  My campaign sign that you will see out and around the county (it’s the same one I used before) tells the story of my campaign. The obvious message is that I am now asking you to re-elect me to be your Milam County judge.  In addition, the sign lists three things that I am emphasizing in this campaign as in the first one:

  1. Milam County, our Home
  2. I am a Conservative
  3. Vote Republican



 “Milam County, our home” is my first concern.  As your county judge, Milam County issues and needs will always take precedence over everything else.  This is our home.  I am a native of Milam County.  I grew up on a farm two miles east of Ben Arnold in northern Milam County, went to a little country school in Ben Arnold for three years before transferring to Cameron schools, graduated from Yoe High in 1961 and from Texas A&M in 1965, marrying Margia Conley my high school sweetheart, and went on to complete a career with Dow Chemical Company in Freeport and points beyond before returning home after retirement in 1997.  See Section I for more details on my personal history, family, and career.

Milam County issues are my priority.  Being on Cameron City Council for several years and mayor of Cameron, I became familiar with many of our local issues first hand. As mayor, I wrote articles that appeared in the Cameron Herald that addressed these issues.  Several of these are reproduced in Section II.  Since becoming county judge I have continued to write articles on county government and local issues; many of these are reproduced in the county judge section of our county website at www.milamcounty.net if you are interested in reading more detail on my commentary.  Here are the issues that I feel are of particular importance to us:

  1. Economic development is priority #1: Cooperation among the municipalities of Rockdale, Cameron, Thorndale, Milano, and Buckholts, and the County government in planning, financing, and pursuing the economic development efforts of our area continues to be of major importance to me. Growth that provides new sources of jobs and tax revenue is critical to our future. Since becoming county judge I led the effort to adopt a county wide common tax “phase in” (tax abatement) program that the commissioner’s court and city councils have jointly adopted. Recently we have had several companies take advantage of that incentive, so it’s beginning to have an effect.  But we need much more growth than what has taken place so far. I continue to meet with members of the Governor’s Economic Development Office from time to time and am a member of the Cameron Economic Development Board.
  2. Sustained local influence with state and federal officials and agencies in matters that involve Milam County.  I have developed strong ties with our State Senator Dr. Charles Schwertner and Representative Marsha Farney that represent us in Austin and Congressman Bill Flores and his staff who represent us in Washington and am committed to aggressively representing Milam County’s interests with these individuals.  I also work closely with our County organizations that lobby for us as well.
  3. Improving rural infrastructure in Milam County: this includes roads, rural water systems and so on.  I believe that the primary thrust of residential development in Milam Co. is taking place outside of our municipalities and that we need to better prepare for this.  I believe that as soon as we are financially able that we need to allocate at least an additional one million dollars per year to county road improvements in Milam County.  And as some of you have pointed out, this needs to be done right, with proper road building techniques being employed, or the money will be wasted.  We’re going to do our best to obtain Milam County’s share of state funds that have been allocated for county road maintenance in HB 1025 as a result of heavy oil field traffic.
  4. Development of our Milam County’s historical assets such as the El Camino Real De Los Tejas.  We were the first Texas county to obtain signage for the trail and had Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and other officials here for the dedication  this past year.  We’re planning activities to take advantage of having this trail through the county.
  5. Continued responsible financial practices.  The continued decrease in Milam county’s tax base on the near term has placed extreme pressure on the county’s budget during my first term of office.  We will need to continue to hold an extremely tight rein on spending until we experience some relief in this siege of negative financial experience.  But we need to make some progress on increasing financial reserves in the general fund up to a 20% of budget level minimum, we need to switch back to accrual accounting practices as soon as possible, and sustain sound management practices over time in order to get our bond rating back up to AAA and prove ourselves managerially as a county government.

I see the County Judge’s primary role as being the chief executive who is responsible for providing the leadership to achieve the goals that move the county forward toward the future that we want for ourselves here in the place we call home.  




The second phrase on my campaign sign reads, “Dave Barkemeyer, conservative for county judge.” 

First of all, I’m a conservative on religious and social issues.  Oops, so you caught me having a drink out at Bob’s didn’t you.  O.K.  having a drink is contrary to many conservative’s standards. Well, I blew my perfect image right off the bat. 

I’m a “right to life” proponent, I now serve on the Place of Hope center Board of Directors in Rockdale which attempts to help young women make the decision to keep their unborn babies and discourage abortions here in Milam County. We’ve served some 100 clients to date.  I believe strongly in keeping “under God” in the pledge, “In God we Trust” on our coins, and in my first term successfully faced a strong challenge to our practice of prayer before public meetings.  I believe in strong support for our county law enforcement.  For example, I don’t have a problem with the city policeman in Rogers giving me a ticket for going over 35 MPH (my image is getting worse) and I strongly support our Cameron and Milam County officers efforts to catch drug pushers. I also believe people should pay their fines. The JPs and I have implemented a strong program of delinquent fine collection since we took office and have collected over $800,000 during that time span.  I support all the Bill of Rights including the right to bear arms and states rights.

To me financially conservative means using the taxpayers dollars wisely, paying attention to where we spend (I’m a strong believer in maintaining infrastructure and minimizing overhead burden), economic development is critical to enhancing the sources of revenue, and being open and maintaining good communication with the taxpayers regarding the budget and spending. I believe in a balanced budget. On the contrary, financially conservative does not mean under spending and under maintaining.


The final phrase on my sign is “Vote Republican.”  I had been the Republican County Chairman in Milam County before my first term and had worked hard to get to the point where we had a significant number of what I considered to be quality Republican candidates that were vying for county offices in 2010.  There had never been any Republican Milam County elected officials before then.

Now just 3 years later 14 out of 20 county elected officials are Republican.  And Frank Summers, my opponent, who was the Democrat whom I defeated back then is now running against me as a Republican as well.  Times have changed.

I believe that the Republican Party best represents the conservative principles that are best for our county and our country. Obviously most of the rest of you in Milam County are seeing it that way too. You can review the Texas Republican Party Platform for yourself at www.texasgop.com. Unfortunately it appears that our country is headed toward a more and more liberal form of government. 

I again ask you to vote for me, a true conservative, in the Republican primary on March 4.  I believe that I have demonstrated to you that I am dedicated to running our county government in a conservative and responsible manner in my first term in office and I will continue to do so if you choose to elect me to another four year term.  I have tried to communicate openly with you every step of the way so that you know how your tax dollars are being spent.  We’ve tried to earn money by other means than just tax dollars such as the Coryell County contract for housing prisoners and to saving money such as by negotiating a lower bond rate and procuring lower electrical price rates.   

Finally, if you would like to help with my campaign, your support would be much appreciated.  Section III contains a form that you may use in submitting your campaign contribution.  The information requested is required by the Texas Ethics Commission in reports that I am required to make to the County Clerks office.  Thank you for your support and I solicit your vote in the coming primary election in early voting from Feb. 18 thru 28 or on election day March 4.