Cedar Hill Resident Vying for Dallas County Judge Says He Is ready For Proactive Leadership

Billy Clark
Billy Clark photo courtesy of Billy Clark

Billy Clark Wants To Impact Change In Dallas County

CEDAR HILL – Cedar Hill resident Billy Clark is running against incumbent Clay Jenkins for Dallas County Judge in March’s primary next year and he says he brings a strong desire to win the election and a desire “to impact change right here in our County.”

Clark said he is interested in bringing a type of leadership style to Dallas County that it needs – proactive and not reactive.

“I’m ready to bring new initiatives to our County government that would promote excellence throughout the entire county,” Clark explained. “I’m tired of seeing leaders identifying problem after problem but not providing any substantial fix—I will provide reasonable plans that will help Dallas County thrive as a whole.”

The Dallas County Attorney who primarily practices Criminal Defense, Aviation, and Civil Rights said he has also been actively organizing events in Dallas County to facilitate fixes in hopes it will unite and educate the community as a whole.

Clark acknowledges COVID-19 and isn’t afraid to share his thoughts on what could have been done to ease much of Dallas County’s problems.

“I believe the COVID-19 vaccination plan is in disarray,” speaking the same language that many in Dallas County believe to be true. “Our County did not make it convenient for those individuals that have difficulties getting to a vaccination location. Our County should have been proactive in using resources to get the community vaccinated. he initial plan should have involved getting into the communities—setting up mobile neighborhood vaccination teams to take the vaccination to the people. I believe that this simple measure would not only create more support for the vaccine but it would also make the process for efficient.”

Emphasizing Consistent Dialogue To Address Concerns

Clark said in a nutshell regarding business sustainment now, “Our current leaders spent too much time telling folks what they can’t do and what they will not do.”

He believes moving forward his plan is to have consistent dialogue with business leaders to ensure that an emergency contingency plan will address the demands and concerns of businesses.

“We had so many businesses fail because of the harsh reality of the immediate and continuous response from our county leaders,” he explained. “A robust and business-inclusive emergency contingency plan would ensure that our business leaders have the support needed to institute safe operating procedures. If a business has shown that they are fully capable of creating a safe operating plan, then we must give them the chance at operating their respective business during times of crisis.”

Clark said that with needed change it is also important to know how you will make those changes.

Billy Clark outside
Photo provided by Billy Clark

His Thoughts On Those Topics

  • Emergency Management: Our Emergency Management program must be revamped to account for scenarios that could possibly become reality. We need to ensure every citizen understands what the emergency plan is for Dallas County in the event X-Y-Z happens. Additionally, I will ensure that our efforts of reporting the status of Dallas County is accurate and reflects the immediate and the 30-day, 45-day, 60-day, and beyond.
  • Police Reform: Our citizens, especially our black and Latino/Latina citizens, are afraid of the police throughout this county. I feel that we must change the negative relationship that currently exists between law enforcement and the citizens. It’s a tough approach, but our uniformed officers must uphold the highest degree of professionalism and must be held accountable when there are substantiated breaches.
  • Economic Development and Housing: Housing and Economic Development have a special connection. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:  I think we need to bring the right type of businesses to a community that will create avenues for growth. Many of our communities are getting industries (i.e. warehouses, landfills, junkyards, etc.) that aren’t the type of business that will promote growth, ensure healthy living, and provide for economic prosperity. HOUSING:  Gentrification coupled with displacement is a problem. We need to change the process that displaces citizens from their homes and neighborhoods. Many of the people that I have met with absolutely desire to stay in the area they live in or that they grew up in. The problem is that many areas in this county are left out. Many houses are uninhabitable. Additionally, the homes that are habitable are becoming increasingly over-priced to prevent current residents of a particular area from remaining there. CONNECTION:  The way to achieve this is to bring the type of jobs that have a history of positive sustainment within a community. I think the County should spearhead programs which would entice businesses to locate or relocate to areas where they historically have not been interested in operating.
  • County Jail: Our county jail houses thousands of inmates. The process of getting folks into the jail facility (intake process) is challenging. The result of the challenges is often at the expense of individual and constitutional rights. Our jail has failed inspections in the past and then received passing scores—there is no long-term consistency of success. My plan would create a process that housing inmates that need to be detained and to consider other options for those that are not a risk to the community or others.

As for taxes, Clark said “Our tax-rate must be set so that we are fiscally smart and can accurately account for new property development which could offset significant tax increases. My goal is to have a government that can adopt a budget that is based on successful outcomes and goals instead of continually funding initiatives that have proven to be a failure.”

Focusing On The Positives in Dallas County

Of course with change, there are always good points too. Clark said “Our County is doing a great job at ensuring we have scenic parks and recreational facilities. I will continue to promote healthy green-spaces, parks, trails by highlighting them more throughout the county. Additionally, our District Attorney has focused on ensuring justice for those accused of crimes and for advocating for those that have been wrongfully accused. I would further the efforts of the District Attorney by partnering with the DA’s office to ensure the DA has the tools and support necessary to continuing the reformation of the criminal justice system.”

Being interested in politics for years, in 1991, Clark participated in Governor Ann Richards’ Inauguration Parade. She was an alum of his high school, Waco High School. Take that back further and his first step toward serving in politics began when he was elected as his high school Senior Class President in 1992.

Military Experience, Law School & Making History

“Upon graduating high school, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and continued serving as an officer on Active Duty for over 22 years,” he said.

On retiring from the U.S. Air Force, he immediately started law school, graduated, and passed the Texas Bar.

“I wanted to continue serving people against injustice and attacks on their constitutional rights. The time for change is now, he concluded. “We are in a time where there is a lack of diversity and inclusion in our County government. Diversity in government is essential to ensuring that the needs and desires of those disenfranchised are considered and met. We are in the middle of difficult times where we have significant and alarming disparities in housing, education, economic prosperity, access to quality health care, and criminal justice often divided among the ethnic and racial lines. It is 2021, the general election is in November 2022, and I would take office in January 2023. In almost 177 years of Dallas County’s history there has never been a black person elected as Dallas County Judge.”

Clark said he possesses multiple educational degrees focused on government and public administration, he is a retired military officer, but, most important he said is that he is a representation of what this County looks like and he has leadership characteristics to make immediate positive change for all of Dallas County.

Three things voters might not know about Billy Clark – in his own words:

HUMBLE UPBRING:  I didn’t grow up rich and “entitled” to the privileges of life. I am a Native Texan, from Waco, Texas. I grew up in a single-parent home with my mother and two siblings. My mother passed away in 2017, she did the best she could to provide for us. My father, passed away in 2003, was in and out of prison for non-violent offenses. I knew my father and respected him; I just didn’t have him in my daily life. I didn’t grow up understanding what owning a home meant because my mother always rented an apartment or house. In all of these things, I am blessed to have a loving family that always pushed me to achieve the desires of my heart.

LEADERSHIP:  This office that I’m seeking is not my first leadership position. I have been a Commander, a Director of Operations, a Combat Operations Team officer, and an aviation instructor and evaluator for Air Weapons Officers and Senior Directors on the U.S. E-3 AWACS Airplane. I graduated from Squadron Officer School (a leadership school for junior Air Force officers). These experiences and education have led me to represent the United States around the globe on various issues. Additionally, I provided direct support to the President of the United States and U.S. Secret Service on missions evolving POTUS travel domestically and abroad.

FOCUSED ON ENTIRE COUNTY:  I believe that the only way for our county to thrive is if the entire county is given the same opportunities to succeed—I am committed to that effort. If you drive across Dallas County, you will notice that the County is different. In some parts of the County, there is an abundance of grocery stores (healthy and regular stores), small businesses, major retail establishments, and restaurants/dining. Other areas in the county are filled with dollar stores, liquor stores, cash checking businesses, and payday loan establishments. While these businesses may be needed, the problem is that they are disproportionately located in certain segments of the county, thus, reducing the ability of said segment to receive other business types.