Monday was the last day to file for a place on the ballot for the May 10 election. In addition to local city council and school board elections, three seats on the Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (MTGCD) Board of Directors are up for election.
The seat of Ed Dittfurth, who was appointed to the MTGCD board of directors last May to complete a term vacated by Boyd Waggoner, is up for election. Stephenville resident James Gray has filed to run against Dittfurth for the Erath County opening.
Dittfurth is a common face in the Stephenville area. He has served as Pastor of Stephenville First Assembly of God since October 1998. He also attended Tarleton State University (TSU) where he obtained a bachelor of science degree in hydrology with minors in math and biology.
Dittfurth’s resume includes a stint with the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) and time with the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research (TIAER).
While employed with the TNRCC, Dittfurth delivered environmental impact and compliance education for the agriculture community in Erath and surrounding counties.
During his three and a half years working for TIAER, Dittfurth designed, implemented and maintained the storm-sampling program of the Upper North Bosque River Watershed and also participated in the design and implementation of a groundwater risk assessment. In addition, Dittfurth co-authored the Dairy Operating Siting Guide for the Upper North Bosque River Watershed.
Dittfurth feels that the district is making positive strides and wants to continue his service to help in the process of protecting the water supply.
“I believe that the work we are doing today is going to help us in the near future when dealing with groundwater laws being handed down from the legislature,” Dittfurth said. “If we do not do something here locally, we will have outsiders making our decisions for us. I feel it is important for the people residing within the MTGCD to have the chance to speak and make decisions for themselves and I remain confident that the MTGCD is giving the people the voice and backing they need.”
Dittfurth is also confident that the efforts of the MTGCD will have an impact on future generations.
“What we are doing will continue to have a positive impact even 50 years from now,” Dittfurth said. “It is our responsibility to be a good steward over our natural, finite resources. We have to take care of what we have been given.”
Challenger James Gray came to Stephenville about four years ago and brought with him a passion for engineering and environmental sciences.
Gray earned a bachelor of science degree in electronic technology with an option in computer science from the College of Engineering at Oklahoma State University.
Currently, Gray is perusing his Master’s Degree in environmental sciences from TSU. He said that in his studies, he is heavily focused on water related issues.
Gray spent time working in the oil and gas industry and feels confident that his inside knowledge will bring an advantage to the district. He was employed for nine years, with a major oil company where he was both directly and indirectly involved with environmental cleanup and the remediation process. During his time in the industry, Gray said he saw first hand the threats and dangers that industrial contamination pose to the water supply and environment.
“More oil and gas wells are inevitable,” Gray said. “With those wells comes the issue of disposal and injection wells and I feel that we should work at exploring other options such as recycling.”
In addition, Gray said that while his education and work experiences are directly related to his desire to be a part of the MTGCD, something more personal drives him.
“I am a land and well owner,” Gray said. “I am concerned about protecting myself, those around me and our natural resources well into the future.”
Gray said he is prepared to back the district’s mission, which is to preserve and protect the quality and quantity of the groundwater resources for the citizens of Comanche and Erath Counties.
In Comanche County, the seats held by Rodney Stephens and Jerry Fronterhouse are also up for election. As of Monday’s deadline, no one had stepped forth to file for a place on the Comanche County ballot. Both incumbents have filed to keep their seats and unless a write-in candidate files by next Monday, an election will not be held in Comanche County.
The last day to register to vote for the upcoming election is April 10. Early voting begins April 28 and ends May 6.