For the past 30 years, Rick Hale has been constructing commercial buildings in Stephenville and the surrounding area.

Today, the 51-year-old lifetime resident of Erath County, will try his hand at something new by running for County Commissioner of Precinct 1.

“I’ve been thinking about running for about four years,” Hale said. “What I do now is very similar to what the commissioners do. They deal with the public, large budgets and heavy equipment. I feel like my experience would be an asset to the community.”

Hale said he believes the county is “in good shape,” but added that his business experience would be valuable in working on two big projects in which the county is currently involved - plans to renovate both the jail and the Long Hotel.

Hale said he is in support of renovating the existing buildings.

“Some people want to tear them down and start over,” he said. “I don’t want to do that. I think we should fix what we’ve got and add to it. That’s the best thing for the taxpayers.”

If elected, Hale said he will keep his construction business he runs with his wife of nearly 25 years, Paula. The couple has two daughters, Ashley, 21, a student at TCU, and Lindsey, a senior at Stephenville High School.

This is Hale’s first run as an elected official. He will run on the Republican ticket and said he is looking forward to getting out and shaking hands with constituents.

“I am a conservative who will provide services to the residents without breaking the bank,” he said. “That’s the way I plan on doing business.”

SARA VANDEN BERGE is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 240.