The filing period to run for elected positions ended in McLennan County, and the race to fill longtime County Commissioner Lester Gibson’s spot is expected to be one of the closely watched races.
In 2018, Lester Gibson will retire after twenty-eight years in the seat, and there are five candidates who are vying for the Gibson's spot.
Donis “D.L." Wilson is running as a republican. He spent thirty years working in law enforcement. Most recently, he worked as regional spokesman for the Department of Public Safety. Wilson wants to make sure the people in rural McLennan county have a voice.
“We lose focus of taking care of the roads in rural community of Hallsburg, Mart, Axtell, and Riesel,” said Wilson. “There's a big budget -- $2.8 million dollars. We want to spread that around where it needs to be and take care of the roads, and help bring things in the community and also downtown and East Waco."
Patricia Chisolm-Miller is hoping to be not only the first woman, but the first African American woman elected for the position. She said she wants to be an advocate for those who are underrepresented. Chisolm-Miller is running as a democrat.
“The poor, and minorities. I didn'tt hear a lot of conversations about how those services will be maintained or enhanced,” Chisolm-Miller said.
Chisolm-Miller added she also wants to increase wages.
“We need to look at it and make it more competitive, so that we can grow our middle income base and I think that will grow our tax base as a county," said Chisolm-Miller.
Gina Ford is running as a republican. Ford is a small business owner and works for the Animal Birth Control Clinic. She's never held public office, but said she decided to run because she's always been a servant to the community.
“My commitment to service, my commitment to being able to help others, my understanding of experience as a small business owner,” Ford said.
Ford told Channel 6 she has the qualities that voters in McLennan County are looking for.
“I’ve got a good skill set when it comes to listening to the voters and really hear and understand and translate that process to make good opportunities happen for residents,” Ford said.
Vernon Davis is running as a republican. He is a local real estate broker, insurance adjuster and rancher. Davis promises responsible conservative management of county property and funds.
"I feel that my professional and life experiences offer more to the commissioners court and the people of precinct 2," Davis said.
Most recently, Davis worked on the Texas Gulf Coast to repair community infrastructure and help school districts open their doors in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
And last but not least, Norman Manning is running as a democrat. Manning could not be reached for comment. Manning is a school board trustee at Waco ISD, and wants to work to support all positive initiatives and entities that will bring jobs and business opportunities and improvements in the East Waco area.