Donnie Gentry and William Brown

Incumbent Donnie Gentry, left, is running against William Brown for Red River County Precinct 1 Commissioner in the March 2020 Republican Primary Election. Early voting starts on Monday. 

CORRECTION: The spelling of Tina Gentry's name is fixed.

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BOGATA — In the only race in the Republican primary in Red River County, two Bogata residents face off for Precinct 1 commissioner.

Incumbent Donnie Gentry faces William Brown in a race for a district that includes Bogata, Cuthand, Johntown, outside both Deport and Detroit and north to Highway 82 and west of Clarksville. Both are expected to attend a meet and greet event at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Bogata Community Center, 206 2nd NW St.

Early voting for the March 3 primary begins Feb. 18 and ends Feb. 28.

In office since 2009, Gentry said he has helped to bring the precinct out of debt, upgrade equipment, secure $350,000 in road improvement grants, and is responsible for $3 million to $4 million dollars worth of Texas Department of Transportation bridges with another one under construction.

“You can’t get the grants unless you know how to get the paperwork done,” Gentry said.

The incumbent, who is unchallenged in the primary race, said he focuses on putting in culverts and keeping a routine maintenance schedule on county roads as well as helping other commissioners and the county judge with the budgeting process and other county-wide decision making.

“Budgeting is not always easy with the budget this county has,” Gentry said. “I plan to keep on what I am doing, managing the budget like citizens want me to, keeping taxes low, keep applying for grants, upgrading roads when I can and keeping regular routine maintenance on equipment. I am not going to change my ways because I feel like I am doing what I can do. Me and my crew work hard at our jobs.”

The 61-year-old commissioner graduated from Rivercrest High School, worked on oil rigs in Talco, has worked on ranches, ran his own welding shop and has been in the residential construction business. He and wife Tina have been married for 31 years and have three sons and three grandchildren. All live in Red River County with the exception of one grandson who lives in Cunningham in Lamar County.

Challenger William Brown, 64, currently is employed as a road hand in Precinct 3 and has worked previously in Precinct 1 and Precinct 4.

If elected, Brown pledges to “get the water off the roads and clean the ditches.”

“Just look at Precinct 3 and Precinct 4 where I did blade work and you will see water runs off the roads instead of down the roads in big ruts,” Brown said. “You have to know how to work that blade, and I can train people to do it right.”

Brown said he has experience in paperwork.

“We did some FEMA work in 2018 after the floods, and I kept up with the paperwork when Wayne Johnson was commissioner for five years,” Brown said.

About running county business, Brown said he learns fast and can work with other commissioners and with the county judge.

“I just want people to know I will be available to them if they have a problem, and I will try to keep the equipment and the roads maintained because I have done it all,” Brown said.

Since graduating from Rivercrest High School in 1974, Brown said he has done it all from pipe line work to road construction, mechanic, body work and welding.

“I worked in road construction when DFW airport and Cooper Lake were built,” Brown said. “I’ve done it all, and I thank the Lord for blessing me with being able to do things, and I just get after it.”

Widowed in 2015 after a 15-year second marriage, Brown has four stepchildren along with 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Active in church where he plays guitar and sings, he is a member of the Church of God in Bogata.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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