Endorsed Candidate Questionnaire Responses

The members of the Fort Bend Conservative Club endorses the following candidates who are opposed in various elections in May. The endorsed candidate questionnaires are below.

FORT BEND ISD – POSITION 2

How many consecutive years have you been an active voter in fort Bend County?

Sonal Bhuchar – at least 10 years

In what ways do you consider yourself a fiscal conservative?

Sonal Bhuchar – I have a professional degree in Health Care, my own physical therapy practice and also manage my physician husband’s primary care practice –all of which is classified as a small business.  Over the last 25 years, we have learnt increasingly to manage limited resources to maximize the scope of our services for the best Health Care for our patience.  As Health Care issues consume and compromise physician care, we strive to provide the best possible care without increasing expenses.

I brought this same conservatism to the field of education and the school board –providing the best possible education for our students with limited resources that we have at our disposal.  This involved juggling resources and reorganizing priorities as the need arose.

This past year, for the first time, FBISD board was faced with the prospect of passing a 10 million dollar deficit budget thanks to the state legislature cap on public ed. spending.  We made the difficult choice of not cutting programs or staff positions and giving our employees a 3% COLA raise (gas in August was $4.00 a gallon) to show we valued them.  But then we charged administration to implement a cost containment program in a variety of departments and campuses and we have, to date, already saved 8 million out of the 10 million deficit.

I am very strongly aligned to watching the fund balance we have currently at a healthy level to ensure that it is maintained at an optimal level to maintain our AA credit rating.

We passed a $428 million bond in 2007, with an majority vote, whereby voters authorized us up to an 11¢ increase.  This past year, we only raised our debt service rate by 2¢, because have closely monitored are bond project expenditures very closely.  Also our administrative cost ratio at FBISD is very low – 4.5% compared to 11% statewide.  Our tax rate is also among the lower ones in the area.

If elected or reelected, in what way will you use your term of office to promote and implement the principals of fiscal conservatism?  Please be as specific as possible and include any special issues relevant to the post or office you are seeking.

Sonal Bhuchar  - If re-elected, I will use my term in office to continue to monitor expenditures and implement cost containment measures in the deepening economic crisis.  However, I would try very hard not to cut back on educational programs or staffing to meet the needs of all our children, and optimize use of our limited resources to promote academic excellence.

I will also continue a proactive legislative advocacy stance to dialog with our lawmakers to improve the funding formula for public education as well as reduce the burden of unfunded mandates imposed upon our district, that (sic) cost us up to $25 million each year.

I will continue my community outreach efforts on behalf of the school district to create collaborations and partnerships with local businesses and community to improve the services that we can offer our students.  These resources can provide valuable learning and mentoring opportunities for our students.

I will also work with the superintendant and Board to monitor policies and processes to ensure that they are streamlined and effective in reducing duplications of work and efforts.

Please provide a brief Bio no more than one page.

Sonal Bhuchar –
Sonal Bhuchar, currently serving as President of the FBISD Board of Trustees, is seeking re-election to the FBISD Board of Trustees. She was elected to the Board in May 2006, following a hotly contested race. The three year term expires in May 2009. Bhuchar served as Secretary from 2007-2008. During the past three years, she has served on several District committees and focus groups including the Audit Committee, Discipline Management Committee, Teacher of the Year selection committee, Accountability Task Force, and the School Health Advisory Committee.

She has spearheaded the formation of the Student Leadership and Legislative Advocacy program in FBISD. Both programs have been special to her. "It was important to have an inclusive program that gave all students the opportunity to experience and learn from community leaders in every field about leadership and excellence. It is also critical to adopt a proactive stance on upcoming educational Legislative issues at the State during this session in light of the funding formula adopted by the State that has left school districts in a financial crunch," she said.

"At the Board level, I believe that I have provided the strong leadership needed to ensure that FBISD is headed to becoming a world class school system, one that our community is proud of. I have given willingly of my time and effort to build a cohesive Board that has provided excellent governance and oversight to bring a district of 68000 students and 9500 employees at 69 campuses, back on track and poised for some great successes and achievements in the very near future. Over the past three years we have brought in excellent leadership, created a Comprehensive Strategic Plan and focused our resources towards the one goal of achieving academic excellence for all our students in a safe and secure environment - all of this being done, of course, in a fiscally responsible fashion. We were also able to conduct a successful bond election in 2007 with total community support and a bond steering committee of over 50 community members contributing to its input and roll out." she said.

She continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Fort Bend Education Foundation since 2002, as well as the Board of the Sugar Land Exchange Club and Child Advocates Council. She has chaired the International Festival for the Fort Bend Education Foundation for the past three years as well as several other city wide events, such as the 1000 Lights for Peace. In the past she has served in a variety of leadership positions at the Texas Medical Association Alliance, Indo American Charity Foundation, and the City of Sugar Land's Econornic Development Council Boards. She brings a significant level of leadership experience in a variety of roles.

Bhuchar, a graduate of Bombay University and her husband, Dr. Subodh Bhuchar live in Sugar Land and have three children, two of whom have graduated from FBISD and the youngest still attends a FBISD high school.

 


FORT BEND ISD – POSITION 6

How many consecutive years have you been an active voter in fort Bend County?

Marilyn Glover – I have been an active voter in Fort Bend County for 19 years.

In what ways do you consider yourself a fiscal conservative?

Marilyn Glover – I believe in very limited government.  While government was needed to pass legislation to ensure equality of many groups of people who were otherwise disenfranchised, I believe that when a person earns, he/she should be able to decide how best to spend their money.  Government has a tendency, too often, to create programs that ultimately result in dependency.

I’d do not support deficit spending.

I believe that we should continuously review and evaluate programs to ensure that the purpose for which they were founded is still being met.

I believe wholeheartedly and pay for performance; when employees are paid appropriately/competitive (sic) you retain them resulting in good morale and cost savings.

 

If elected or reelected, in what way will you use your term of office to promote and implement the principals of fiscal conservatism?  Please be as specific as possible and include any special issues relevant to the post or office you are seeking.

Marilyn Glover – taxpayers expect those who are elected to be good stewards of their money.

The district has a great relationship with the business community. I would continue those relationships and look for new relationships as well.  There may be additional programs where business leaders may wish to engage in that are not currently offered.

It is always more expensive to recruit than retain.  We all benefit from our teachers and employees been paid well.  At first glance, this issue and may not appear to be related to “fiscal conservatism”, but the cost of recruiting and training new hires beg to differ.

Tax increases are never popular.  I would weigh heavily on contingency plans, business groups, etc.  That many offer new ideas and shared revenue support if possible.  Are there programs that have been successful that could be “sun set” because the district has accomplished its objectives?  Are their programs that could be integrated or set for a later date if the revenue is an issue?  These are areas that I would review.

Please provide a brief Bio no more than one page.

Marilyn Glover - I am originally from La Marque, TX in Galveston County. I am married to former Missouri City Councilman Albert Glover, Jr. We have three adult sons together.  Both of my children (one deceased) graduated from schools in Fort Bend ISD.

My work history is varied and exemplary. My career began with NASA-Manned Spacecraft Center (known today as Johnson Spacecraft Center). Following my work history with NASA, I excelled professionally in the Corporate sector, working for a former Fortune 500 company that competed with IBM, Hewlitt-Packard, and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). While employed at this corporation, I served in many capacities: Compensation Manager, Recruitment, Employee Relations Manager, and ultimately Southwest Area Personnel Manager with responsibility for Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. I was asked to set up an office in Dallas, TX which I also agreed to do, relocating to that area for one year.

As an Area Personnel Manager., my territory continued to be expanded, resulting in being away from home often for many years. I represented the Corporation from an HR perspective in several Federal class-action discrimination lawsuits; recommended corrective actions and negotiated with the Office of Federal Contracts & Compliance (OFCC); facilitated workshops addressing Effective Recruiting, Time Management, Coaching & Increased Employee Productivity, and Sexual Harassment. I was responsible for writing a budget and held accountable for meeting it.

Following my corporate experience, I worked as a Legislative Aide for a former local State Representative. My responsibilities were varied, working with the Legislative Council in Austin, and handling local constituent Issues.

My work experience also includes working for the Fort Bend County District Attorney as an advocate for battered women in misdemeanor court cases.  Following that experience, I worked for a Fort Bend County Commissioner in a professional capacity.

I have served and continue to serve my community and county through many associations, to name a few: Past President of Fort Bend YMCA; Past Executive Bd/regular Board - Fort Bend Literacy Council; Past Fort Bend Women's Center Board; Fort Bend Regional Council on Substance Abuse; Children's Advocacy Council (umbrella organization of Child Advocates); Fort Bend County Library Advisory Board, HCC-Southwest Advisory Committee, etc.


 
SUGAR LAND CITY COUNCIL – DISTRICT 1

How many consecutive years have you been an active voter in fort Bend County?

Donald Smithers – 30+ years

In what ways do you consider yourself a fiscal conservative?

Donald Smithers – Nothing is free. 
Any policies that are put in place will have a cost. 
The government at all levels (national, state, county, local) should not spend money they do not have.  Debt is not the method to solve problems.
Growth is good but it comes with a price.

If elected or reelected, in what way will you use your term of office to promote and implement the principals of fiscal conservatism?  Please be as specific as possible and include any special issues relevant to the post or office you are seeking.

Donald Smithers – The City of Sugar Land has used sales tax revenue generated by First Colony Mall and other businesses.  This has allowed for the lowering of property tax while providing for growth.

As a member at city council I would be an advocate for tax abatements and TIRZ as a method to attract new business.

At some point it may be necessary to make the hard decision of raising taxes or cutting services.  This is when the principals (sic) of fiscal conservatism will really come into play – Everyone can be a “Fiscal Conservative” when times are good and there is a lot of growth and tax revenues.

Please provide a brief Bio no more than one page.

Donald Smithers
Don has lived in Covington Woods since 1976 with his wife of 53+ years, Merle. They have 4 children, Nancy, Donna, Joyce and Gene and also 4 grandchildren.

Don retired from Southwestern Bell as Manager – Engineering design in 1991. He worked for Cobb, Fendley and Associates for 11 years and is still doing part time consulting for them. Don is also working part time for Fort Bend County in the Transportation Department.

Don Smithers served District One as Councilmember 1997 -2003.
During his time on Council, Don Smithers was active on the various city, county and regional committees -

  • Smithers served as Mayor Pro Tem for 3 years
  • Served on the Houston Galveston Area Council (HGAC) Transportation Policy Council 1998-2003
  • Sugar Land Development Corporation (4A)
  • Emergency Preparedness Task Force
  • Business Incentive Committee
  • Fort Bend County Mobility Task Force
  • Texas Municipal League - Region 14

He is active in the community -

  • Sugar Land Cultural Art Foundation -Director and founding member
  • Rotary Club - past president
  • Fort Bend Boy's Choir -former board member
  • Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce - Leadership 2000 graduate
  • Fort Bend Fair Association - Life Member
  • Sugar Creek Baptist Church
  • Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Life Member
  • Imperial Redevelopment District - Director
  • Fort Bend County Appraisal Review Board - Former Member
  • Sugar Land Zoning Board of Adjustment - Former Chairman

Service to the Nation -
Veteran - United States Air Force - 4 years active duty
Air National Guard - 27 years
National Guard Association of Texas - Life Member and Director