The new Precinct 4 Orange County Commissioner, Jody Crump, is a Christian man with a humble life. He lives in a cozy home in Pine Forest, just north of Vidor, with his wife, Marilyn, of 30 years. They have nine children: Caleb, Nathan, Lydia, Gideon, Dominic, Marie, Lana, Lincoln and Able. Caleb died in 2002 due to a car accident.

Crump was a plant manager for years in Orange, but he walked away from that about six year ago. “Now, I just work for myself,” he said. He does small contracting and small handyman stuff. “Strictly small handyman repairs and home repairs,” he said. “ It’s exploded with the storms coming through and lots of people have small things to do.”

Crump took some heat from his current customers over the possibility of quitting the handyman business. “I have a lot of elderly people and a lot of widows that call me [for help],” he said. “As far as doing any bigger, time consuming jobs, I will shut all that down.

I’ve had a lot of people without a vehicle that call me in to reset some hinges, change lights that are out, hanging ceiling fans…those little things like that, I can’t walk away from those. Those are very miniscule jobs, very quick.” Crump plans on putting his Commissioner job first but will still continue to help those who need it.

The realm of politics isn’t anything new for Crump. He was the mayor twice and a city council man once for Pine Forest. “When it came time for my term to expire, I told them that I wasn’t going to run again because of the county commissioner [seat],” he said.

Crump chose to run for county commissioner for several reasons. “For one, I’m a big tax guy,” he said. “You can’t do anything without taxes. Everyone agrees with that. You have to pay taxes but we have to make sure that our taxes are where they need to be. We need to make sure that all of the money that is being paid is being spent exactly where it needs to go.”

Crump feels that in a budget environment, one of two things can happen: taxes either are increased or expenditures get cut. “Being a plant manager for so many years, you learn to look for things and to ask questions,” he said. “You’re not even looking for this great big thing that’s going to save you $12 million dollars. You looking for the little things.

“I’m not out for blood, I’m not that kind of guy,” Crump said. “We just need to make sure where we’re spending that money. The county doesn’t have any money, they have your money. That $47 million is yours. My job now is to be the liaison between you and the County and I’m the guy to make sure that they are spending your money where you want it to go.”

Crump is the first republican to hold a commissioner seat in Orange County but that doesn’t intimidate him. “It’s quite the opposite to me,” he said. “I think it is quite an honor and a privilege to be able to step into that position.

“I enjoy politics, not necessarily the negative side, but the ability to help people and get things done,” he said. “I do understand that I will be under a microscope, I do know I will be watched like a bird dog. If you play by the rules and do what you’re supposed to do, that’s not intimidating. I want to step in there and start demonstrating very strong family values and very strong conservative values.”

One of the first things Crump wants to do when he takes office is to take a very long, hard look at the budget. He wants to break it down department by department, line by line and see how much is being spent and where it is being spent. “I think that is essential,” he said. “I think that has to be done.”

“I’ve seen him action as mayor,” Crump’s wife, Marilyn, said. “He’s got the ability to work for the people and to make sure that he has the facts before he makes a move on any issue.”

“One of my pet peeves is to know the facts,” Crump said. “I do a lot homework, a lot of research, a lot of late nights, that’s just the way I do things. Making an uninformed decisions is dangerous.”

Crump said that he and his family took a risk and planned a party for the night of the election.

When the preliminary results came in, his family and friends were ecstatic. Crump said he remained calm until the final results got back to him.

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers