A month left before filing begins for the 2020 party primary elections, New Braunfels City Secretary Patrick Aten and businesswoman Kristen H. Hoyt said Tuesday they’re running to succeed incumbent Cathy Talcott as Comal County tax assessor-collector.
Talcott said she wouldn’t seek a fourth four-year term in the position she’s held since 2009.
“After 12 wonderful years at the Comal County tax office, I have decided to seek new adventures, so (I) will not be running for re-election,” Talcott posted on her Facebook page Tuesday morning. “It has been the greatest honor of my life to have served the taxpayers of Comal County in this honored position, and I look forward to one more year of doing so.”
Her post followed Aten’s, which stated, “Friends, I am announcing my candidacy for Comal County tax assessor-collector. “This is a very important position within the county that requires an administrative professional with a working knowledge of providing a high-level of customer service within an efficient office.”
Around 5 p.m. Tuesday came Hoyt’s announcement, which was posted on her Facebook page.
“With great excitement, I am proud to announce that I am running for the position of Comal County tax assessor-collector!” it said. “The primary will be held on March 3, 2020 and I look forward to the campaign now and in the coming months – most importantly, visiting with you!”
Both candidates will seek the Republican nomination for tax assessor-collector during the official candidate filing period, which begins Nov. 9 and ends Dec. 9.
Talcott, who served on the New Braunfels City Council from 1996-99, was elected to the first of her three four-year terms as tax assessor in 2008. She succeeded Sherman Krause, who opted against a third term before staging a successful campaign for county judge in 2010.
“I think 12 years is a good amount of time to serve in public office, and I have many things I’d like to do and consider because I thrive on change,” she said. “I’ve done all that I could to bring the (tax office) up to the standards I wanted it to be and the staff members have been do incredible in making this office so pleasurable and such a joy.”
Talcott wouldn’t say if she might follow Krause in eventually seeking the county’s top job.
“He’s got a lot of unfinished business and I’m sure he’ll keep working toward, so I don’t plan on interrupting that,” she said.
Talcott’s Facebook post urged voters to consider “placing Patrick Aten in my position, whose steady and qualified leadership will serve Comal County well!” Aten, 42, with children ages 12 and 8 and making his first run at elective office, appreciated her endorsement.
“I am honored and humbled to have this endorsement from Cathy Talcott, who has been a great asset to Comal County all these years. I will have big shoes to fill, but I am looking forward to working for the people of Comal County!
“I’ve been looking at this position for quite some time,” he said. “I was interested because it was an elected office that’s accountable to county voters, and I have experience working in providing customer service in my (current) position with the city.”
Aten earned a bachelor’s degree in history and served as a high school social studies teacher in Amarillo before moving to Lubbock, where he earned two Master’s degrees – in public administration and political science – from Texas Tech University. He served in Lubbock city government for four years before his hiring as New Braunfels city secretary in 2011.
Aten said his experience in his current position – which chiefly oversees rules of order and records minutes of city council meetings and management of city elections – has prepped him well to take the next step.
“Living and working in Comal County, I understand the changing dynamics of the second-fastest growing county in the nation,” he stated in a press release issued at 5 p.m. Tuesday. “As a conservative Republican, I know the importance of family values, customer service, and operating an efficient office for the taxpayers.”
Hoyt, wife of New Braunfels District 4 City Council Member Matthew Hoyt, announced her candidacy on Facebook minutes later.
“The citizens of Comal County deserve an elected official that will serve her constituents. I’ve proven to our community of Comal County that I have the heart and the energy to serve in this capacity,” she said.
Hoyt earned an undergraduate degree in early childhood education and family sciences from the University of Georgia and later moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a career in music management.
She arrived in New Braunfels and quickly became involved in civic activities and organizations with the Jaycees and Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce.
In 2014, Hoyt was a marketing director with Chick-fil-A when she won the GOP primary and the November general election races for district clerk. She battled party officials who opposed her over length-of-residency requirements, and district judges eventually appointed Heather Kellar to succeed retiring District Clerk Kathy Faulkner.
“In 2014 I earned the vote of the public and received over 88% of the votes,” she said. “My response was to kick my involvement in our community into high gear. I’ve done it once and I’ll do it again. The voters deserve for their voices to be heard and their votes to be honored.”
Hoyt is a graduate of City University, Leadership New Braunfels and Comal County Citizens’ Sheriff’s Academy. She is a Chamber Blue Coat and board member, serves as past president with the Jaycees and active with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Eagles Aerie Ladies Auxiliary.
Hoyt co-owns Corner Tubes with her husband Matthew, who was elected to city council in 2018, and they have a 3½-year-old son.
“I understand the critical efficiencies, discipline, and management skills that I have learned in the private sector as a small business owner that are needed in our government today,” she said.
“Few people wake up excited about renewing their tags or logging online to pay their taxes … I will strive to improve the experiences residents have to face and to reduce the cost of the office to the taxpayers.”