Mark Williams never had any intention of running for office, but he says nobody’s running who he thinks really represents the people of East Texas.

“East Texas has economic problems right now for various reasons, and we need somebody that wants to represent us, somebody’s that not trying to reach a state office, and that’s a problem because we’re not like the I-35 Corridor,” Williams said. “...We’ve got to have somebody that wants to represent us, because East Texas is different.”

Mark Williams is running for the Texas House of Representatives District 9 seat against incumbent Chris Paddie in the March 2020 Republican primary.

William has a business degree from Stephen F. Austin University and a host of experience in the timber, cattle and oil and gas industries, having worked in them for most of his life. He also has a family history in Panola County. The land he lives on was bought by his ancestors in 1852; his grandfather was a farmer; and his father owned William’s Oil and Gas and served as the president of the Chamber of Commerce in the 1970s, Williams said.

Williams’ campaign is 90 percent self-funded, and he said he isn’t interested in any endorsements. His website can be found at www.WilliamsETX.com.

Williams believes he will be a better representative for East Texas than Paddie, saying people need someone else to represent them.

A big goal of Williams if he gets elected is to help with the area’s economic situation.

“Panola County in particular has always had this gas field,” Williams said. “Well I got news for you, that gas field’s almost depleted. And raising people’s homeowner’s taxes and property owner taxes, it’s getting to be painful, so we’ve got to find new industry to help us out in the meantime.

“These down periods in the oil and gas production drilling business go long. We went through one from ‘85 to 2000. It went on 15 years. We’re going on 10 now. We’ve just been so heavily connected, we’ve got to wean off of it because there’s one shot left in this area geologically, and that’s the Haynesville Shale, but it’s unproven, and we don’t know. So we’ve got to become more fiscally responsible in our community, and we’re going to have to learn to live within our means.”

Williams says that means luring in industries like a beef packing plant.

“We’d need to go back with more cattle because our timber industry has been down for a long long time,” he said. “We’ve got way too much planted pad all over the country, and it’s not going to change any time soon. Our cattle industry is just up and down; the numbers are too high, they’re cheap too.”

Williams says he wants to stand up and get things done, if elected. He cited three issues as a particular focus, in addition to the economy: protecting life, constitutional carry and protecting history.

“You’ve got to have somebody standing up and being vocal, not ‘Oh, let’s sit here and wait to see how the vote goes, then vote.’ Or just sit here and say ‘Well it went away and I didn’t have to vote on it.’ That’s what’s going on,” Williams said. “We have to have those bills. We have to have constitutional carry. We have to protect life. We have to protect our history. That’s just the way I see it, and it’s not getting done. It’s the reason I’m here. I didn’t want to run; somebody needs to run, individuals, citizens that live and work in these communities have got to get active.”