District 9 Republican Challenger Is Oil Man, Rancher: Report

January 15, 2020

An oilman who wants to increase investment in his home county outside the oil and gas industry is taking on Chris Paddie for the District 9 state House seat in the March GOP primary.

Mark Williams said he’s a cattleman and a rancher as well as an oilman; his father formed William’s Oil and Gas in Panola County, and while his district includes a profitable gas field, the future is in a more widely varied local economy.

“Panola County in particular has always had this gas field — well I got news for you, that gas field’s almost depleted,” Williams told The Panola Watchman.

“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.

He added that it would be good to get a beef packing plant, for example, to help support the local economy because “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.”

William has a business degree from Stephen F. Austin University; his family has a long history in Panola County, where his lives on land developed by his ancestors, where his grandfather was a farmer.

“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 told the newspaper.

“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.”