Wendy Duncan has set her sights on Fort Bend Commissioner Precinct 3 with 2020 Vision

Cover Story | By Stephanie Rice  –

Photo by Audrey Franceen Photography.

With a clear vision Wendy Duncan announced her candidacy for Fort Bend County Commissioner Precinct 3 more than a year prior to the 2020 election. “Now is the time for motivated and qualified leadership to progress our county forward. Improving our quality of life through mobility and flood control are my top priorities,” Duncan said regarding her bid for election. She is seeking to unseat incumbent Andy Meyers, who has held the position for more than 20 years. Duncan believes it is time for Fort Bend County residents to have a new leader who will offer a fresh perspective.

Seeing Up Close

Duncan has used the time since announcing her candidacy to connect with voters and lawmakers alike. She has gained firsthand knowledge of the concerns and challenges she will face in her new role, as well developed a keen insight in how best to navigate these waters with success.

Duncan, a native Texan with an undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M and a master’s degree in Education Administration from the University of Houston, is well-suited for taking on the role of Commissioner. “Leadership, communication, education and management are skills I possess, which will enable me to successfully meet the demands of Fort Bend County Commissioner,” said Duncan confidently. Her work as an educator in the classroom for six years, then as assistant principal, has given Duncan the competencies necessary to lead a large organization, effectively mediating conflict while working toward resolution.

As co-owner of a property acquisition and management company with her husband, Duncan has a crystal-clear understanding of what is needed for a community to be a place residents want to be a part of. She understands how to analyze the complicated and ever-changing real estate market, a classic gauge of the wellness of a community. This is an expertise she will apply as Commissioner to improve the quality of life for all Fort Bend County residents in Precinct 3.

Living in the Katy area since 2001 with her husband and three sons has provided Duncan a seasoned viewpoint of the precinct’s needs. “Geographically, I live in the middle of our precinct, and every day, I see what you see. I share your feelings of frustration over our traffic and the gnawing concerns of future flooding. I want low taxes and quality of life for our families, my neighbors – my friends.”

Eye-Opener:  Flood Control

As with many of her Fort Bend County neighbors, Hurricane Harvey was an eye-opening experience for Duncan. She had only begun her service as Assistant Vice President of the Willow Fork Drainage District (WFDD) a few months prior to Harvey’s devastation in the region. “I was thankful to have crucial and helpful information to give to our community during and after that crisis,” said Duncan.

In the aftermath of Harvey, Duncan learned from WFDD’s legal counsel, Steve Robinson, that the solutions to Houston’s flooding problems had been known for decades but had only been partially implemented. She felt compelled to work toward acquiring additional flood mitigation for our region by organizing meetings with local, state and federal officials to deliver Robinson’s powerful message of a better path forward for flood control for the Greater Houston Area. During this time, Robinson invited Duncan to be a part of Houston Stronger, which had been working toward this goal for many years. Houston Stronger is a coalition of civic groups, business associations and active citizens from throughout the Texas Gulf Coast region dedicated to working with government officials to implement a comprehensive regional flood and storm resiliency plan that safeguards our citizens and property.

Duncan’s position as Assistant Vice President with the WFDD, a government office serving over 33,000 residents in the Cinco Ranch area of Katy in Fort Bend County, has afforded her the opportunity to learn laws and regulations surrounding the operation of a government body. She was further motivated from her research and became engrossed in promoting flood management solutions. “An active and engaged community is the key ingredient to successful and positive change in society,” explained Duncan.

Carter, Wendy, Luke, Rob and Trey Duncan.

Carter, Wendy, Luke, Rob and Trey Duncan.

Through an introduction by Robinson, Duncan met Marlin Williford, a Harris County resident in the Barker Reservoir area, in June of 2018 to discuss flood control solutions for the Barker Reservoir. Barker Flood Prevention Advocacy was quickly formed with Duncan as co-founder. “Flood prevention remains a major issue and concern for our area,” said Duncan. The purpose of the Barker Reservoir Flood Prevention advocacy group is to identify and promote immediate and substantive flood control projects in the Barker Reservoir Area, both upstream and downstream. Community meetings, the group’s website (www.barkerfloodprevention.org), Facebook Page (@barkerfloodprevention) and e-newsletters are used to educate the public about flood control solutions for the Barker Reservoir Area and to inspire the public to advocate for these solutions. In her co-founder role, Duncan works with federal, state and local government officials and agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to realize the execution of these flood control solutions. “We have been fortunate to develop positive relationships with those who serve our community in positions of influence and authority. We will remain steadfast in our resolve to get these solutions completed, as well as empower and support community groups who are working to implement solutions in support of flood control initiatives,” said Duncan.

As Commissioner, Duncan will continue to focus on implementing regional solutions to get Fort Bend County residents out of the 100-year flood plain. “I have been meeting with residents, government officials and engineers to identify viable solutions for Fort Bend County Precinct 3 that will provide better protection along Jones Creek, Bessie’s Creek, Buffalo Bayou, the Brazos River and the Barker Reservoir. The lack of adequate flood control infrastructure is the cause of on-going loss of life and property damage from flooding. We can build infrastructure that will help control and reduce chronic flooding in seasonal rain events.”

Foresight: Traffic and Road Noise

Presenting Flood Mitigation projects.

Precinct 13 has seen tremendous growth in the last decade, and with it has come increased traffic and road noise. Twenty-four years ago before much of the development west of the Grand Parkway began, an opportunity existed to create north-south corridors between 1-10 and FM 1093. Unfortunately, that opportunity has passed, and Fort Bend County Precinct 3 residents are currently left with a patchwork of roads which produce gridlock and less than adequate mobility. Duncan has the foresight to see the problem will only grow as the surrounding communities continue to develop. “We need to build mobility infrastructure that meets the demands of our population growth. This is a huge quality of life issue for a lot of people and one that must be addressed.”

Duncan acknowledges that road projects are behind schedule, over budget and inadequate to meet the ever- increasing population demand resulting in traffic problems, which produce extended travel times to work and school. “Grand Parkway, the Westpark Tollway and Cane Island Parkway must be our focus to decrease commute times and get people home to their families,” explained Duncan.

  • Cane Island Parkway was obsolete when it opened. Duncan believes this road should have been built with at least two lanes in each direction and an added right turn lane at the eastbound intersection of I-10. To date, it is a two-lane road resulting in frustrating access to beautiful, vibrant neighborhoods.
  • Grand Parkway has been labeled one of the deadliest highways in Texas. There are no continuous access roads in the Fort Bend County portion of Hwy 99 between 1-10 and FM 1093. Currently, there are only plans to add frontage roads on the west side between Cinco Ranch Boulevard and Westheimer Parkway and between Fry Road and FM 1093.
  • The Westpark Tollway has cost more than double its original budget and was years behind schedule before completion.

The failure to implement coordinated long-term planning 10 years ago for the 1093 expansion has caused school children to be chronically late to school for months. Currently, Fulshear residents are experiencing extreme commute times for short distances. Road segments approved by voters in the 2013 Mobility Bond could have helped reduce some of this gridlock if they had been built in a timely manner.

Duncan will partner with TxDOT, cities, municipal utility districts, school districts and county engineers to develop a long–range mobility plan, implement projects strategically and communicate effectively with residents to find more optimal solutions. “I also want to work on solutions to reduce the noise from the highways,” said Duncan. She has been working in tandem with other community leaders and residents to address this on-going concern. TxDOT plans to add one lane to Grand Parkway (between Westpark Tollway and I-10) in each direction in an upcoming expansion project. Included in this project is the potential for adding sound abatement solutions. Additional noise reduction features may be needed, and Duncan is committed to continuing her work with TxDOT to acquire complementary solutions to this quality of life issue.

As traffic and noise-reduction initiatives progress, Duncan emphasizes short-term and long-term planning “must be done with community input, coordination with all government entities and agencies, excellent communications and efficient execution of the projects.”

Insight: Higher than Average Property Taxes

Most people you talk to in Fort Bend County will say they pay extremely high property taxes. They are correct. Fort Bend County residents pay the second highest county property tax in Texas, and Fort Bend County is the seventh highest in total taxes collected in Texas. Even with this heavy tax burden, Precinct 3 does not have the road and flood infrastructure, parks and trails and facilities to show for this taxation. Commuters sit in gridlock traffic all over Precinct 3, and no flood management has been added to the area despite three significant flood events in four years. The bond projects taxpayers have approved are behind schedule and over budget. Broken contracts have caused costly lawsuits, and frivolous engineering studies are conducted with no intent to actually perform the work. This mismanagement has cost Fort Bend County property owners over $100 million. Duncan will work to reduce the tax burden by managing projects more efficiently and reducing wasteful spending.

2020 Vision: Fort Bend County Precinct 3

As Commissioner, Duncan will continue to do her best to provide a quality service to Fort Bend County Precinct 3 residents through quick response to issues, accessibility to residents and other local officials and to actively promote the community in which we live. Duncan considers communication, accountability, integrity and inclusion of constituents in the decision-making process the mainstays of how she will lead as Commissioner. “Unlike state or federal government, county government is focused on issues that are non-partisan in nature – roads and bridges, drainage and flood management, health and human services and safety – to name a few. All of these issues affect each individual resident regardless of party affiliation. As Commissioner, I will work for all residents in Precinct 3 of Fort Bend County. I absolutely will not stand idly by while we all go down the same path that Precinct 3 has been on for the past 20 years. Residents need to be in control of their own destiny,” said Duncan.

For more information on Duncan, visit www.wendyforcommissioner.com.

Pol Ad paid for by Wendy Duncan Campaign, James P. Logan, Treasurer.