Greater Athens Magazine November 2018 - Page 8

      After a long career as an agriculture teacher at Brownsboro ISD, McHam was part of a four person primary race in 2016 for Precinct 3 Henderson County commissioner. He won the Republican spot after a runoff, then easily took the general election to join new Precinct 1 Commissioner Ken Hayes on the commissioners court. “I appreciate the people of Henderson County giving me this opportunity,” McHam said. “I’m going to try my best to do the job right. I feel honored to be in this position.” McHam grew up in Chandler and got his edu- cation in the Brownsboro school system, gradu- ating in 1984. After attending Tyler Junior College, McHam received his degree in 1984 from Texas A&M. “I was very involved in agriculture,” he said. “I showed mainly heifers and steers when I was in high school. Like the kids today, I showed all of the major shows and the Henderson County Livestock Show. That’s what everybody looked forward to.” In his senior year, McHam had the reserve grand champion Simmental heifer and won grand champion in showmanship. “Back in those days, you had to have a project to be in ag. There were maybe a couple of hun- dred to 300 heifers out there.” McHam said he had three good ag teachers during his stay at Brownsboro. “I had some good mentors in ag teaching. It was probably in college that I decided I wanted to be an ag teacher. After I’d been there a cou- ple of years, I decided to go the teaching route.” After graduation, McHam taught ag science at Martins Mill for two years before returning to Brownsboro ISD for a 25-year stay. “I decided that I wanted to have partners in   my ag teaching,” McHam said. “At Brownsboro, there were three ag teachers instead of one. I took it as a great honor to go back and teach where I had gone to school.” Brownsboro had one of the strongest agricul- ture programs in the area during McHam’s tenure. “At one time, we had one of the top five chap- ters in the state,” he said. “It’s still a large chap- ter.” A few years ago, McHam began to think of what he wanted to do at the end of his teaching career. The Precinct 3 commissioner post had been held by Ronny Lawrence for several terms, but the office was about to be available. “I had several people come to me and tell me I should think strongly about it,” McHam said. “I prayed about it and talked to my wife and decid- ed that I had been in public service through teaching throughout my career and this would just be the next step.” He said he’s enjoying his role as a commis- sioner. “When I first started on Jan. 1, 2017, there wasn’t a manual on how to do it,” McHam said. “You just had to feel your way through it. I think it takes several years to do that.” Judge Richard Sanders, Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney and Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin have lent their expe- rience as he became familiar with the inner workings of the job and commissioners court. “They’ve all been a tremendous help in catch- ing us up,” McHam said. The commissioners court has the responsibil- ity for handling county business and preparing its budget. McHam said it’s important for the members to be able to work together for the county’s good, even in areas where there may be disagreement. “They’ve been able to keep the tax rate the