As early voting in the March 5th primary election heads into its final days, KWHI is meeting with candidates on the packed Washington County ballot.

Don Koester

Two of the county’s commissioner positions are up for election, and both feature incumbents vying to retain their seats against challengers who are political newcomers but have long history in the county. 

For the Precinct 1 Commissioner spot, incumbent Don Koester faces Misti Hartstack Corn.  The Precinct 3 Commissioner race pits incumbent Kirk Hanath against Billy Ruemke.  All four are running as Republicans, and the winners will have no Democratic opposition. 

Koester owns Don’s Appliance and has trained several technicians in the service business following 32 years at Sears Roebuck and Co.  He has served as Precinct 1 Commissioner since 2017.  Koester says his priority is being honest to his constituents and assisting them however he can.

Misti Hartstack Corn

Hartstack Corn works at Texas A&M University as a program director and is the proprietor of a small business, The Mason Jar Mama.  She previously spent time working for Blinn College and Brenham Head Start. Hartstack Corn believes the people’s trust in government is fading, and she seeks to ensure that the public’s voice is heard.

Kirk Hanath

Hanath has been a commissioner since 2004 and is the longest-sitting commissioner currently serving on the court.  Hanath says it takes a team effort in order to be successful, and that all of his decisions are based not on the here and now, but what is best for the years to come.

Billy Ruemke

Ruemke has spent 45 years in law enforcement, including positions with the Brenham Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office and his current role at the Austin County Sheriff’s Office.  Ruemke says his experience can offer a unique perspective on the commissioners court and pledges openness with the public to help meet the needs of the county.

Some of the questions asked to each candidate included how their experience makes them best suited for this capacity, their priorities, how they plan to work with other offices and departments, and how they plan to maintain transparency with the community. 

Click below to listen to KWHI's interview with Don Koester.

Click below to hear KWHI's interview with Misti Hartstack Corn.

Click below to listen to KWHI's conversation with Kirk Hanath.

Click below to hear KWHI's visit with Billy Ruemke.

What’s your Reaction?


  1. Pct 3 Interviews
    22:04 Hanath
    8:24 Ruemke

    Why was the incumbent for Pct 3 given 22:04 minutes of air time while his opponent only received 8:24? Pct 1 candidates did not have that issue. Makes it look very biased.

    1. Mr. or Ms. Anonymous…please think about what you are saying. A news organization asks essentially the same questions of two candidates. Besides airing some of the better quotes from each candidate, the news organization also posts the entire interview of each for everyone to hear. Does it make that news organization biased because one candidate had longer answers? Should the reporter have edited those answers as he saw fit just to make them shorter and the interview the same length as the opponent? To me, that would be biased. By the way, have you ever had a conversation with Hanath? LOL

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