David Blackburn, a former city manager for Killeen and Temple, announced his candidacy for Bell County Judge Sept. 5 outside the Bell County Courthouse.
For 20 years, local politicians have turned to David Blackburn to manage two of Bell County’s largest cities. More recently, Blackburn has been a director of economic development.
Blackburn says that Bell County “needs a strong, fiscally responsible leader to ensure the continuity of economic growth. that’s why I am running for Bell County Judge.”
“The key to our prosperity is allowing residents and businesses the freedom to succeed. I want to be an enabler for that freedom,” Blackburn stated.
“With my background and experience, I am uniquely qualified to make Bell County the best-run county in Texas,” he added.
Blackburn holds a law degree from St. Mary’s University and served as Killeen’s city attorney. He has managed multi-million-dollar budgets for the cities of Killeen and Temple over the course of his career as a city manager.
In the last three years as President and Chief Executive Officer for the Temple Economic Development Corporation, David has helped bring hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in private capital investment to the Temple area.
Blackburn was born in 1957 in Abilene, to Donald and Shirley Blackburn. David’s father was a career military man who died in 1973 while serving on active duty in the US Air Force. His mother still lives in his hometown of Abilene, where she recently retired as a practicing registered nurse.
Blackburn has lived in multiple places over the course of his life, including Canada, the Philippines, North Africa, and several cities across the U.S.
After graduating from Abilene Cooper High School, he attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. He received a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in History and Political Science. Blackburn then attended the American University in Washington, D.C., studying International Affairs. He capped off his academic career at St. Mary’s University Law School in San Antonio, where he received his Juris Doctorate.
Before coming to Bell County, Blackburn served as a city attorney in Texarkana and Plainview. It was in the early 1990’s that David and his wife Anne moved to Central Texas. Over the course of a decade, David built his ties in Killeen as a city attorney, assistant city manager, deputy city manager and, finally, city manager. In 2005, he headed east to become the city manager of Temple. During his service as the Killeen and Temple City Manager, David managed over 2,000 employees and 100 million-plus budgets.
He retired as city manager in 2014 and became President and Chief Executive Officer of the Temple Economic Development Corporation in 2015.
In addition to his government service, Blackburn has served on multiple boards and commissions over the years. He is a current member of the Temple Chamber of Commerce and Board of Governors of the Central Texas Chapter of the Association of the United States Army. His regional board and commission service include serving on the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization (a regional transportation planning body), the Brazos G Water Planning Group (a regional water planning body), and the Brazos River & Bay Basin Area Stakeholder Committee (a regional water planning group).
Blackburn has also been a member of various professional organizations, to include the International City/County Managers Association, the Texas City Managers Association, and the Texas City Attorney’s Association (past President).
He now lives in rural northwest Bell County with his wife Anne. They have four grown daughters who live in Texas and New York.