As many of you are aware, next Monday begins a very important election where the residents of Wichita County will be casting primary votes for a new county judge. The purpose of this newsletter is to explain what the role of county judge actually is and to share my thoughts about who you should consider supporting with your vote. I assure you that I don’t think my opinion is any more important than anyone else’s, but given my familiarity with both the role of county judge and one of the candidates, I thought at least some of you might be interested.
For the record, I will be voting for Jim Johnson and if you have time to finish this letter I think you will see why.
What does the County Judge Actually Do?
The role of the county judge is an incredibly important one in Texas government and yet many people really don’t understand what a county judge does. I have outlined in detail in the newsletter what the county judge actually does because the primary election begins Monday, Feb 14th (Election day is Mar 1). Given that the county is currently close to 75% Republican, the winner of the primary is almost certain to win the general election in November and become Wichita County Judge in January 2023.
Though the article below gives much detail on the role of the county judge, the Cliff’s notes version is that the judge is the:
- Presiding officer of the commissioners’ court, which is made up of 5 people with the other 4 being separately elected commissioners.
- Chief Budget Officer of the County – Wichita County has nearly a $60 million budget.
- Emergency Management Officer for Wichita County – A role that we have seen exercised extensively during the COVID pandemic.
- Election Oversight Officer – The county judge plays a central role in the administration and oversight of elections.
- Constituent Services Provider – Staying connected with and serving constituents in the county is a huge part of the job of an effective county judge.
- Judge – Many county judges do not actually perform judicial functions. In larger counties their administrative role takes precedence over any judicial functions. He or she can perform certain civil, probate, misdemeanor, juvenile, criminal and mental health cases.
Who is Jim Johnson?
Jim is a lifetime Wichita Falls resident. He and his wife, Sarah (also from WF) have been married for 14 years and have one son, Jacob. Jim was a National Merit Scholarship winner who graduated from Rider High School. Though he did cross the Red River to graduate from OU, he has spent essentially all of his adult life in this area (with the notable exceptions of 5-month Austin stints for the past four sessions). He has spent the past 8-years as my Chief of Staff and has done a truly fantastic job. He also served in Congressman Thornberry’s Wichita Falls office handling constituent issues for 5 years. His knowledge of the inner workings of government are unmatched, however, his perspective and focus have always remained with the constituent (not the government). He is genuinely conservative in his personal life, his beliefs and in his political convictions.
There are few men on the planet that I respect more than Jim Johnson. I have known him for many years, and have worked with him very closely over the past eight years as he has served as the Chief of Staff for my state representative office. In that role, he has been instrumental in working with the 6 county judges that I represent, working constituent issues, working with state agencies, and he has become intimately familiar with the state budget. He has also handled all interviewing, hiring and managing the rest of my legislative staff. He has developed strong working relationships with our other elected officials at the state and local levels. In fact, his knowledge and work ethic have earned him the endorsements of the Wichita Falls Association of Realtors, the Wichita Falls Police Officers Association, Congressman Ronny Jackson, State Senators Springer and Perry along with Mayor Santellana.
Why vote for Jim?
Let me make it abundantly clear that I do not think my opinion is any more important or valid that anyone else’s. I do; however, want to share my thoughts on this very important race with anyone who is interested (and I doubt you would have made it this far if you weren’t – LOL).
I am supporting Jim Johnson for County Judge because after carefully reviewing the job description for county judge (See comments above and article below) and knowing Jim’s talents, character and temperament, I believe with all of my heart that he is the right person for the job. A well-run county is important for the quality of life citizens and county employees alike.
Finally, who we elect to represent us is important at all levels. I really appreciate you taking the time to consider my thoughts and encourage you to vote regardless of whether or not you agree with them when early voting starts on Monday Feb 14th (Election day is Mar 1).