Terry: Who should be elected county judge in this month’s runoff election … the first endorsement for Lubbock Lights?
Scott: Gary Boren
Scott: He has experience after time on the Lubbock City Council and LISD Board. Also, Lubbock voters have signaled they are looking for a change. Precincts 2 & 4 have voted out long-term incumbents. Boren is the most philosophically aligned with the two new commissioners. I say, if this is where voters want to go, then let’s give them a matched set and enough rope to hang themselves: Gary Boren is the right choice for the Commissioners Court that takes office January 1.
Terry: Give me your three best reasons Gary is a better choice than Curtis Parrish … I think Gary has a clear handle on what voters want, but he left his position on the Lubbock City Council a few years ago in a way that made me wonder if something was going on beyond his statement. And I also really enjoyed our visit with Curtis.
“If this is where voters want to go, then let’s give them a matched set …”
Scott: First, I agree with Gary’s priorities of roads and public safety. I believe he is better equipped to lead the new commissioners and to harness their energy and creativity in the best possible way. Finally, he’s not looking or likely to make a 20-year career of the job.
Terry: But Curtis also said public safety and roads were his top two priorities.
Scott: Yes, but he also named juvenile justice as the biggest challenge facing the new county judge, and when pressed he made it clear roads are the commissioners’ job, hearkening back to the old name for them, “road commissioners.”
Curtis also appears confused about the “extra money” available once the county is no longer servicing debt; but once the debt is paid those revenues are no longer collected. It reflects a fundamental lack of understanding of how county government operates. Once you’ve talked with both, it’s clear to me Boren intends to spend more of his time being the chief administrator of the county and Parrish would spend more of his time in the justice system.
Terry: Since I’ve been in Lubbock we’ve had a county judge who has done almost completely the legal side of the job. And considering recent changes make that part of the job more complex, can we expect either to have time to do both jobs well?
Scott: Well, Gary is the best for the job as it is structured today.
Terry: Sold. But should the job be changed in the near future?
Scott: The days of Coke Stevenson studying for the bar at night while working at the bank are past. We have different expectations of our county judge. According to Curtis, Lubbock is the 18th largest county in the state. In most of the counties larger than Lubbock the county judge does not perform judicial functions. You can hire an associate judge to handle the judicial functions but you cannot hire leadership for the Commissioners Court.
Terry: But that would cost more money – and in our first editorial, do we want to advocate for growing government?
Scott: Well, we don’t want important legal issues dealing with probate and guardianship to be mishandled.
Terry: I’ve done a little poking around. A statutory probate court would be better than the system we have now that is set in the past when most Texas counties were much smaller – as many still are. And with Gary’s administrative skills, I bet he could find the money to pay for it out of the existing budget.
Lubbock Lights endorses Gary Boren in the Republican primary runoff for Lubbock constitutional county judge.