By LILLIE BUSH-REVES
Franklin County voters will get an opportunity to meet and speak with Republican Party candidates who are seeking county office this year at the meet and greet event Tuesday, Jan. 11.
The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Franklin County Arts Alliance Center at 100 Rusk St., one block both north of W. Main St. and west of the Franklin County Courthouse. Pizza and cookies will be available to attendees for as long as they last.
Four incumbents are not seeking re-election which will lead to the largest turnover in Franklin County leadership seen in current history. Not seeking re-election are County Treasurer Betty Sue Allen (11 yrs), Pct. 4 Commissioner Sam Young (16 yrs.), Pct. 2 Commissioner Larkin Jumper (8 yrs.), and County Clerk Betty Ruth Crane (25 yrs.).
Only Republican candidates have filed for local offices. The list of candidates includes two for each of the following offices: county judge, treasurer, and Pct. 2 and 4 commissioners. Also on the ballot are three candidates who are unchallenged for the position for which they are running.
Brook Bussell is the only political newcomer to be unchallenged as she seeks election as county clerk. Ms. Bussell, an employee in the office for 19 years, has served the last 10 years as the chief deputy clerk.
Franklin County Justice of the Peace Robert Zinn (4 yrs.) and District Clerk Ellen Jaggers (>16 yrs.) are unchallenged in their bids for re-election.
Kathy Lovier, who is serving as Municipal Court Judge, has challenged Franklin County Judge Scott Lee. Judge Lovier has served 15 years as Municipal Court Judge and City Secretary for the City of Mount Vernon. Judge Lee is seeking a third term in office as County Judge. Prior to becoming judge, he worked 26 years as a State Trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Candidates filed for election to the office of county treasurer are Paris Tillery and Waymon Carl (Trey) Newsome, III. Ms. Tillery is a newcomer to the county and previously worked as a materials buyer and price negotiator for Daltile. Mr. Newsome, a native of the county, returned to farming after service as former ticket operations manager for the Dallas Mavericks.
Pct. 4 commissioner candidates are Robert Summerlin and Michael Edwin “Eddie” Rhoades. Mr. Summerlin, a 45-year-resident of the precinct, is currently working with the Pct. 3 road crew. Mr. Rhoades is a life-long resident of the county, and currently serves as mechanic for the Mount Vernon Independent School District.
Pct. 2 commissioner candidates are Toby Godfrey and Scott Ragsdale. Mr. Godfrey has worked as a member of the road crew in Pct. 4 for the past three years. Previously, he worked for the Texas Department of Transportation Maintenance Division for more than 18 years. Mr. Ragsdale has worked for the past eight years in the automotive / forklift department at Priefert Mfg. Prior to that, he worked 22 years for Pilgrims, Inc. with much of that time as maintenance supervisor. Contact the respective political party chairpersons for information about up-ballot candidates. The Republican Party County chairperson is Charlene “Charlie” Wilson – 903-243-2871. The Democrat Party County chairperson is Glenda Pollock at 903-305-6308, text only, please.