Freestone County voters got to know several of the candidates who will appear on this year’s ballots for the March 1, 2022 primary election.
Early voting has already started and will continue until next week. (Click here to find out what’s on your ballot)
This was the third Candidates Forum organized by the Freestone County Retired Teachers Association. The event took place on Thursday February 10 in the cafeteria of Fairfield High School.
Justice of the Peace – Pct. 2
Citing a twenty-two-year career in human resources, the candidate Tammy Ramsey told voters she was a good listener and knew how to resolve conflict. She promised to be fair in her treatment of people in court and ended with “God bless the United States.”
Kristina Capp Flannery spoke of her work as Chief Clerk of Precinct 1 – Justice of the Peace as being the best training for the elected position she seeks.
She talked about answering after-hours calls, as well as researching and studying the regulations needed for the job.
“You can’t create experience, you have to endure it,” she said, vowing to be honest and work hard for her constituents.
County Commissioner – Pct. 4
Born and raised in the enclosure, candidate Adam Minze says he is ready to serve all of Freestone County.
Minze talked about his family in the cattle business, and his many years working for the federal government and his twenty-six years as a first responder.
He is a member and supporter of the Texas Farm Bureau and is concerned with preserving the county’s groundwater, specifically naming a proposed salmon farm as a project he opposes.
“With your vote, we can change the status quo,” Minze said.
Elected in 2002, holder Clyde Ridge spoke proudly of his years as a “full-time” commissioner with hard-working road workers available and on call 24 hours a day.
Prior to becoming commissioner, Ridge worked for Mexia State School for thirty-one years.
He holds a master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin and is a licensed jailer.
Ridge said that while he works hard to keep tax rates as low as possible and to do what’s in the county’s best interest, “I won’t promise what I can’t deliver.”
Referring to his twenty-six years in local government, incumbent Jeannie Keney says she wants to continue serving her community.
According to Keeney, the position of treasurer includes maintaining and reconciling payroll, tracking benefits for more than 100 employees, and managing the indigent care program.
Keeney gave examples of how she saved the county money and the grants she helped secure for new vehicles.
And, she talked about the many organizations she’s served, including the Fairfield Volunteer and Auxiliary Fire Department, CPS, Broken Crayons, HOTCOG, Big T Bash, and more.
“I really enjoy working for Freestone County,” Keeney said. “It is an honor to serve you.”
Candidate Tammy Harris shared his experience as an office manager for several years, managing payroll and worker compensation for over 200 employees.
Currently in the healthcare industry, Harris said she was heavily involved in the accounting aspects of several institutions and earned an associate’s degree in accounting.
“I love Freestone County,” Harris said, as she asked voters to consider her candidacy.
87th Judicial District
According to Stanley Sokolowskihis candidacy is based on the four Cs:
– Christianity – keeping God first,
–Constitution – interpret literally,
-Conservative – a supporter of pro-life, 2nd Amendment and support for law enforcement, and
–Criminal – a certified criminal lawyer.
Sokolowski served as a prosecutor and conducted jury trials.
He is a strong believer in community service and is currently a member of the Palestine ISD school board.
Limestone County Attorney, Amy Thomas Wardcalls Freestone County his “home away from home”.
“This court is different,” she said, reminding voters that the 87th Judicial District includes Anderson, Leon, Freestone and Limestone counties.
“The judge has to be readily available,” Ward said, and that’s what she aims to do.
Ward promises to be a working judge who will be fair and compassionate to all.
Anderson County District Attorney Brian Walsh referenced his twenty-year career that included civil, family and criminal law, both in jury and bench trials.
Walsh promises to obey the law and to preside with integrity and impartiality.
State Representative – District 13
When people ask the candidate Dennis Wilson why he would want to return to politics after retiring as Limestone County Sheriff, his answer is that he is a servant.
“I want to be a representative for you,” he said. “I want to be your voice.”
According to Wilson, the best thing for our state and our nation would be to “come back to God.”
He reminded his audience that teachers were a strong electoral bloc.
“I want to go to Austin to work for you guys,” Wilson said.
Candidate Angelia Orr may have passed his homework, after giving statistics on the number of school districts and school board members in State Convention District 13.
Orr is a graduate of Texas A&M, has been part of a ranching family for thirty years, and has spent many years as a substitute teacher.
She served on her local school board, served as county clerk for nine years and worked for state Rep. Cody Harris, who supported her campaign.
“Call me and I’ll listen to you,” Orr said.
United States Representative – District 6
Candidate James Buford said he was qualified to serve because he was over 25, an American citizen, a concerned Texan, and “not a politician”.
He spoke about the need to remove vaccination mandates and promised to say ‘no’ to our daughters drafted into the army.
Buford spoke about the struggle of “real people” with inflation and gas prices.
And, he repeated a joke once made by the late President Ronald Reagan: “The most terrifying words in English are, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help!”
United States Representative – District 17
“I represented Freestone County for many years,” the incumbent said Pete Sessions.
Great support from the community and the Texas Farm Bureau, Rep. Sessions stressed the importance of “regaining the majority”.
Sessions also listed his 100% rating with Right-To-Life groups and an A+ membership in the NRA.
“I am at your disposal,” he said, giving his email address [email protected]
A fan Jason “Stormchaser” Nelson took the floor to say that two types of people go to Washington: those who are there for the party, and those who are there for you.
“I’m here to run for you!” he said.
Nelson said he does not believe in warrants and believes the government cannot tell parents how to care for their children.
“I will always care about you,” he said, “and I’ll only give you six years.”
Otherwise, Nelson said, “you become part of the swamp!”
Governor of the State of Texas
On behalf of the candidate Don Huffinesspeaking to the audience was Victoria Forrest.
She told voters that when Huffines served in the state Senate, he was voted the most conservative member.
Important questions for the candidate include:
– Securing our borders,
–Abolition of property taxes,
–End abortion, no exceptions
–Stop the mutilation of our children
State Commissioner for Agriculture
Calling himself a “different Democrat”, the candidate Ed Iresson says he is deeply passionate about Texas agriculture.
What does the Ministry of Agriculture actually do?
“It’s about feeding our children,” Ireson said.
“It’s about promoting Texas products – and I know how to market.”
Ireson thinks it’s time to get rid of the Big Ag middleman and work for rural interests.
He promised to serve with honesty, integrity and transparency.
Court of Criminal Appeal – Place 5
“I ask you to vote for me again,” the incumbent said Scott Walker.
Describing himself as a conservative Republican “since I was of voting age”.
Walker shared that after he was first elected, he and his wife studied the scripture Amos 5:15 which reads: Hate the evil, love the good, and set judgment at the gate.
“It’s my job,” Walker said.
A delicious chili was served before the forum.
Attendees were welcomed by Kim Whitaker, President of the Freestone County Retired Teachers Association.
US and state flag engagements were conducted by Cub Scout Pack 668.
Local radio personality Buzz Russell hosted the evening.
Recognition was given to law enforcement and first responders, as well as elected officials.
Other candidates were present. However, due to lack of time, the candidates running unopposed were not invited to speak.
Once the forum was over, voters were encouraged to stay and talk one-on-one with individual candidates.
“Thank you to all the contestants who came out tonight,” said Kim Whitaker. “And thank you to all the volunteers.
The Democratic and Republican primary elections are held in Texas on March 1, 2022. (Click here for polling locations)
Early voting began Monday and continues Monday, February 14 through Friday, February 18 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, February 22 through Friday, February 25 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Two polling places are open in Freestone County during the early voting period: Fairfield Conference Center at 839 E. Commerce Street in Fairfield, Texas and Teague City Hall at 105 S. 4th Ave in Teague, Texas.
Everyone is encouraged to exercise their right to vote.
(Photos by Karen Leidy)