Why I’m Running For Justice of the Peace

It is not unusual when I meet someone new as a part of my campaigning for them to ask “Why are you running for J.P.?” Let me start with a quick overview of my qualifications, what the JP role involves, and then why I’m running.

Qualifications:

I’ve been a practicing attorney for over 20 years – my office is at the corner of Belterra Dr. and 290, next to the Feed Store.

I’m a retired military veteran. I served on active duty in the US Navy for 5 years, then 17 years in the Navy Reserve. Most of my Reserve time, I was a Naval Intelligence Officer and held a Top Secret Security clearance for over 16 years.

I have a PhD from Baylor College of Medicine and performed medical research for 14 years.

Role of JP:

Most people think a Justice of the Peace just marries people. Performing marriages is voluntary, but is not a job requirement. Our current JP does not perform marriages.

A JP is primarily a judge. There is a court room at the County Complex at Rogers Hanks Pkwy. The Pct. 4 JP holds trials and hearing there several days a week. JPs hear civil suits up to $10,000, small claims matters, criminal misdemeanors cases (punishable by fine, but not time in jail), landlord-tenant disputes and evictions, and truancy and other matters related to school children. They also issue search and arrest warrants. JPs also serve as magistrate one day a week and arraign prisoners at the county jail to set their bond. They also hold evidentiary hearings and license suspension matters.

Because there is not a county medical examiner or coroner in Hays County, when there is an unexpected death, the JP is called out to either certify the death or order an autopsy.

When you compare my qualifications with the job requirements of a JP in Precinct 4, I believe they align well.

Additionally, I have a great deal of life experience that I believe is relevant to serving as a JP.

Why I’m Running for Justice of the Peace:

Over the years, through lots of hard word, dedication, and some luck, I’ve been successful in many areas. I’ve reached a point in life where I’d like to make a more substantial contribution to our community. Comparing my skill set with various opportunities for community service, I think I am best suited to serve as JP. The current JP is retiring, so the position is open. I will commit whatever time is required to do the job successfully.

In addition to my qualifications, I believe my life experience makes me well suited to serve as JP.

During my adult life I’ve experienced a great deal. I’ve lived in 8 states and interacted with people from a wide range of backgrounds. I’ve literally worked with and for hundreds of people during my professional career, which spans five decades. I started working in a grocery store at age 16 bagging groceries. While I was in college, I worked as a cook, then an evening manager at a fast food restaurant. When I was in the Navy, I worked with people from all walks of life, most of whom were drafted or volunteered during the Vietnam War. Some came from tough economic backgrounds, difficult home conditions, had legal problems in the civilian world, or just needed the chance to get away and make a new life for themselves. As a research scientist I worked with some amazing people, including a first generation Indian American undergraduate student who is now an accomplished neurosurgeon and also with a refugee from Vietnam. I developed strong analytical skills as an intelligence officer, attorney and research scientist. Today I help my clients resolve some complex legal and life issues related to health issues, aging, and dying with dignity (my current practice is mostly elder law, estate planning, probate, veterans benefits, and guardianships). This diverse background has taught me that every situation is unique and the facts and circumstances always need to be carefully considered before making a decision or offering advice.

I developed strong personnel and budget management skills in the Navy and also in corporate America

I believe the combination of my qualifications and life experience makes me uniquely qualified to serve as Justice of the Peace in Precinct 4. We are experiencing dramatic growth in the Dripping Springs area. Hundreds of new homes are being built and people are moving here from other parts of Texas, from states across the nation, and from other nations. As the population increases and becomes more diverse, the work load of the Justice Court will go up significantly. I believe it is very important to have someone not only with strong legal skills, but also with extensive life experience, strong analytical skills, and management experience to be able to address the ever increasing challenges and workload resulting from our growing, diverse community.

I have no long-term goals other than serving as JP in our precinct. This position is not a stepping stone for me.