Paris, TX 45°F Mist

Precinct 5 sits down Under the Red Hat

After hotly contested Republican Primary Elections, Jimmy Hodges is running Uncontested for Constable Precinct 5 and Gene Hobbs Jr is running Uncontested for Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 Place 2 in the upcoming November General Election cycle.

For Jimmy, this is the very seat he has been filling for over a year and a half since losing in the 2012 election cycle to Gene Hobbs Jr. As it turns out, Jimmy had run and lost against then incumbent Constable Gene Hobbs Jr. seeking his fourth term in the May 2012 GOP Primary elections.

Jimmy Hodges
Jimmy Hodges

Not long after in September 2012, Ernie Sparks filed to retire as the Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 Place 2 half way through his 4 year term and he asked Hobbs to apply for the appointment to his unfilled vacancy. So after losing to Gene in May of ‘12, Jimmy found himself appointed to the position in November of ’12 just six months after he had originally ran for it and a month after Gene was appointed to the JP Place 5 seat in October of 2012. The GOP Party Primary this year comprised of 3 candidates vying for the Constable seat – Jimmy Hodges, Gerry Don Hines and Jimmy Don Clark.

After the March GOP Primary elections, it came down to a May run-off where Hodges took 67.39 percent of the votes to his run-off opponent Hines with 32.61 percent. So after two years and coming up with his name on a ballot for the fourth time, Jimmy Hodges will finally be elected as the Constable for Precinct 5! Being that the Constable seat is considered an unfilled vacancy and halfway through the normal 4 year term, Jimmy will find himself on the ballot again in 2016.

The JP race consisted of Gene Hobbs Jr, Curtis Garrett and Jesse James Freelen on the March GOP Primary ballot, with Hobbs and Garrett going to a May run-off where Hobbs won with a 59.67 to 40.33 percentage of the votes.

We sat down to put Jimmy and Gene each “Under the Red Hat” for interviews to let you know a little more about the men and the positions they hold in Precinct 5.

Constable Precinct 5 Jimmy Hodges “Under the Red Hat”

Question 1: Tell us what you see as the description of your position and its responsibilities?

Jimmy: First and foremost is the responsibility to the Justices of the Peace for Precinct 5 Places 1 & 2. That includes bailiff duties in those courts and serving citations for the Justices. Constables do regular law enforcement as well; we patrol, write tickets, and help out with school zones. Weekends and evenings it is not uncommon for us to go out and patrol or to assist the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department or Reno Police Department. This is the only Constable position that has a full time Deputy Constable and that is Michael “Woody” Woodson.

Question 2: Tell us in short about yourself – education, experience, family, faith?

Jimmy: I was born and raised here in Paris and graduated from Paris High School in 1991. After working for Turner Pipe, Kimberly Clark and Campbell Soup in Paris trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I went to work as a Detention Officer in the jail with the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office from 1993 until 1996. I knew I wanted to be in law enforcement so I attended the East Texas Police Academy in 1998. Then for a few years from 1999 until 2001 I worked for the City of Frisco as a Crew Leader for the Water Department. I returned to Paris to work as a Patrol Officer for the City of Reno for a year in 2001. In 2002 I went to work at the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office as a Transport Officer and eventually a Patrol Deputy until running for Constable and then being appointed to the position in 2012.

My wife Lori Leigh and I have been married for 14 years and have three children that attend North Lamar Schools. We have 3 wonderful children, our oldest daughter Preston, our daughter Emily and are youngest is our son Sawyer. Lori Leigh is a nurse at the Bonham VA clinic. When I asked Jimmy about his faith, he said about four years ago he was at a Sunday revival at the 1st Baptist Church of Paris and that is when his values in faith grew a lot stronger. I have since become a Group Leader for Awanas on Wednesday nights at the church. I am pretty proud that we just had 29 kids from our youth program that accepted Jesus in their life.

Question 3: What is your party affiliation and why?

Jimmy: The Republican Party because I have pretty conservative values. The most important things in my life are my family and kids and I feel those values give them the best future and that is what I want for them.

Question 4: How do you fell about straight party ticket voting and why?

Jimmy: I believe you should vote for the man or person that you believe in and that you most agree with.

Question 5: Do you own any businesses or do any other work outside of this position?

Jimmy: No.

Question 6: Have any organizations or groups endorsed you?

Jimmy: Ahhhh….should I say it? The Paris News! (we both got a laugh from that).

Question 7: You are in an uncontested race, why should people vote for you if they plan on voting straight party as a Democrat?

Jimmy: If people want an office that is going to treat you fairly, an office that always has an open door, and an office that is available for help, then this is the office and I am that person.

Question 8: Anything else you would like to add or say in your own words?

Jimmy: I really want to thank everyone that supported me in the Primary. Through the transition of running for office and losing, then being appointed to the job to turn around and run again has been a wonderful learning experience for me. I am especially thankful for Woody and everything he has taught me over the years.

Gene Hobbs Jr
Gene Hobbs Jr

Interview with Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 Place 2 Gene Hobbs Jr

“Under the Red Hat”

Question 1: Tell us what you see as the description of your position and its responsibilities?

Gene: This position has a lot of responsibility to the rights of the public and to the rights of the defendants. As the Justice of the Peace for Precinct 5 Place 2 I set bonds, see civil suits up to $10,000 in jurisdiction, handle evictions and judgments.

Question 2: You are uncontested going into the November elections, tell us about the primary?

Gene: All three of us worked really hard in the Primary and then we had the May run-off that I won. Now I have a 4 year term coming up that I am looking forward to since the last time I ran for a race it was for Constable. I had won that race, but found myself as the JP before I started my 4th term.

Question 3: Tell us in short about yourself – education, experience, family, faith?

Gene: I grew up as an Army brat after being born in Virginia. My family moved here in 1969 and I have been here ever since. I graduated Paris High Scholl in 1977 and attended Paris Junior College. In 1978 I went to work as a Jailor for Lamar County for two years. Then I became a Paris Police Officer at the age of 20. Back in those days you could be a cop at the age of 20 and carry a gun, but you couldn’t buy that gun until you were 21, so my dad had to go down with me to get one. They have since changed that rule. I worked as a Police Patrol until 1991 when I went to the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy for 4 years doing civil process. I became the Precinct 5 Deputy Constable in 1996 and did that for 4 years before running and being elected the constable in 2001 where I stayed until my appointment as the JP in 2012. My wife Tonia and I have been married going on 25 years. We have three children and eight grandchildren.

Question 3: What is your party affiliation and why?

Gene: The Republican Party, I switched in 2011. I was a democrat because everyone was in Lamar County and you couldn’t get elected if you weren’t. I have always been conservative, pro-military, but was never staunch because I think you need to be objective.

Question 4: How do you fell about straight party ticket voting and why?

Gene: People need to look at the individuals, especially at the local level and vote for their best choice. On a National or State level, the politics are set by the parties. At our local level, we all work together for what is right and wrong.

Question 5: Do you own any businesses or do any other work outside of this position?

Gene: No.

Question 6: Have any organizations or groups endorsed you?

Gene: The Republican Party since winning the Run-Off.

Question 7: You are in an uncontested race, why should people vote for you if they plan on voting straight party as a Democrat?

Gene: It is completely up to individuals on who they vote for.

Question 8: Anything else you would like to add or say in your own words?

Gene: I am constantly learning and improving the job. I really enjoy what I do and helping people.

Written by “Under the Red Hat.” The Red Hat is un-biased, un-affiliated and represents all of us here in our community. If you have an idea, a comment, or want to more about people in our area that are making an impact on our lives through their profession, life, or cause, then just let us know who you would like to see “Under the Red Hat!”redhat@eparisextra.com

SPONSOR
MFO