Eight seeking nomination as JP

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Both precincts for Madison County Justice of the Peace are up for election this year, but only one of the current JPs is running for re-election.

Precinct 2's Lew Plotts has opted to step down after years of service.

As with all races at the county level, only Republicans have filed as candidates.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 1

Karla Plotts Clark

First-time candidate Karla Plotts Clark is looking to follow in her retiring father Lew Plotts' footsteps.

She said she was a teacher for 29 years, but now is retired and has the time required that she said this job needs.

"One of the most important aspects of being Justice of the Peace in Madison County is availability," she said. "The JP's office is an extremely busy place and as our population increases, it becomes busier every day. Our county deserves elected officials who are able to commit the time necessary to fulfill the duties of the office."

Clark said she will abide by and uphold the law, but wants to be a friend to the community.

"I will do my best to make sure the law is carried out," she said.

Clark said that if elected, she will shadow her father for the next eight months for on-the-job training.

"I want the voters to know that they can expect fair and consistent treatment from my office and that my door will always be open to anyone who needs my help," she said.

Jon Stevens

Incumbent JP Jon Stevens is in the last year of his first four-year term, and wants to keep on making a difference in people's lives.

"That's what it means to me," he said. "It's not about the numbers; it's being there for the public."

Stevens said he has been firm but fair as a justice.

"I understand the working man, but people have to be held accountable for a violation," he said. "I'm a firm believer in accountability, but I still have compassion. That makes me a good judge."

Stevens said that in his first term he helped fix what he called a broken system.

"Precinct 1 had a lot of tickets falling through the cracks, with people coming in 5-6 years later even, and we would have to dismiss those tickets," he said. "Court dates were missed because of high officer turnover, and previous JP did not follow up. Now, court dates are set and tickets are finalized. No excuses."

As a JP, Stevens said he has developed a good working relationship with law enforcement, but his reason to continue as JP is his love of Madison County.

"I inherited my love of Madison County from my father (Lanier Stevens), and I just want to serve the people," he said. "I don't do it for the money. Out of three years of being of office, I've given two years' worth of my cost of living raises to my clerk, because I want to help people."

He also said elected officials, especially the Justices, are more than full-time personnel; they're on all the time.

"Everyone that runs for office say they'll be full-time; however, elected officials are all-time," Stevens said. "I sign warrants in the middle of the night, even when I'm not on call, because that's the job. I work for the county all the time."

Stevens said he will continue to do that in a second term.

"If you need me, call me. I tell that to everybody. That's my motto," he said.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 2

Mitchell Dill

Mitchell Dill knew of Lew Plotts' retirement, and given his history in service, decided to throw his hat into the ring.

He said he has spent his adult life in some type of public service: in 1977 he was employed by the TDCJ, and in 1986 transferred, to the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission, retiring in 2008 as supervisor to the Bryan office. After that, he was asked to work for Madison County as bailiff for district and county courts, and stayed in that position till march of 2017.

"That piqued my interest in the JP position," he said.

Dill said he views any elected official as a steward of the public trust, and would try every day to be worthy of that trust.

"I will offer fair and impartial treatment for all people having business with the court," he said. "I will promote public safety issues.

"I want to make a contribution to the community, and for myself and my family, we found that public service is a great way to do that," Dill said.

Stan Rodgers

Leon County Deputy Sheriff Stan Rodgers, in running for Justice of the Peace, is answering a need to do public service.

"I've was a police officer in the Houston area in the '80s, I was in the Air Force in the '70s, and in the private sector in Houston for a long time, working for the same company for the last 19 years," he said.

In order to do his current occupation, Rodgers said returned to the Police Academy at 64 years of age and spent 18 weeks getting recertified.

"My experience with the public and private sector give me a well -rounded abilities.

Been a resident of Madison County for 2 years.

I hope to be honest and fair with the public, and a good judge of what's right and wrong. I will follow the law.

I be honored if you vote for me.

Richard Gilbreath

Business owner and electrician Richard Gilbreath said he always has been interested in law enforcement and the judicial system, so the open JP position was his opportunity to run.

He said he has been a resident in Madisonville since 1992, and since moving here he has built his business and served as a community volunteer.

A focus in his term would be dealing with what he believes is a growing drug problem within the city.

"I feel like becoming Justice of the Peace would be another way to serve my community and make it a better place for our children and grandchildren," Gilbreath said.

Lynn Jeffries

Lynn Jeffries is a lifelong resident of Madison County, and is currently in charge of maintenance for county facilities as well as supervises people performing community service.

"I will be a full-time JP with an open-door policy," he said. "I would like to make sure that people that come into my office are treated with honesty, dignity and respect, and also help with Emergency Management with the county as well."

The Madison County Courthouse has been Jeffries employer for the last 13 years, where he has had to interact with many departments and people in the courthouse.

"One of my responsibilities is to aid in times of emergency with Madison County Emergency Management, and another is to interact with those serving community service," he said. "During this time I became interested in the criminal justice system, and then that is when I decided to pursue my degree in criminal justice."

Jeffries said that in 2012, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix, which he pursued after interacting with different departments in the county.

"I understand what the job of JP entails and the responsibilities that come with it," he said. "If elected, it will be my utmost priority to serve and be fully available to my community any time. I am ready to start my career in the criminal justice system and provide fair and impartial decisions."

Kelly Navarro

After discussing and shadowing retiring JP Lew Plotts about the position, Kelly Navarro decided it was something that sounded appealing.

Currently, Navarro works as dental assistant for Dr. Richard Dorris, and has been in the medical field for about 20 years.

"I have friends and family in law enforcement - I've worked with neighborhood watch in North Zulch," she said. "I have a priority of keeping people's property safe.

"I want to do my part to help people, like renters and landlords - anything anyone owns is special and they should be able to keep it," Navarro said.

Things before the court will be considered on a case-by-case basis, Navarro said.

"I plan to work with law enforcement and be available to hear people's concerns," she said.

Steven Cole

Having lived in Madison County all his life, Steven Cole said he wanted to give something back to a county that always had been good to him.

Cole said he's currently working at the TDCJ Ferguson Unit as a program supervisor in the mop and broom factory and the saddle shop, and has been in the law enforcement field for 24 years.

"I have a degree in business administration from Sam Houston State University," he said. "I've done some disciplinary work, and I have a good base of knowledge from long-time experience. Also, I'm done budgeting, accounting work, and am in charge of five employees and 80 convicts."

Cole want the position to be run as well as it can be, and to make sure that the JP is responsible to the community.

"The rule of law is key, and should be applied to everybody," he said. "I will always be firm, fair and consistent."

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