Justice of the Peace race heats up - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/12/10

Justice of the Peace race heats up

Posted:
Jim Hansen Jim Hansen
Rex Andrew Rex Andrew

By Katie Bauer  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A Lubbock County Justice of the Peace responds to allegations from his opponent in the upcoming March primary.  A justice of the peace serves as a trial court judge in class C misdemeanor criminal cases and in three kinds of civil lawsuits.  They can also perform wedding ceremonies. 

The Justice of Peace Precinct One race is starting to heat up between incumbent Jim Hansen and his opponent Rex Andrew.

"I work hard, I've done an incredible amount of good for Lubbock County and the pay raise that was given by the salary grievance community was completed justified," said Hansen.

Incumbent Justice of the Peace for Precinct One Jim Hansen says his opponent Rex Andrew is misleading voters about his salary increase that took place two years ago. 

"There were two reasons that I sought a pay raise, number one was when our jurisdiction increased from $5000 to $10,000, and we saw a huge jump in civil cases," said Hansen.   

"I don't dispute that there was an increase in the case load, but I don't think that the case load was so big that the judges are having to stay in court beyond 5:00 PM," said Andrew.

The second reason Hansen says he asked for a raise was because he was paid less than other county elected officials. 

"If I am elected I will not accept the pay raise that Jim Hansen asked for and received," said Andrew.

Hansen says court costs cover his pay raise and not the taxpayer. 

"The increase in my civil case filing fees is what paid my salary increase, that's why I sought it and any increase that I got that year is being paid by people who file the cases in my court, who increase the workload of my court and not the taxpayers," said Hansen.  

"Whether its taxes or fees, its money that there were different options on how to use the money, whatever you call it and he chose to use it for a pay raise and that's what happened," said Andrew.

A battle that will ultimately be decided on by the Lubbock County voters.

"If my opponent is so concerned about salaries, perhaps he should run for county commissioner, but I'm the judge here, I'm clearly delineated as the best choice in this race," said Hansen.

"Before the campaign is over I will have four specific issues that I'll be talking about.  The two that I have so far are my experience and the salary for that position.  I've got two other issues that I will be talking about, I'm not there yet though," said Andrew.  

Hansen is entering his 20th year as a judge, while Andrew was a justice of the peace in Taylor County for six years, before going into media.  The primary is March 2nd.

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