During the last three decades, Rex Andrew has shown a versatility that has enabled him to succeed in three competitive fields – government/politics, broadcasting and law enforcement.
In his younger years, Rex served as a police officer in Quinlan, a small East Texas town with a three-man police department. Rex was the third-ranked officer, but rose to be acting chief of police (briefly) when the chief of police and assistant chief got in a fight with each other and were suspended. True story!
Although Rex chose not to make a career of law enforcement, the training and experience in that field have been extremely helpful in his work as a court clerk and justice of the peace. More about those years in a moment.
Rex has spent most of his adult years in broadcasting – both radio and television. His versatility in that field has been demonstrated by his ability to serve in just about every capacity. In television, he has been an anchor, reporter, producer, photographer and weatherman. In radio, he has been an anchor, reporter, producer, talk show host, and public service director.
His career in broadcasting led him to the highly competitive, top-10 market in Dallas-Fort Worth, where Rex was again a jack-of-all-trades – anchor, reporter, producer and photographer.
Throughout his adult years, Rex has been interested in politics and government, and that interest has led him to leave the private sector twice to work on the staffs of elected officials. In the late 1970's and early 1980's, Rex served at the state Capitol on the staff of state senator Walter Mengden, a conservative Republican from Houston. In 1992, Rex served as a court clerk for Justice of the Peace Chuck Griffin in Abilene (Taylor County).
In 1994, when Judge Griffin retired, Rex was appointed to serve as interim Justice of the Peace. In November 1994, Rex won a six-man campaign to fill the remaining two years of the term. Rex received more than 70% of the vote in that race. In 1996, was elected for a full term, again receiving more than 70% of the vote.
As justice of the peace, Rex earned a reputation for being a hard worker who ran an efficient and impartial court. He was well-known for enforcing DWI laws (regarding ignition interlock devices) that were being ignored by other judges. Rex was also one of the first judges to implement a new law in 1995 that authorized JPs to issue emergency protective orders.
The court in Taylor County was a busy court, with the same duties as JP courts in Lubbock. The court served almost all of the City of Abilene, except for part of the city that was in another county. Therefore, the court served an area with a population of close to 100,000, which is higher than the average population of the JP courts in Lubbock County.
In June 1999, about six months before the deadline to file for re-election, Rex was diagnosed with colon cancer. The cancer was removed during surgery. Because Rex had not intended to be a life-long office-holder, Rex decided not to run for re-election. He served the remainder of his term, and returned to the private sector on January 1, 2001.
That turned out to be the right decision for both Rex and the county, because the cancer returned, and Rex was unable to work during an eight-month period in 2001-2002. On September 17, 2001, Rex underwent surgery to remove another tumor that had been discovered. However, the tumor had spread to the tailbone, and was considered to be "inoperable" by the Abilene surgeon, and he was told he had 18 months to live (until March 17, 2003), unless a way could be found to remove the tumor. His case was transferred to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where Rex spent most of the next eight months.
Thanks to the many people who prayed for and with Rex, and thanks to the skill of several surgeons, the cancer was eventually removed. Rex has now been cancer-free for eight years, and is considered to be cured.
Rex believes in miracles, having been the recipient of one.
Rex celebrates every March 17, the anniversary of the "18-months-to-live" prediction of his surgeon.
Among the charity and non-profit work that Rex has taken part in through the years is his participation on a Lubbock task force regarding colon cancer prevention.
One other thing about Rex – he is a veteran. In 1993, at the age of 36, Rex joined the Navy Reserve, signing up through a program that allows "older" people to enlist if they have a skill the navy has a need for. Rex was honorably discharged after serving in the reserves for eight years.