LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - For the first time in 20 years, a new Lubbock County Judge will take office next year. However, with no Democrats in the race, the Republican Primary Runoff will decide who takes that seat held by Tom Head since 1999.
Early voting begins Monday, May 14. Gary Boren and Curtis Parrish are the two candidates on the ballot, each coming to the table with arguments on why their experience is better for the job.
Boren graduated from Monterey High School and Texas Tech University. He served as Vice President of G. Boren Services, Inc., a personnel, security and human resources consulting company. His family sold the business in October of 2017. Boren is a former member of the Lubbock City Council from which he resigned and the Lubbock Independent School District.
Boren says this administrative experience makes him prepared and the best for the position.
"I've been in a leadership role most of my life," Boren said. "Two different governors have recognized that and put me into problem solving positions. One of them is the major issue of today, the appraisal system. I've been in city and school budgets. My opponent has zero experience in budgeting, zero experience in going through government work and how to deal with the taxes, tax policy."
Parrish is a graduate of Texas Tech School of Law and is a practicing attorney. He says his law experience makes him the best candidate to carry out the judicial duties of the position. Specifically, he says he has the expertise in probate, guardianship and mental health cases. Parrish served as a legislative aide to former Republican State Senator Robert Duncan. He says that experience will allow him to be a voice for the County at the State and Federal leadership levels.
"I will bring leadership, vision and integrity to the office of Lubbock County Judge," Parrish said. "I am also the only candidate willing to do 100 percent of the job. My opponent wants to take the judicial part of Lubbock County Judge and give it to someone else. That's judicial negligence. I am the only candidate willing and able to 100 percent of the job, all of the judicial and all of the administrative."
Boren tells KCBD there are courses he will have to take to handle the judicial duties. Meanwhile, Parrish tells KCBD the administrative duties includes acting as a check and balance to the county commissioners who serve their precincts while the judge serves as a presiding officer.
Both candidates have outlined priorities for Lubbock County.
Boren says his are to stop county commissioners from raising their pay, dealing with what he sees as excessive property appraisals, providing whatever necessary to the Sheriff's Office and fixing infrastructure, including county roads.
Parrish says there are three main points for him, ensuring public safety is prioritized, roads and maintenance are kept for public safety and education as well as taking care of the county's judicial system.
To pay for those initiatives, the candidates tout what they see are conservative principles. Parrish is strongly against using bonds, while Boren says they are needed as a last resort.
"You have to re-prioritize your spending to reflect your number one goal," Boren said. "You do that by re-prioritizing your spending by being efficient and knowing how to cut budgets and how to handle bids and knowing how to squeeze money out of the government."
"I'm a pay as you go fiscal conservative," Parrish said. "What we do is we plan, we have vision, we see where our needs are, we set aside the money necessary to meet those needs and we budget wisely and we budget fairly for the entire county."
To vote in the Republican Primary Runoff, you must have either voted in the Republican Primary in March or not have voted. For voting information and sample ballots, click here.
To watch KCBD's Lubbock County Judge Candidate Forum, click here.