The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

February 21, 2014

Election Q&A: Johnston, Westley vie for Anderson County Judge


Name: Robert Johnston

Age: 54

Occupation: County Judge

Education: Associates Degree from Henderson County Junior College, attended Texas Tech University and The University of Texas at Tyler.


Name: James W. Westley

Age: 59

Occupation: Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4

Education: Four years of college


Q: What are your qualifications for the job?


I am the current County Judge serving my first term. I am a lifelong resident of Anderson County and I know the problems rural counties face. Since my election, I have been elected as an officer on the board of East Texas Council of Governments and the North and East Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association. Serving on these boards allows me better access to legislators in Austin to help protect the rights of rural counties. I am currently attending the V.G. Young Leadership Academy for Commissioners Court members, a part of the Texas A&M system.


I have been an elected trial court judge in Anderson County for the past 15 years with experience in presiding over civil and criminal trials. I have worked within my budget and accomplished the duties of my office while exceeding the judicial educational requirements each year. I have an insider’s view of issues the county faces both internally and externally. I understand the needs of law enforcement as well as the public’s necessity to feel safe. The taxpayers deserve an administration that will make the best decisions, efficiently, while increasing the quality of services provided.


Q: What do you believe are the most critical issues facing Anderson County?


The continuing rise in the number of people involved with drugs, both illegal and prescription drug abuse is the most critical issue we’re facing. Drug use is the root cause of many crimes in the county including but not limited to retail theft, burglary, assault causing family violence and most Child Protective Service cases. Another major issue arising from the drug use is mental health problems. Our local emergency room is a revolving door for mental health patients, largely at the county’s expense. I will continue to look for ways to put additional law enforcement on the streets to combat this problem.

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