By CLINT FOSTER
PALO PINTO – A full house packed the into the county courtroom of the Palo Pinto County Courthouse, Tuesday night, for an open question-and-answer forum with Republican candidates in contested Palo Pinto County races.
Palo Pinto County Republican Party Chair Barbara Upham mediated the event that featured all seven GOP candidates for County Judge, County Clerk and District Clerk.
In the County Judge race, incumbent David Nicklas squared off against former Precinct 4 Commissioner Earnest Pecachek. Next up, incumbent Janie Glover fielded questions with opponent Stacie Frye in the race for District Clerk. Finally, the largest race was saved for last, as County Clerk candidates Debbie Murray, Jessica Wright and incumbent Janette Green took the podium.
All questions were submitted, in writing, prior to the event and candidates were given three minutes for an opening statement, two minutes to answer each question and another three minutes for a closing statement.
The County Judge race led off the evening with Nicklas seeking re-election against Pecachek in a courtroom very familiar to both men. In his opening and closing statements, Nicklas referenced his deep-rooted family history in Palo Pinto County and touted his track record as County Judge, saying “We’ve moved a long way in my last three years.”
Nicklas stressed the importance of continuing to manage the county budget and fund organizations outside of the courthouse, such as Meals on Wheels, children’s advocacy groups, libraries and the Mineral Wells Senior Center. He also touched on issues regarding county employees and their importance and their impact on the budget.
“The most important asset the county has are its employees, but they are also the most expensive,” he said. “Every elected official needs to seriously consider how their offices are staffed.”
Pecachek touted his previous experience with the Palo Pinto County Commissioners Court prior to retirement as Precinct 4 Commissioner for eight years.