By CHRIS AGEE
PALO PINTO – In one of his last acts as 29th Judicial District Judge, Jerry D. Ray led his successor, Santo attorney Mike Moore, in his oath of office.
In a ceremony Friday at the Palo Pinto County Courthouse, the retiring Ray spoke before a crowd gathered to welcome Moore, who was elected in November.
“It gives me great pleasure to be asked by you to swear you in today,” Ray told Moore, cautioning him that “you’ll notice you’ve lost your first name” since nearly everyone will now call him “Judge” or “Your Honor.”
In addition to his expected change in appellation, Ray said Moore and his family will be affected in other ways during the transition.
He explained the “awesome power exercised from that bench is incredible in society,” noting district judges possess “power that must be exercised carefully.”
Offering him advice in preparation of his new position, Ray said his duties will be “weighty and burdensome sometimes” and shared what he has learned in the dozen years since he was elected judge.
When addressing those before him, Ray urged Moore to “give them what you would want if you were in their shoes.”
Speaking to Moore’s supporters in attendance, Ray explained his belief in his successor’s ability and potential.
“For the most part, this man you’ve chosen is going to define justice in this county,” he said. “You’ll be in good hands, I assure you.”
As Moore’s son, Kyle, held the Holy Bible, Ray led the swearing in ceremony and presented Moore with his robe.
“It’s truly an honor to be here today,” Moore said, thanking Ray for his involvement. “I asked you to be here because of my tremendous respect for you.”
He said Ray has given his time and resources “all in an effort to make my transition smooth.”
Moore also recognized the hard work of his supporters and thanked those who volunteered during his campaign.
Finally, Moore introduced his family and explained the special significance his new position held.
He said his father, who passed away about two years ago, served as district judge in Tarrant County for 29 years.
He said he is honored to follow in his father’s footsteps.
All other elected or re-elected county officials were sworn in Monday morning in the county commissioner’s courtroom, led by County Judge David Nicklas.