Justice Roach to challenge for Stephens County judge
The race for the Stephens County judge seat is just getting started with Michael Roach becoming the first republican candidate to sign up for the 2018 election.
Roach announced his intentions to run for the judge’s seat nearly a month after announcing his plans to step down as justice of the peace.
“Judge (Gary) Fuller has not filed for re-election,” Roach said. “The filing date is still open for another week. As my understanding, it closes at 6 p.m. next Monday, December 11th. I announced I would not be seeking re-election as justice of the peace. I intend to serve my full term, which is the rest of this month and all of next year
“… I made the announcement (to step down) and the purpose of that was to make sure folks that have a desire for public service and have interest in serving as justice of the peace would have time to speak with their families and come up with a filing fee or go get signatures. I thought it was only fair to say ‘Hey, I’m not running.’”
So not to violate an election law commonly referred to as the ‘resign-to-run law’, Roach held off on announcing his intentions for the county judge seat until Monday — exactly one year and 30 days until the end of his term as justice of the peace. Roach said his motive for seeking the judge’s seat is the same as the ones he had while seeking office as justice of the peace.
“I just want to make a difference,” Roach said. “It sounds a little cliche. That’s what most politicians and candidates say. That was my desire. We made some election promises and made this office all it can be.”
Roach stated in his announcement to not seek re-election as justice of the peace, he co-sponsored the Stephens County Teen Court, which allows students facing potential legal ramifications for their decisions to go through the program and emerge with a clean record. He also worked to upgrade the technology so citizens can conduct routine business without having to appear at the courthouse and was twice recognized as a distinguished member of the Justice Court Judges Association’s College of Justice Court Judges — an honor received for judges who acquire 30 or more hours of education above the mandatory requirement.
Roach said the county judge seat will allow him to have a greater impact on the community. Along overseeing cases at a constitutionally higher level court, if elected, Roach would also oversee the Stephens County Commissioners Court, conduct its meetings, act as a tie-breaking vote and other duties afforded to the county judge. Roach said his focus while in office would be government transparency and insuring visitors to county commission meetings receive a warm welcome and an open ear.
“In the county court, what you do each and every meeting effects everyone in the county,” Roach said. “… The county judge is the chairperson of the commissioners court. I’ve heard it called the CEO of the county or chairman of the board.”