One of the contested races is for Brazos County District Attorney. Democrat Bill Turner decided not to seek re-election after 28 years in charge, and four republican candidates are fighting for the spot.
We spoke with each one of them, asking what their top priority would be if elected as Brazos County District Attorney.
Jarvis Parsons is currently assistant district attorney under Turner. He's worked at the D.A.'s office for more than 10 years.
"My first priority would be tackling violent crime, so crimes against children, capital murder, things that would be deserving of the death penalty. Those things are on the front of my list, and the reason is because it shocks the conscience of the community,” said Parsons.
Ray Thomas is a former police officer who went to law school while working full time. Currently he works as an assistant district attorney under Turner. He's held several different positions at the office over the last seven years.
"My top priority is seeing that the appropriate justice is done in all the cases whether it's criminal, Child Protective Services, juvenile or the other cases we do. In order to do that, make sure we have the best qualified people handling the jobs that they are good at,” said Thomas.
Rick Davis has his own law firm in downtown Bryan. He's a former judge who presided over County Court-at-Law No.2 for one year, and the 272nd District Court for two terms.
"My top priority is to accelerate the administration of justice, handle cases a lot more expeditiously and bring about swift justice. I think swift justice is better justice,” said Davis.
David Hilburn works as a defense attorney for the Law Office of James and Reynolds. He worked as a Brazos County assistant district attorney for 4 years and was a prosecutor in Harris County for 5 years.
"My top priority would be to make it more efficient, so that we can spend the time, money and resources on the cases that need to be tried. The violent cases, the repeat offenders, and try to work out the cases that are going to plea as quickly as possible,” said Hilburn.
We also asked the candidates why voters should elect them verses the other opponents.
“The D.A. needs to have experience in every single area of criminal law, tried all types of cases. I am the only person in the race that has tried capital murders, the only person in the race that has sought the death penalty and that’s important because that’s the job of the D.A. to be able to make that call,” said Parsons.
“It would be my breath of experience. After college, I started as a 22-year-old police officer and worked my way up to sergeant which in the size of that police department is a mid-level management where I had a lot of administrative experience…I went to law school part-time during that time, and now have been a prosecutor for 13 years,” said Thomas.
“I think I have far more leadership experience and management experience. Presently I have a law firm with 9 employees. I have served in the Texas Army National Guard for 10 years, I’ve been a company commander at least twice, and platoon leader several times. I’ve got a whole lot of leadership experience and management experience, and I think I can take that organization and that office to the next highest level,” said Davis.
“My experience. I have been a prosecutor in Harris County. I have been a prosecutor in Brazos County for 4 years. I have also been a defense attorney. I know how the office and criminal justice system works here in Brazos County, but I also have ideas that work better because I’ve worked other places and because I have been a defense attorney and prosecutor 5 years somewhere else. I have ideas that can improve it here,” said Hilburn.
If runoffs are necessary, July 31st has been set aside for those elections.
The general election will be held November 6th.