WACO, Texas (KWTX) Four candidates running in the Republican primary for the seat of retiring 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother squared off at a luncheon Thursday in Waco.
Speaking to the McLennan County Republican Club at Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Knox Hall, the candidates touted their accomplishments and experience because judicial candidates are not allowed to attack their opponents.
Former Justice of the Peace and Waco attorney Kristi DeCluitt said: "I was justice of the peace in the largest precinct for eight years I was always respected by law-enforcement and attorneys that came before me and I really want to preserve the conservative nature of the 19th district court and I wanted to be a fair court and I wanted to be an efficient court."
Longtime Army prosecutor Michael Flynn who just recently moved back to Waco said: "I served in the army for 34 years and after law school I served as a prosecutor in the U.S. Army. Not only served as prosecutor, I have supervised prosecutors including a year in Iraq where I supervised 56 legal professionals in five different offices."
Former 10th Court of Appeals lawyer Susan Kelly, who’s now in private practice said: "I went into private practice and for the last 20 years I've run my own practice. I don't work for anyone. I'm my own boss and I'm very active in my profession.
Last year I was the president of our local Waco McLennan County Bar Association."
Longtime defense attorney Thomas West, who has practiced locally for more than 30 years said: "I've participated in 120 jury trials. I have been fire tested I've been through the battles from both sides of the docket. I know what needs to happen to make it work. I learned from Judge Allen, Judge Bill Logue, Judge Strother and Judge Johnson how to make the system work."
No Democrat has filed for the race, but McLennan Democratic Party Chairperson Mary Duty says, "That's subject to change in the next ten days."