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Cooke Co. judge post vacated by House District 68 candidate filled

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 10:45 PM CST
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GAINESVILLE, Texas (KXII) -

Cooke County Commissioners’ Court voted unanimously to appoint a new county judge to replace Judge Jason Brinkley who resigned earlier this month to run for Texas House District 68.

Brinkley served as the Cooke County judge for 12 years before deciding to throw his hat in the ring for a seat in Austin.

“Local government is where the rubber meets the road,” Brinkley said. “I think I bring that to the state level. That communication, that dialogue with local elected officials. Something I think is missing in Austin.”

Brinkley said he’s developed a broad range of support during his time serving Cooke County which is one of 22 counties that makes up House District 68.

Replacing Brinkley is Steve Starnes who has worked in a management position with Safran one of the largest employers in Cooke County for 40 years.

“I hope that I’m able to facilitate improvements in our county,” Safran said. “I want our court to be the people’s commission court and that they feel comfortable coming to the commissioners, and coming to our court and we work together.”

Starnes will be sworn in to commissioner’s court Monday. He’ll serve as the presiding member of the court and hold an equal vote with the other five members on the bench.

“I’m a very dedicated and determined individual,” Starnes said. “I was concerned as a citizen with not only what was going on with our state, but our country as well.”

Starnes said he believes his past managerial experience will help him facilitate “process improvements” to better serve Cooke County.

Starnes said he hope to work hand-in-hand with other counties and law makers at the state level to tackle issues.

“I intend to be actively involved with the legislators in Austin with helping to state our case,” Starnes said.

Starnes will finish out the rest of Brinkley’s term and he’ll be on the ballot for the primary in March 2022 if he chooses to run.

As for Brinkley, he’ll be on the ballot this Saturday Jan. 23 for the Texas House District 68 special election.

He joins John Berry, a Jacksboro financial planner; Craig Carter, who also ran for Texas Senate District 30; and David Spiller, a Jacksboro attorney and school board trustee.

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