ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - With the March 4th primary just two weeks away the campaign for the Angelina County Court at Law #1 Judge seat is heating up.
Todd Kassaw and Joe Register tell the East Texas News why they are qualified for the job.
You can't miss the campaign billboards for Angelina County Court at Law #1 Judge as you drive into Lufkin.
Joe Register was born and raised in Angelina County. He attended Stephen F. Austin State University for his undergraduate degree then attended South Texas College of Law in Houston.
Register said he has more than 40 years of legal experience with his speciality in family law but also spent time as a prosecutor and was elected as Angelina County's attorney at one time.
Todd Kassaw attended Texas A&M University for his undergraduate degree and also attended South Texas College of Law in Houston. He moved to Angelina County in 1990 and started practicing law and has done so for the past 23 years.
Kassaw said he has served the Angelina County community for years with various leadership roles with the Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts, First United Methodist Church and as Chairman of the Angelina County Youth Fair for the past 20 or so years.
Kassaw said he felt called to run for Angelina County Court at Law #1 Judge so that he could be a public servant and Register said he's served the people of Angelina County for a long time and loves the law and wants to continue serving the people of Angelina County as judge.
Todd Kassaw says he will bring a history of service and the appropriate judicial temperament to the bench while Joe Register says his extensive family law experience is the key.
"We both offer different thing. What I offer is a very calm judicial temperament, my demeanor is appropriate to be judge," said Kassaw. "I think that's the trait that I have that's better than [Register] and I set myself apart from him in that regard."
Register said, "I believe I'm really the only truly qualified, experienced candidate because of my past experiences. I have served in the trenches of the battles in the courtroom. I believe my opponent does not have that and learn as you go is not really the best way to hand a court case."
Kassaw says if he's elected he wants to expand programs aimed at helping those who have made mistakes.
"Yes, if you violate the law or you commit a crime there needs to be a consequence but that doesn't always mean you need to go to jail. A lot of these people just need help. They need to be re-directed and put on a path that's more productive," said Kassaw.
While Register says streamlining criminal cases with video arraignments from jail and setting up special dockets for finalizing family law matters is on his list.
"The most important thing that your judge needs to do is make sure everybody has their day in court and the docket is taken care of and the cases are disposed of under the law and procedure required that the judge follow," said Register.
Both candidates say if they're elected as judge they're in it for the long haul.
"I intend to be a judge for the next 20 years. I also offer a calm demeanor and a calm judicial temperament. That's very important," said Kassaw. "The judge can't fly off the handle whenever something happens. They have to control the courtroom but they have to do it in a way that's professional and respectful."
"I promise if I'm elected I will continue to serve and work as long as the voters will allow me to be their judge," said Register.
Early voting began Tuesday, February 18 and will continue through February 28th.