NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Hundreds of elected officials took their oaths of office Thursday.
East Texas News visited with new and veteran public servants in Nacogdoches County about their decisions to accept the challenging responsibilities.
District Judge Campbell Cox, an office holder since 2001, described the ceremony as the culmination of our democratic process. The oath has purpose, he said.
"They need to remember it every day and remember what their job is and to remember they are here to serve and not be served," Cox said.
The Texas Municipal League advises that serving as an effective elected official requires dedication, knowledge, and a substantial commitment in time.
Justice of the Peace David Perkins, the longest running office holder in Nacogdoches County, learned this throughout 20 years of service.
"Just be honest with people. Just work with them," Perkins said. "Treat them like people. If they call you, call them back. That's what people want to hear. And if you have a problem and you can't get an answer, get the answer for them."
It will be advice newly elected County Clerk June Clifton will take to heart.
"I think you have to have a sense of dedication to whatever job you're doing," Clifton said. You have to have a sense of commitment to the public."
Failure to do so can lead to something now referred to as "recall fever." Statewide, in the last year alone, recall elections have been held or attempted in 12 municipalities and one hospital district, according to Balotpedia, a Madison, Wisconsin-based organization.
Are there other often politically motivated aggravations? The question receives a quick answer.
"Having to deal with the bureaucrats in Austin," Cox said.
Still elected officials often say it's worth the sacrifice and not enough to discourage them from seeking an elected position.
"There was a time in my life when I said I would never run for an office, a political office. I couldn't, wouldn't stand the scrutiny," Clifton said. It's a big decision, and it's very life changing; it really is, but it's very much well worth it."
In Lufkin five new office holders were administered oaths of office.