LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A packed Angelina County courtroom witnessed the swearing in of nine different elected county officials and a state board of education member.
Some of those won re-election unopposed. Others won their primaries to secure the seat while others are coming in as a replacement to a long running official that announced retirement. Those now serving the county have some big shoes to fill.
"Anytime you lose 36 years of experience in the county attorney office, 35 years in the office of tax assessor/collector and 30 years of experience in the district attorney's office, you know that is a lot knowledge we are losing," County judge Wes Suiter said.
Those losses coming after County Attorney Ed Jones, District Attorney Art Bauereiss and Tax Assessor Midget Sherman all announced retirement plans earlier this year.
"We are fortunate that we are getting people though that have experience," Suiter said. "They have knowledge. It is just going to take time to find out how they want to run those offices."
Suiter said he remembered the first time he took the oath of office and said it is something these new officials will not forget.
"It is very humbling," Suiter said. "You are part of something that is to make your community better."
New District Attorney Joe Martin is no stranger to the Angelina County Office. Martin was elected Angelina County-court-at-law judge in 1986 and served that position for 12 years. In 2007, he joined the staff of the Polk County District Attorney and served there for eight years. This was just anther oath for Martin but it doesn't mean his does not enjoy it.
"This was probably more special," Martin said. "It will probably be more special when I am sent out to green pastures."
Martin is ready to move forward and get inside the court rooms.
"It is going to be a little while," Martin said. "We are going to get organized. The judges are willing to work with us but we are going to hit the ground running as much as we can."
Those taking the oath are now part of a long history in Texas of officials being sworn in at the first of the year.
"He owes his oath to the people," Martin said. "Not even to just those that supported him but to all the people."
The following wore sworn in today:
County Commissioner Greg Harrison
County Commissioner Terry Pitts, replaces Robert Loggins
County Attorney Cary Kirby, replaces retiring Ed Jones
District Attorney Joe Martin, replaces retiring Art Bauereiss
County Court at Law Judge Clyde Herrington, replaces retiring judge Derek Flournoy
Sheriff Greg Sanches
Constable Tom Selman
Constable Chad Wilson
Constable Ray Anthony
State Board of Education Board Member Keven Ellis
* Tax Assessor Billie Page was sworn in on Sunday, replaces retiring Midget Sherman