By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – “We’re here, simply, to tee up a conversation,” Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette said on Friday afternoon before a crowd of fellow public servants.
The setting was a workshop for all of Tyler County’s elected officials held at the Nutrition Center and hosted by Blanchette. He set up the event as a way to address some issues the officials’ have faced and may face in the future, and, above all, to discuss how everyone working in county government can become unified.
He said that the beginning of a new year and new decade, along with the potential for several new officials next year was impetus for having such an event.
One area Blanchette addressed to a great degree is the campaigning process. He explained the effect running for office can have not just on a candidate, but also on family and friends. “We all share that common experience of campaigning, and we’ve all subjected ourselves to public rejection,” he said.
Blanchette noted that some longtime officials will soon be retiring, and there will be new faces among the ranks. Among those who are retiring are long-serving Pct. 1 Commissioner Martin Nash and three of the four county constables.
Blanchette said a ripple effect is made by remaining members of the governing body as to how new officials will assimilate into the group. Some of the officials discussed the transition from winning an election to working with the other officials. “There’s a period of grace we need to offer each other while we do our respective jobs,” District Judge Delinda Gibbs-Walker said.
Above all, Blanchette said it is the duty of the county’s elected officials to serve those who got them into office. “All of us are serving the local taxpayers and we are funded by the taxpayers,” he said.
Blanchette spoke about the functions of the different offices and said that although “each of us have uniqueness,” each office works together to make the county run efficiently.