Voters in Angelina County will decide on three contested races in the upcoming 2020 Republican Primary. Early voting begins Tuesday.

In the Precinct 2 constable’s race, incumbent Trae Trevathan is facing Danny Anders and Dennis Cochran. Those candidates responded to three questions from The Lufkin Daily News.

Each candidate was sent three questions and given the same amount of time to respond, and each responded in his own words. Responses are listed in alphabetical order.

Question 1: Tell us about yourself. We want to know about your family and your work experience especially.

Anders: My name is Danny Anders, I have been married for 48 years and have four wonderful children and 7 of the best grandbabies in the world. I have 40 years in law enforcement with 35 of those years being right here in Angelina County, 23 Years with Angelina County Sheriff’s department and the last 12 great years have been with Central ISD.

Cochran: I’m married and have three children and 10 grandchildren. I worked for 30 years for the State of Texas and retired a few years ago. I have been a Certified Texas Peace Officer for 20 years now. I also served as a reserve deputy for the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office for 14 years and I am currently serving as an Investigator with the Texas A&M Forest Service Law Enforcement.

Trevathan: I’m the constable for Angelina County precinct two, a Texas peace officer with a master peace officer certification.

My wife, Georgia McClendon Trevathan, and I were born in Lufkin and grew up in Central, and we’re raising our daughter, Kate, here. I graduated from Central High School and Angelina College Police Academy, received my criminal justice degree from Angelina College, and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Stephen F. Austin State University. My 22-year law enforcement career has been spent serving the citizens of Angelina County, beginning with Zavalla PD, then Lufkin PD, and for 12 years now as precinct two constable.

Question 2: Why are you running for constable?

Anders: I would like to help and serve the people in my community. At this point in my law enforcement career I would like to use my many years of experience to finish out my service in my community as constable. Being the constable would give me the opportunity to be more present in the Central, Hudson and Lufkin areas. I will be out on the roads and street patrolling day or night. I would be more available to the people in our community.

Cochran: I believe I can bring a lot more to the constable’s office. I believe that the current salary dictates at least a 40-hour workweek. I will be a full time constable by being proactive in law enforcement which includes patrolling the precinct all hours, talking to the citizens, listening to their concerns, meeting and working with the neighborhood watch groups, monitoring our school zones and bus routes keeping our children safe and working with all other law enforcement agencies making our Precinct safer for everyone.

Trevathan: My community demands an active, engaged Constable and I’m proud they find those qualities in me. While enforcing the laws of our state and community is an important duty, I and my constituents know that the primary duties of Constable are that of public servant and protector. Elected officials must turn to the public for guidance and direction and Precinct Two residents want proactive crime prevention strategies instead of traditional, reactive tactics.

Neighborhood associations, vacation patrols, and crime prevention inspections are some of successful tactics we, the citizens and I, have employed for the protection of our community. Often, I’m the first, if not single, point of contact for individual and community-related quality of life matters and law enforcement issues. Any crime requires three things—a victim, a criminal, and a location—and removing any one will prevent the crime. Empowering residents with the knowledge to assist in proactive crime prevention has, and will continue, to protect the community.

I will continue along the path laid out for me by the citizens I serve.

Question 3: What is the most pressing issue facing Angelina County?

Anders: Help cut down on all the thefts we have in our community. To help in any way that I can to make our community a better and safer place to live.

Cochran: Illegal drug use I believe is the most pressing issue in our precinct just like any other Precinct in our county. Illegal drug use not only hurts the individual using it but also their families and other members of the community. Illegal drug use also leads to a higher crime rate such as violent crimes and theft.

Trevathan: “Narcotics” or “thieves” likely are, for many, the knee-jerk reaction to the question of the most pressing issue facing Angelina County, but answering this question requires much more thought and a greater understanding of the individual offices within county government.

While Constables have the same arrest powers as other Texas peace officers, the Constitutionally-mandated duties of a constable are court bailiff and civil process service. Other law enforcement activities, including the community policing and crime prevention activities I outline above, although no less important, must be performed in addition to the mandated duties. Knowing this, I see a recent statutory change as the most pressing issue facing Angelina County constable and justice of the peace precincts.

Senate Bill 2342, signed into law during the 86th Legislative session (2019), will greatly increase the number of cases heard by justice courts. Beginning September 01, 2020, justice courts will receive civil cases in which the matter in controversy does not exceed $20,000, double the previous limit of $10,000. The Bill did not increase the funding or provide addition manpower for justice courts leaving Constables to work out how to bailiff for the increased court cases and serve the additional papers while continuing to provide law enforcement services to residents. Therefore, Senate Bill 2342's changes are the most pressing issue facing constables in the coming year.

Austin King’s email address is austin.king@lufkindailynews.com.

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