In October, Ector County welcomed a new county judge to the bench – Odessa native Ron Eckert. Susan Redford held the seat since 2006. In July, Redford announced her decision to vacate the seat in order to take a position with the Texas Association of Counties as their Judicial Education Coordinator, resulting in Eckert’s appointment to the position by the Ector County Commissioner’s Court.
Since the July announcement, three candidates for Redford’s seat had emerged: Ron Eckert, Clay George, and Chet Bales. Ron Eckert, a graduate of Texas A&M University and the University of Texas, is an Odessa-native and currently runs a private practice law firm in town. Clay George serves as the Ector County Assistant District Attorney, is a graduate of Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, and is a former Intelligence Officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Chet Bales is an Odessa-native and manages several different businesses in the area.
Back in September, all three candidates were given the opportunity to present their experiences as well as why they were the best selection for the judgeship at the Ector County Republican Women’s luncheon. Among questions presented to the three-person panel were “why should Ector County Commissioners select you for the position, what are the biggest issues our community currently faces, and what is your five year plan to solve those issues?” Eckert’s response emphasized his extensive legal and managerial experience, and his unique ties to the community. In regards to current county-wide issues and a plan to address them, he says that Ector County residents need to regain pride for their community and that transformational leadership and encouraging citizens to get involved in their county government is needed to accomplish that. In addition, Eckert says that his five year plan incorporates more cooperation, an effort to transform downtown Odessa, a new county courthouse without bankruptcy, and resolving the issues with Ector County jail.
Although all three candidate brought different values and experiences to the table, commissioners felt that Eckert was the best fit for the position and a unanimous vote was cast in his favor.
The position now held by Eckert is due to expire in 2018. Anyone interested in running for county judge can apply before December 15th and run in the 2016 election.