Candidates for Grayson County Justice of the Peace met on Tuesday to debate as the Republican Primary looms ahead in early March. Up for election is the precinct 2 position that is currently held by Frank Budra. Bundra was appointed to the post after the retirement of long-time Justice of the Peace James Harris in 2012.

Candidates for Grayson County Justice of the Peace met on Tuesday to debate as the Republican Primary looms ahead in early March. Up for election is the precinct 2 position that is currently held by Frank Budra. Bundra was appointed to the post after the retirement of long-time Justice of the Peace James Harris in 2012.


The event is the second in a series of debates sponsored by the "Concerned Citizens of Grayson County" and moderated by the Sherman Daybreak Toastmasters. Candidates were given a list of questions, and had five minutes to respond freely to the questions.


Participating in the forum were educators H. Gene Alyea and Mike Springer, and David Hawley, who has served with the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office. Thomas Roesler, who is also running for the position, was not in attendance.


When each candidate was asked about his qualifications for the position, each fell back on his background and experiences within Grayson County. Springer, while touting his resume, referred back to his experience with the Denison Independent School District where he has worked for 38 years. His duties with the District include managing $1.2 million in learning material funding, he said. He also made mention of his two terms on Grayson Central Appraisal District’s Appraisal Review Board, where he served as a chairman.


"Basically, you are a judge," said Springer.


Alyea referred back to his experiences with the Teacher Corps, his lengthy experience within the education system, his past as a trustee for banks, and his previous work with justices of the peace across five counties in the region.


Hawley used his 34-year career within the Sheriff’s Office as evidence of his qualifications for the position. Hawley, when referring to the Justice of the Peace’s role with school truancies and youth cases, fell back on both his law enforcement experience and nearly two decades of experience with youth, including 16 years on the Denison School Board. With that experience, Hawley said. he had ideas for programs to cut down on truancies if he is elected.


Similarly, Alyea said he had plans to decrease truancies by starting programs aimed at teaching responsibility to youth in Grayson County.


When asked what the primary function of a the position was, the candidates gave varying responses. Alyea said the primary responsibility of the position was the adjudication of evictions, which is guided by the proper statute.


Hawley said that the primary function of the Justice of the Peace was to "set and run the court docket in a timely manner." Other functions of the position include overseeing marriages and processing civil papers, said Hawley.


When asked if the job of Justice of the Peace was a full-time job, all three candidates said that not only is it a full-time position, but it it a constant on-call position.


The candidates were also in agreement when asked if they were comfortable with working as a County medical examiner, stating that they are ready for the responsibility if they are elected to the position. Hawley said in his many-roles within the Sheriff’s Office, he has had considerable experience working cases where a death was involved.


Early voting for the election starts Feb. 18 and continues through Feb. 28. Voters can cast early ballots from at the Grayson County Courthouse, 100 W. Houston in Sherman, Grayson County sub-courthouse, 101 W. Woodard in Denison, Pottsboro Independent School District Administration Building, 105 Cardinal Lane in Pottsboro, Whitesboro City Hall, 111 W. Main in Whitesboro and at Grayson College, 1455 W. Van Alstyne Parkway, in Van Alstyne. Each of the previous locations will be open on each day of early voting and any registered Grayson County voter may use either of the locations. Voters may cast ballots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 18 through 21 and on Feb. 22. Ballots may be cast from noon to 5 p.m. on Feb. 23 and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 24 through Feb. 28. All voters must present photo identification to vote.