The start of the new year marked a change of government in Orange County.


A number of Republicans were sworn-in to office on January 1, 2015 in the 128th District Courtroom. Local GOP candidates rode a statewide Republican tidal wave to victory in 2014.
Those taking the oath of office included County Judge Brint Carlton, County Court at Law Judge Mandy White-Rogers, District Clerk Vickie Edgerly, Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Joy Dubose-Simonton (pictured at right taking the oath from her husband Robert Simonton), Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Rodney Price, County Commissioner Precinct 2 Barry Burton and County Commissioner Precinct 4 Jody Crump.


Carlton, Dubose-Simonton and Burton each faced opponents in their campaigns and each said they were eager to begin working for the county.
Carlton said he believes Orange County has a bright future and he plans to work with others in the county and regionally as well.
“I’m excited to get to work for Orange County, but we have some challenges,” he said. Carlton said he would like to make some improvements to the county budget and to get more businesses and families to move here so the county may grow.

Another item on the new county judge’s plate is finding a new county clerk to replace Karen Jo Vance who retired in December.
He said the county currently has an acting county clerk and the commissioners court will see who the best appointment will be to the position.
Another “big concern” to Carlton is in the creation of Transportation Reinvestment Zones in the county such as for the FM 299 Vidor Loop.
“I will look into what is the county’s constitutional and financial responsibility is to the TRZs,” he said.


Dubose-Simonton said her swearing-in to office has been a long time in the making, particularly after winning her General Election bid in November over incumbent Janice Menard.
“Those have been the longest two months in my life,” Dubose-Simonton said.
Once in office, Dubose-Simonton said she would like to make some needed changes to the JP3 office. She added she kept all of the current office employees so she anticipates a smooth transition. In fact, her staff will be running the office while she is in JP training. “I’m very comfortable things will be taken care of. The staff have been very receptive to changes,” she said. “I want the citizens to feel welcomed and to come and visit.”

Burton said his campaign was “a lot of hard work.” He expected the hard work to continue when starting his office as precinct commissioner.
“We have a good group here (in Precinct 2) and we have some good things going on in Orange County,” he said.
On the other hand, Burton said there are also some challenges to be faced such as pressing budget issues.
“I feel I’m not only responsible for only Precinct 2, but I’m also responsible for the whole county. I want to make us financially sound as a county,” he said.
Burton added his uncle, longtime Precinct 2 Commissioner Owen Burton left him some advice while serving on the commissioners court: “You’re there to help row the boat, not to rock the boat.”

All of the Republicans sworn into office on New Year's Day are: from left, Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jody Crump, District Clerk Vickie Edgerly, Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Joy Dubose-Simonton, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Barry Burton, County Judge Brint Carlton and Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Rodney Price. RECORD PHOTOS: David Ball

All of the Republicans sworn into office on New Year’s Day are: from left, Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jody Crump, District Clerk Vickie Edgerly, Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Joy Dubose-Simonton, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Barry Burton, County Judge Brint Carlton and Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Rodney Price.
RECORD PHOTOS: David Ball