ERATH (March 3, 2018)– This article is part of a series on Erath County judge candidates. All interviewees were asked the same questions, and the interviews will be presented in Q and A format.
Photo courtesy of Alfonso Campos
Q: What is your current career?
A: “I am a bailiff at the county court-at-law. Second floor of the courthouse.”
Q: Do you have a degree? Where from?
A: Campos has a BBA in marketing and a BA in education from Tarleton State University.
Q: Are you married? Do you have children? What school district do they attend?
A: Campos is married to Connie Campos. He has an adult daughter named Laura Campos and a 14-year-old named Diego and a ten-year-old named Lucia, who they homeschool.
Q: Where are you involved in the community?
A: “At [St. Mary’s Catholic Church] we do the Knights of Columbus and marriage prep classes for couples. We teach Sunday school.”
Q: How long have you lived in Erath county?
A: “I arrived in 1966. I went to Huckabay schools, went to Tarleton. When I graduated from Tarleton though, I left. I took a job as a game warden. That took 25 years. I retired, and I ran for and was elected Justice of the Peace down in the Austin area. Then, we decided that I would not run for reelection, and we came back up here about three and a half years ago. This is really home.”
Q: What area of the county do you live in? Do you own the property you live on?
A: “I live around Hannibal, north of Huckabay. Yes.”
Q: Why are you qualified to be the county judge?
A: “I think my extensive experience in emergency management areas. I was the emergency management coordinator for my agency, the Texas Parks and Wildlife. I sat on the governor’s Emergency Management Council. So, I am familiar with the responses that are required when a disaster hits. I am familiar with the fact that, when a disaster does hit, a lot of times the public is left without roads or with damaged roads. Utilities are a problem. So they look to the government to get the utilities back again, to get the transportation systems. That is a big part of that job. Another thing is financial and budgeting. I’ve had extensive experience in those two areas. I’ve had to set budgets for my previous agency. As such we had to look at how much we would spend on salaries, equipment and utilities. You had to keep in mind the limitations you had on your spending and how you were going to make that work to have a smooth operation year round. As far as personnel management, we did many hiring processes for game wardens. Then down the road it would include disciplinary actions and how that all works within an organization from coaching an employee even to termination.”
Q: Why are you running for county judge?
A: “To be honest with you, I always look for good people to run for public office. I saw this as an opportunity to utilize some of the skills that I had from my previous career. I felt that they matched well with the duties of a county judge. I’ve been a public servant all my life. That is where my passion is. I understand the intricacies, the fact that you are in the spotlight at all times. At any time the public could complain on you because you are a public servant. It’s time that they are paying you for and it’s equipment that they pay for that you are using.”
Q: What are the responsibilities of the county judge?
A: “A county judge I think is primarily an emergency management services coordinator for the county. He, along with the four county commissioners, runs the business side of the county, which is a multi-million dollar budget each year. They set or help set the budget for all of the departments for all of the elected officials. They vote on the major purchases and acquisitions. The county judge is probably the biggest source of information for any business having to do with the county. It’s where the public can come and get information on any other department.”
Q: Do you view the county judge as a full or part-time job?
A: “It’s definitely a full-time job with all the responsibilities that fall into that office and also the responsibilities of being out in the community.”
Q: How would being elected affect your current career?
A: “I would have to resign my current job. I do have a county job, and I would be prohibited from holding my current job.”
Q: How do you view the pay scale of the county judge position?
A: “The pay scale is where it is today. It wouldn’t be my job to go in and do or undo things that in place or have taken years to get to this level. It’s a livable wage. I accept it for what it is. It’s fine with me. Having said that, that will be my main source of income. I won’t have outside interests in any way.”
Q: What would your number one priority be if you were elected?
A: “I don’t know about a number one priority. I would like to see those that want to have input know what the issue are beforehand so that they can come and testify before the judge and the commissioners if they are so inclined. I want obviously to promote transparency so that the public does in fact know what issues are on the table and what is being decided, what is being discussed and what is being voted on.”
Q: Are you a conservative or liberal?
A: “I run on the conservative ticket. I’ve been elected as a Republican-conservative official when I was elected as Justice of the Peace. I consider myself pro-life. I consider a valid marriage as one between a man and a woman. I have Christian values, family values. Then, on the fiscal issues, I understand that taxing is a serious issue, and any tax increases require much consideration and debate so that you hear both sides of the issue. We have roughly 20 percent [of the county] at poverty level and a high percentage of the population on fixed income. So, any increases would burden them severely sometimes.”
Q: In the last statewide primary, did you vote in the Republican or Democratic primary?
Q: What are your credentials in the Republican party? Have you read and do you agree with the party platform?
A: “I think anytime you run for an office as a candidate that party will require you to read the platform and agree and sign that you agree with the platform. Of course, I’ve done that.
Q: Rank the following levels of government by importance: federal, state, county and city.
A: “I always think that the local level is most important because the local level is the grassroots level. I’m including city and county. Locally is where you begin to find any of your leaders that are going to step up statewide and then nationwide. So that is the most important area. Ideally it would be state and then national because I think, as a Republican, we want the least government that we can. It’s hard to put the national government at the top of our list. We can relate better to the small government. At the state level, we feel like we can get to know some of our legislators there. On the national level, it’s very difficult to know what is going on and to know what the government is doing and who the leadership contingency is.”
Q: Confederate war monuments continue to be an issue across the nation. What is your opinion of the Confederate war monument in the courthouse square? If there were in initiative to remove it, who should decide?
A: “The way I feel is that it was put there by the people. It was placed there by a petition that was grassroots. Somebody felt it was important to honor someone, in this case Confederate war heroes. With that being said, it’s there because the people wanted it there. As long as the people want it there, it should stay there. So, if there were to be a question about its presence, that should be decided by the people in a voter referendum.”
Q: Texas passed a law to move from concealed handgun licenses to licenses to carry. What is your opinion of this change?
A: “I’m comfortable with the law as it is. When I was a game warden, everybody I encountered was armed or we supposed that they were. I am completely comfortable around guns. I realize that there are some people that probably shouldn’t be carrying a gun. So the whole permitting issue is difficult. But overall I am comfortable with it.”