Breckenridge Texan

Michael Roach decides not to run for reelection as JP

November 10
08:20 2017

Although he has announced his decision to not seek reelection as Stephens County’s Justice of the Peace, Michael Roach says that he loves what he’s been doing for the past three years and will continue to serve out the rest of his term.

“I know in my heart, as of today, that my time as Justice of the Peace has come to an end. I intend to serve my full term, that is all of next year,” he said Thursday afternoon. “I will be there. I’m not leaving. I will fulfill the obligation I made to the voters here in this county. I love doing what I’m doing. I will continue to serve my full term.”

The JP said he felt called to serve in the position and will take the next few weeks to decide what he’s going to do after the term is up at the end of 2018. “I’m going to just pray about future opportunities,” he said.

By announcing his decision not to run for reelection, Roach gives others in the community more time to consider running for the office of Justice of the Peace.

“I felt it was best for the taxpayers and the citizens of our county to be able to be notified there was a vacancy and me not waiting until Dec. 11, the last day of filing to say, ‘Oh, I’m just not going to do it again,’” he said. “Hopefully, this will give other qualified candidates that have a desire to serve the county an opportunity to file and make to those tough choices with their families to go into the realm of community service.”

In looking back over the past three years, Roach noted some of the accomplishments he achieved in the Justice of the Peace office.

“Times and technology have drastically changed. And, what we’ve noticed is that with some of our technology change, there’s been a drop in folks’ failure to appear,” he said. “In our fast-paced world, some folks find it difficult to take off work during regular office hours and go take care of a ticket. So, we’ve allowed a lot of ways, online and things like that, to plead a ticket and pay for those.”

Roach said the office also has put all of the court filing paperwork online as PDFs for citizens to print and fill out without having to make multiple trips to the court. “So, there’s a lot of things like that we’ve done to really modernize how we approach our office, how we administrate it,” he said.

He also mentioned the Teen Court program, which was reintroduced to Stephens County during Roach’s tenure.

“The other thing, and the heart of the reason I ran, was a lot of other justice courts participated in the Teen Court program, and we didn’t offer that locally. And, we could,” he said. “It requires a lot of extra time, Monday nights for instance, that we have to volunteer, but the benefits of that have been incredible. And, so we’ve, I feel like we’ve got that running. That was a promise we made,  and that’s been great.”

Another goal that Roach says he’s accomplished in the past three years was to create a welcoming atmosphere in the JP’s office. “So, if you go pay a ticket, you’re not a criminal. You may have broken a law, but you’re a taxpayer who, like a lot of people, probably were in a hurry or made an error in judgment or something like that,” he said. “So, we wanted to create an atmosphere where everybody felt welcome. Yes, we had to administrate justice. Yes, you might not always agree with what we did, but we did want there to be an air of professionalism yet true to the law in the State of Texas. And, I think we’ve done that, as well. So, I feel really, really good about the progress that we’ve made.”

In announcing his decision not to run for reelection, Roach released the following statement:

Serving as your elected Justice of the Peace has truly been an honor and a privilege. Working for you and through your unwavering support, many great things have been accomplished in this office.

  • I have upgraded the technology of our court allowing citizens to conduct routine business without having to appear in person.
  • My office has enthusiastically co-sponsored Teen Court allowing students that made some unfortunate decisions to leave high school with a clean record and hopefully better decision-making skills and tools.
  • I have endeavored to uphold the rule of law and be fair and impartial in all court proceedings. The Court’s affairs have been managed in a way that is consistent with the laws of the State and in the best interest of taxpayers. Twice during my three years on the bench, I have been inducted, as a Distinguished Member, into the Justice Court Judges Association’s College of Justice Court Judges. This honor is given to a select number of Judges in the state of Texas who acquire thirty (30) hours or more above their mandatory educational requirements.
  • I earned a Certification from Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service in Death Scene Investigations which has proven invaluable at times when our community needed it the most. I have striven to be both professional and compassionate during some of our fellow citizens’ darkest and most tragic days.
  • Lastly, I am quite proud that I have been able to fulfill the promises I made to you during my campaign for this office which included conducting court business with professionalism, compassion, and honesty.

I am grateful for not only the amazing support of the citizens of our county but also for the support that I have received from the incredible men and women in law enforcement and other elected officials.

After many prayers and family discussions, I have decided not to seek re-election for the Office of Justice of the Peace, but I will diligently and professionally serve out the remainder of my current term. I am, however, continuing to engage in frequent prayers and discussions regarding another way that I may be able to serve the citizens of Stephens County at the conclusion of my tenure.

Thank you so very much for your faith in me. It has been a true honor to serve you! The future of Stephens County is bright and full of possibilities. God bless you all.

Kindest Regards,

Michael C. Roach

 

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

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