County Clerk Sherry Dowd and justices of the peace Vicki Gray, precinct 1, and Connie Hickman, precinct 4, switched parties to become Republicans Wednesday in a short ceremony at the Navarro County Republican headquarters.
“We are proud to have three terrific, experienced office holders join the ranks of our party,” said Frank Steed, president of the Navarro County Republican Party. “Their conservative values are a reflection of our core beliefs. Our stated goal of having a Republican in every elected seat in the Navarro County Courthouse is now three steps closer. We look forward to the 2012 elections and reaching our target.”
In January, District Attorney Lowell Thompson and J.P. Kirby Hill, precinct 2, switched to Republican, along with Constable David Foreman.
The three women said the decision was reached only after a long time of consideration.
“In the last two years I have come to the realization that my personal beliefs are more closely aligned with the Republican Party and so today I am changing my party affiliation,” Gray said in a prepared statement. “I consider it my privilege to serve all of the citizens of Navarro County regardless of their party affiliation.”
Gray has worked for the county for the past 29 years, the last eight of which she has been justice of the peace.
Dowd has worked for the county for 22 years, nine as county clerk.
“In talking with other clerks and elected officials, the Republican Party is the party of the future of the State of Texas,” she said. “I look forward to being part of it.”
Hickman and Dowd admitted to their decision having a practical side, as well. Long-standing Democrats were trounced in the 2010 elections, as voters cast straight tickets, affecting even those on the bottom of the ballots.
Having judges campaign in partisan elections is unseemly, but it’s the reality, Hickman said.
“Just as my responsibilities demand strong legal decisions in the courtroom it is also a responsibility of each of us to reflect and react to trends in our constituent’s voting interest in the political arena as well,” she said in her prepared statement.
Hickman has worked for the county for 28 years, and has been J.P. for 20 years.
The last office-holding Democrats in Navarro County are Sheriff Les Cotten, County Commissioner for Precinct 1 Kit Herrington, and Constable Precinct 4 Tommy Grant.