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December 4, 2013

Berry files candidacy for county judge

Callisburg — Staff report

Local attorney Byron Berry recently made a bid for the Cooke County judge seat by filing for candidacy in the March race.

Berry said he wants to become county judge as a way of strengthening the fiduciary future of the area.

“I think it’s time that the county has a businessman,” Berry said Tuesday. “The county judge is not a judge who hears cases; he’s the one who presides over the commissioners’ court and helps with the budget and is a spokesman for the county — and works to bring business to the county.

“And I feel like I’m the most qualified to do that, based on my background.”

Berry, 58, is a member of the Hayes, White, Berry and Vanzant firm, stationed in Gainesville and Denton. He was educated at Texas Tech University and South Texas College of Law, with specialties that include certified public accounting and business law. In 2012, Berry sought office as a Republican representative to District 68, a 22-county span that includes Cooke plus counties in the South Plains and Panhandle regions.

Drew Springer [R-Muenster] ultimately won that race. But Berry said that as county judge, his own job would include coordinating with Springer and other representatives to communicate the best interests of Cooke County to state legislators.

Rather than simply follow every mandate or resolution that flows from the Capitol to county courtrooms, Berry added, his office would include strong attempts to have an influence on state decisions.

“I would be more proactive,” Berry said. “We’d want to get our voice out there before it got down to a resolution. And we’d be working with our cities to be on the front end of that as opposed to just being reactionary on the back end.”

And if elected, Berry said, the position would alter his law career though he would retain involvement in ranching and real estate, his other current fields.

“I wouldn’t quit my partnership but I would not be going to court, let’s put it that way,” Berry said Tuesday. “And I doubt I would pull out of my business and the other projects I have. I’m not going to divest myself of that.”

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