Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument

The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Cooke County Courthouse grounds.

A statement issued by Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 6:

"Over the past few weeks, I have received numerous phone calls, emails, and visits regarding the Confederate monument located on the Courthouse square. Several people on both sides of the issue asked if the public could vote on the topic in a public referendum. By law, counties with a population of under 40,000 can hold nonbinding public referendums regarding property. It was our original understanding that since Cooke County has an estimated population of over that threshold, we could not hold such an election. However, this interpretation was incorrect. In determining population for such a threshold, it looks at the official population from the last federal census. The most recent census, the one in 2010, has Cooke County with an official population of 38,437. Therefore, we can, by law, allow a nonbinding public referendum on the Confederate monument issue.

"My duty as County Judge and a member of Commissioners Court is to make decisions on behalf of our residents as a representative form of government. We cannot and should not put every issue that comes before Commissioners Court to a public vote. That is not the way the system is designed to work, and it is not the job I was elected to do. However, I view the issue regarding the Confederate monument more as a cultural issue impacting the entire county and less as a day-to-day function regarding the administration of government.

"Therefore, I plan to recommend to Commissioners Court, at the August 17th meeting, that we place the issue as to whether the Confederate monument on the Courthouse square is relocated or whether it should remain on the ballot for the general election this November as a nonbinding public referendum."

Recommended for you