A familiar face at the Cooke County Courthouse has retired.
Rebecca Lawson’s fourth term as county clerk ended Monday, Dec. 31. However, Lawson’s last day in office was Thursday, Dec. 20 because she had family coming in the next day, she said.
Spending time with family is important to Lawson, who spent 25 years with the county — 16 of them as an elected official.
Lawson, 67, said she decided she wasn’t going to run for office again more than a year ago.
“It also had to do with my age and how old I would be in four more years,” Lawson said. “... My husband has health issues and we travel in an RV and stuff and go on trips and I wanted to still be able to do that. I feel like I am still young enough to do all that.”
She is looking forward to not only spending time with Jerry Lawson, her husband of 42 years, but also taking time to visit with her two daughters who live in Florida. She said she has three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Lawson also said she wouldn’t mind downsizing, and is going to be doing “a lot of decluttering and working on our home” in her newfound time.
Lawson said she was a deputy clerk in the county clerk’s office before she ran for office. She said she decided to run after her predecessor chose to retire.
“Back in those days, a lot of the elected officials were Democrats. Of course, I’ve always been Republican,” Lawson said. “I asked everybody in the office, ‘don’t you wanna run, don’t you wanna run, you got more seniority than I’ and they said no, they weren’t gonna do that.”
She said it didn’t bother her to run because she wasn’t afraid to stand up and talk to people.
“I told what was in my heart,” Lawson said. “If we got somebody green to come in that was brand new, we would have to train him.”
Lawson defeated her Democratic opponent and was first elected into office after a long run of Democrats, she said. Lawson was able to retain her seat through three more elections.
Lawson described her daily duties before retirement as “doing a lot of things for the commissioners’ court.” She also said the county clerk’s office runs elections and “handles criminal cases — misdemeanors, probate and civil.”
She said the office cannot provide legal advice.
The county clerk’s office is in charge of vital records, as well.
Lawson said she implemented computers in the office during her tenure.
“It took several months,” she said while adding that one of the first things the office did was “get online.”
Lawson recalled one employee was in tears because she didn’t want to start using computers.
“You either stay and learn it or you go find something else because this is the way,” Lawson said. “It was a process.”
The Gainesville resident said she couldn’t believe how fast the years went by.
Lawson said she had a fantastic staff and described the tight-knit group as family.
“I really liked the job,” Lawson said. “It’s really a lot of fun and it’s a lot of fun meeting all the people. The elections were always really interesting, but I was always thankful ours would run smoothly. I know Pam (Harrison) will do an excellent job.”
Pam Harrison, also a Republican, was sworn into office as the new county clerk on New Year’s Day.