County judge announces retirement after 28 years
A fixture in Jack County politics for nearly 30 years, County Judge Mitchell Davenport announced Monday he will not be running for re-election.
Davenport has been county judge for 28 years, the longest serving judge in county history, and says retirement has been on his mind recently.
“I’ll be 71 next November and I was figuring that retirement and a social security check will be a pretty good raise,” Davenport said. “My wife is retired so that plays into it.”
Davenport admits being tired of fighting the State and its “idiocracy” passing items down from Austin and expecting counties to pay for them. In other instances, the county gets little reimbursement from the State, despite a large increase to the County.
“We have a number of attorney fees for CPS that the State is not reimbursing us for and the attorney fees have doubled just over the last year,” Davenport said. “The State is forcing a lot of things on us and I’m not sure I want to be at the helm when even more of that comes down.”
Davenport says State mandates have forced cuts in donations to local entities like the library and the senior center. “We’re going to have to stop spending that money if the State doesn’t change what it’s doing,” Davenport said.
Despite the problems with the State, Davenport says he has enjoyed the work he has done and the people he has worked with but contends the county judge has become more of a “cheerleader” in recent years with the department heads taking over much of the work.
The judge said he had planned on contacting both county party chairs in the next few days to let them know of his plans and to give time for people to decide if they want to run for his position in November 2018. The first day to file for a spot on the March 6, 2018 Primary Election ballot is Nov. 11 with a deadline of 6 p.m. Dec. 11.
His last official day will be Dec. 31, 2018.