Weatherford Opinion

Barnwell seeking to retain county treasurer position

Jenny Barnwell is seeking to retain her position as County Treasurer for Parker County on the March 4 Republican ballot.

There are no Democrats seeking the seat but she has drawn a Republican opponent.

Barnwell has been a resident of Parker County since 1973. She is a former investment broker with Investment Centers of America, Inc. where she worked for seven years in the operational side and then six years as an independent broker. Barnwell has held the Series 6, 7 and 63 investment licenses, as well as the Group One insurance license that were necessary to conduct numerous levels of investing.

Barnwell and her husband, Dewey, have been married for 40 years. They have one son and two adventurous grandchildren, Hannah and Shawn. Barnwell was appointed by Commissioners on May 28, 2013 to fill the unexpired term of the late Jim Thorp. She, along with 18 other applicants, applied for this position. Since being appointed, Barnwell has revised the county’s Investment Policy that had not been reviewed in some time. Barnwell said, “With this revision I will be able to invest taxpayer money more efficiently.” Barnwell and her staff are also converting payroll, accounts receivable and account payable over to a new financial system that had been previously purchased by the county.

Barnwell has been active in the community for numerous years. Currently she serves as a Board Director for M&L Water Supply Corporation, member of the Weatherford Rotary Club and an associate member of the Parker County Republican Women’s Club. She has served as President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Board Director for Bush Legacy Republican Women, Board Director for Weatherford Chamber of Commerce, Board Director for Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce, served as a board member for 5 years on the City of Weatherford’s Planning and Zoning Board, Board Director for Pecan Valley Mental Health Mental Retardation and a board member for the Girl Scouts of America’s nominating committee.

Barnwell has also received several awards over the years for her dedicated service to the community and organizations in which she served. She also completed the year-long Northeast Tarrant Leadership program. She was the 2003 recipient of the Athena Award from the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce; 2001 Sales Assistant of the Year for Investment Centers of America, Inc., 2001 Business Staff Person of the Year from the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce; 2000 Ambassador of the Year Weatherford Chamber of Commerce; and 1999 First recipient of the Sam Walton Business Leader Award also from the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce. She was the 1998 President of the Year for Weatherford’s Business and Professional Women’s Organization as well as their 1998 District Director and Outstanding Club Woman for the Business and Professional women’s group.

Barnwell said, “I’ve worked extremely hard to be where I am today in my life and I continually strive towards excellence both professionally and personally.”

Johnson files for re-election

Lynn Marie Johnson, Justice of the Peace for Precinct 4, has filed for re-election on the March 4 Republican primary ballot."I've really enjoyed serving my community and have worked very hard to make the court reflect my values of personal integrity and fiscal responsibility," Johnson said.

Johnson is a Christian conservative, a 22-year resident of Parker County, and a practicing attorney for 29 years. She and her husband, Ed Huddleston, an attorney and former teacher, coach and school board trustee, have been married for 22 years. They have four children: Kendall (19), Kallyn (17), Cameron (14), and Cheney Huddleston (12).

Since her election three years ago, Johnson has resolved more than 15,300 criminal and 770 civil cases; presided at over than 350 trials; magistrated over 1000 criminal defendants; and issued more than 2150 arrest warrants.

In addition, she has increased revenue by 30 percent; revitalized teen court involving more than 200 high school students; developed content for the county's new website to inform litigants about JP Court; eliminated the large backlog of criminal and civil cases; revamped the court's security and technology systems; redrafted and updated the court's orders, writs, citations and other official documents; instituted bond forfeiture proceedings; participated in the selection of the County's new software system; and operated her Court under budget.

Johnson also facilitated the hiring of a company to collect delinquent fines at no cost to the county. Previous methods relied upon by the county were inadequate, prompting Johnson to take a more proactive approach. "There are thousands of dollars in unpaid fines from the 1990's through the present," Johnson says. "Payment of these unpaid fines would help defray the county's expenses and reduce the tax burden on the citizens of Parker County."

Johnson is the only Parker County JP who can order a blood draw on a felony DWI offense. "The position requires a level head, careful analysis, and attention to the balance between public safety and individual rights," Johnson explains.

In addition to her elected position, Johnson volunteers with Parker County Teen Court, Aledo AdvoCats, Shattered Dreams, Project Celebration, Aledo Athletics and other Parker County nonprofits and assists her husband in the operation of their East Texas cattle ranch.

Vinson announces candidacy for Precinct 3, Justice of the Peace

Dusty Vinson formally announced his candidacy for Parker County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3 on the Republican Party ticket for the March primary election.

With 21 years of experience working for and “faithfully serving” the citizens of Parker County, Vinson asks for your vote and support to realize his vision for a responsive justice system. “The Justice of the Peace Court is the people’s court. Therefore, it is imperative to render competent, fair and ethical justice, and to assure a level playing field for both the defendant and the plaintiff. I assure you that in my court, everybody will be treated equally.”

While Vinson currently serves as the Senior Investigator for the Parker County District Attorney, his cumulative law enforcement expertise will allow him to objectively weigh the facts and apply the law in each individual case. Dusty formerly served as lieutenant at the Parker County Sheriff’s Office where he commanded the Patrol Division and gained invaluable experience creating, maintaining and operating a $1.3 million patrol budget. During this time, he also supervised the Communications Division, the Drug Interdiction Program and the School Resource Officer Program.

Additionally, Vinson is a former Narcotics Agent who served with the Cross Timbers Narcotics Task Force. During his tenure as a Narcotics Agent he became well versed in preparing, obtaining and executing search and arrest warrants. Vinson holds multiple certifications including a Master Peace Officer Certification, is a State certified police instructor, has logged hundreds of training hours throughout the years and was recently recognized by the Texas District and County Attorneys Association as a Professional Investigator.

“A lot happens in JP court. You need to have a working knowledge not only of state laws and criminal procedures but also of how the justice system operates in order to be effective in this position. JPs handle a wide variety of cases including both criminal and civil trials, seized property hearings, search and arrest warrants, traffic court, truancy, evictions and dangerous animal issues. I believe my diverse experience will allow me to provide an efficient and fair forum to rectify disputes and to provide justice for the citizens of Parker County”.

Vinson and his wife, Julie, are the proud parents of four grown boys. He is a member of the Dennis Baptist Church, Howard Payne Alumni Association, and the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Freedom House.

“Since 1992, I have dedicated my career to serving the citizens of Parker County, and with your help, I will continue that service as your next Justice of the Peace.”