US Navy veteran, 34-year-old Leward LaFleur was sworn in as county judge for Marion County, Texas on Saturday, September 1, saying he felt humbled, elated, excited, and nervous, but “extremely prepared.”
His priority for 2018 was “to jump in feet first and get going,” he told the Jimplecute shortly after being sworn in.
Stating that he believes he is the youngest county judge ever appointed or elected in the county, he said he has a wonderful support group that would advise him whenever needed.
For instance, County Judge Dean Fowler was there for him. “I’ve sat in his court in Upshur County quite a few times, and he and I have been friends for 15 plus years.”
He has also sat in with outgoing Marion County Judge, Lex Jones numerous times, he said mentioning the County Commissioners as well as the County and District Clerks of Marion County. “These people are professionals at what they do.”
“All the elected officials get along. They are just really good folks.”
LaFleur also emphasized, “we have to work together as a community to make things better.”
LaFleur won the Republican nomination for county judge with 54.16 percent of the vote in the Republican Party Primary in March this year, defeating two other candidates, Steven Shaw and Kim Smith.
LaFleur’s new position coincides with a state grant to renovate the Marion County Courthouse. In April, soon after LaFleur won the race for Marion County Judge, the county was awarded the Round Ten Courthouse Restoration Grant by the Texas Historical Commission. This was a landmark decision since the county has been working on the grant since 2000.
“Right now is a very unique time for us as far as a county, with the courthouse being restored,” LaFleur said. This would also be priority, “getting all the paperwork completed on that and moving forward with those things.”
In the meantime, the historic Texas courthouse has relocated to 119 W. Lafayette Street in Jefferson so the restoration can proceed.
And while LaFleur wants to focus on the courthouse restoration project, he has important legal work to do. After a Commissioner’s call at 9 A.M. on Tuesday, he had his first probate hearing at 10 A.M. and another meeting at 10.30 am he said, “so I’m hitting the ground running.”
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