Three candidates are vying to be the Republican candidate for Chambers County sheriff in the November election.
Incumbent Sheriff Brian Hawthorne is seeking a third term. Wes King Jr., a former Chambers County sheriff’s deputy, and Bert Whittington, an officer in the Harris County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office are challenging the sheriff in the March 3 GOP primary.Early voting starts Tuesday.
Hawthorne explained why he felt he should be the county’s sheriff for a third term.
“The No. 1 reason I want to be re-elected as sheriff is because I think the sheriff’s office as a whole, in the big picture, has done a superb job over the last seven years,” Hawthorne said. “With the Commissioners Court’s assistance, I’ve been able to create numerous programs and projects that have been very beneficial to the constituents that are still in the early stages. We already see tremendous success. And I’d like to see that success continue to grow.”
Hawthorne said he has never given the citizens of Chambers County a reason not to want to re-elect him.
“I’ve never had any
controversy, and I’ve always tried to keep them informed,” he said.
Hawthorne said with my leadership, and with the leadership of his senior management team, he has the “best sheriff’s office in all of the state of Texas.”
“It is a very safe and conservative county and it will continue to be a safe and conservative if the voters choose to re-elect me as their sheriff,” Hawthorne said.
Whittington said his No. 1 priority as sheriff would be to treat everyone with respect.
“I will assure all policies and procedures are followed,” Whittington said. “I do not care if it is my wife, mother, family or kids. If an officer stops them, they will get a ticket. Everybody will be treated fairly.”
Whittington said his homegrown status gives him an edge in the tightly contested race.
“I have lived here all of my life, and even graduated from Anahuac High School,” Whittington said. “I am not a politician. I am a representative of the people of Chambers County. I have no desire to go to either Austin or Washington, D.C. I am one of the people of Chambers County.”
Whittington feels the county lacks enough deputies.
“I want to put more deputies along Interstate 10,” Whittington said. “Once I get the patrol covered on the east and west sides, the next focus is on the interstate for drug enforcement traffic. For the safety of the citizens, I want to ensure these narcotics are not coming south on their way to the east and stopping in our county. Also, we have people that drive east to west on the interstate that are running at whatever speed they want.”
Whittington said he also wants the youth to become more involved with the sheriff’s department.
“We have a cycle that is going on,” Whittington said. “Some of our youth are getting into trouble. Eventually, they will serve their time with the state. Then, they will come right back here. So why can’t a justice of the peace or a county judge or a representative from the sheriff’s department or counselor set up a roadmap for these kids? So, when they come back, they do not fall back into the same situation that sent them to jail in the first place.”
Whittington suggested the former inmates could work for the road and bridge department or in some capacity at the county.
“This is so they can provide for their families and themselves,” he said. “And we can also establish a relationship with industries such as ExxonMobil, Chevron Phillips, and Enterprise. We can get with any one of those companies, and partner with them. That will give these young men and women a good work history. Those are the things we need to do for these children; otherwise, their lives get ruined over things like one marijuana cigarette.”
King is also a “homegrown boy.”
“I have 30 years under my belt in law enforcement from ground level entry all the way through supervisory,” King said. “I’ve seen every case that could be brought before the court from traffic ticket up to capital murder. I’ve been in the shoes the deputies have worn. I know the problems that are there that I can foresee to fix. And I just want a change in leadership in Chambers County.”
King said he is also for having more deputies on the streets.
“I am going to implement on Day One community-oriented police policies, where my guys work in the district they are assigned to,” King said. “They will learn who the business owners are, get to know as many in the district as they can, and they will not be bounced from district to district.”
King said he feels the attrition rate at the sheriff’s office is too high.
“I want to slow it down,” he said. “In the last seven years, they’ve gone through two chief deputies, 10 captains, and numerous lieutenants, sergeants, deputies, jailers, and dispatchers. It is out of control.”
Chambers County sheriffs serve four-year terms.
There are no Democratic candidate in the March primary for Chambers County sheriff.
If necessary, a runoff election will be held May 26. A complete rundown of elections in Texas can be found by visiting www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/index.shtml.
Where to vote in Chambers County
Early voting in Chambers County for the Primary Elections is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and then from Feb. 24 to 28 at all locations.
The early voting locations are:
• Main Branch Conference Room, Chambers County Courthouse Annex, 2128 Highway 61 in Anahuac.
• Winnie Branch Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1 Courtroom, East Chambers County Courthouse Annex, 211 Broadway Ave. in Winnie.
• Mont Belvieu Branch County Clerk’s Office, West Chambers County Courthouse Annex, 10616 Eagle Drive in Mont Belvieu.
• Cedar Bayou Branch Justice of the Peace, Pct. 6 Courtroom, Cedar Bayou Community Building 7711 Highway 146 in Baytown.