Lubbock County Court at Law No. 3 Judge Phillip Hays announced Thursday his candidacy in the March 6 Republican primary election to remain on the bench to which he was appointed by county commissioners in October.
Hays, whose wife Tricia stood by his side in his courtroom, said he believed his 27 years of experience practicing law in Lubbock and his character make him the best candidate for the job. He told his supporters who packed the courtroom he believed a judge’s role is to make the final decisions in the cases brought to court.
“And those final decisions are the reason sound judgment, integrity, good character and knowledge of the law is why it’s important for the judge to have those qualities,” he said. “I believe I possess all of those.”
The court primarily adjudicates civil cases such as divorces, probate issues, civil trials and adoptions.
Hays was one of 12 applicants who sought the bench vacated by Judge Judy Parker, who was appointed in August by Gov. Greg Abbott to the Seventh Court of Appeals of Texas. Lubbock County Commissioners interviewed each candidate in public before appointing Hays.
“I believe that my experience and my candor (during the interview process) led them to believe that I was the true candidate that needed to be appointed to this court,” he said.
In the next weeks, he said, he plans to visit with county residents to talk about his campaign.
“And our message is: Conservative, Experienced, Integrity and Judgment,” he said. “Those four issues are going to define this candidacy and this race. A good judge brings all those things to the bench and, as I said, I believe I have those going for me.”
He will run against David Nelson, who announced his bid for the bench on Nov. 30. The winner of that primary race will be on the November general election ballot.