May 27, 2020
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By Gail M. Williams

Muleshoe Journal Correspondent
Ten Muleshoe citizens attended a meeting Thursday at Aim Bank to listen and discuss Gina Parker’s candidacy for the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals with Jane Cansino, Parker’s regional campaign director from Lubbock.
Parker is running against incumbent Bert Richardson in the Republican Primary on Tuesday, March 3. William Dermond, Elizabeth Davis Frizell, and Dan Wood are running in the Democratic Primary for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3. Early voting starts Tuesday, Feb. 18, and ends Friday, Feb. 28.
“The judicial races are often overlooked by the common voter, and probably not well understood, but are a very important branch of our state, county and local government,” said Carroll Precure, Bailey County Republican Chairman, in a message announcing the meeting.
In a phone interview, Parker said that voters should see her as a competent, experienced candidate who has served as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney.
“I’ll take a balanced approach to the issues at hand,” she said. “Most importantly, I am a solid constitutional conservative. Everyone, whether Republican or Democrat, needs to follow the rule of law. Enforcing the rule of law is the main role of judges, and I’m committed to doing that.”
Parker said you often hear complaints about the clearance rate, the number of cases settled within a certain time span.
“Basically, the same number of cases are cleared. The clearance rate is 100 percent.”
However, Parker says she brings an eye for efficiency to the task that will move the cases faster.
“One of my strengths is handling a large volume of information. I have a good sense of justice so that I can take the law, apply it to facts of the case and make a sound judicial decision,” she said.
Parker grew up in Waco, which she calls, “the heart of Texas.”
“My dad was a master electrician, working for Atlas Cement Company, and a homebuilder,” she said. “My mother helped him in his homebuilder business and as an interior decorator.”
Parker graduated from Baylor University and took her law degree there.
“My grandmother on my dad’s side was so proud,” Parker said. “She had only an eighth grade education, but she read my law books and understood them. My memories of her are about the two of us fishing and deer-hunting. She and I had a really close bond because of that.”
Parker is married to Dr. Kevin Kallal, a family practitioner.
Cansino described Parker as a person of integrity with 30 years legal experience.
“She has been a city attorney, an assistant county attorney, she’s worked on the prosecutor’s side and, more recently, on the bench side. She’s excellent at motivating people that have problems to turn their life around.”
Parker has several endorsements, including that of former governor Rick Perry.
“Carroll Precure, a respected county chairman across the state, was asking do we have enough reasons to warrant voting against an incumbent,” Cansino said. “Yes, we do. Rick Perry is one of the key people that got hurt by her opponent.”
Cansino referred to a 2016 case in which Rick Perry was indicted by Rosemary Lehmburg, the Travis County district attorney, for vetoing funds following her arrest and incarceration for driving while intoxicated. Perry demanded her resignation and, when she did not resign, used his line item veto power to cut all funding to the Public Accountability Office.
“There was a big to-do about it,” Cansino said. “When it came to court, the visiting judge ruled against him in the district court, and that’s Gina’s opponent who’s now on the appellate court.”
The appellate court reversed the ruling, saying there was not sufficient evidence to convict Perry.
“This is serious because none of us prefers hiding corruption,” Cansino said. “It got overturned by a wide margin, but that was not a small mistake. That was making a wrong judgment that, for whatever reason, could have caused us to lose the state of Texas.
“When the top of the ticket person, gets involved in a scandal, it’s very important that the rule of law is followed. In this issue, Richardson really did legislate from the bench. So, you can make sure that Gina Parker is a constitutional lawyer and will not legislate from the bench.”
Cansino listed Texas Right to Life and Kelly Shackelford among Parker’s supporters.
“She’s a truly conservative longtime Republican, a President of Republican Women in Waco, and a grassroots activist as well. She’s come up through Texas and paid her dues not only in the party field, but also in the legal field,” Cansino said.
Cansino said the issue of appointing judges vs. electing them has come up.
“Gina Parker is a strong one for election of judges in our Republican platform,” Cansino said.
Under current law, Texas judges are elected for six-year terms. There are no term limits, but there is an age limit of 75 years.
Another issue important to Parker resolves around transparency.
“Leaders have responsibility to get word to our voters, volunteers, precinct chairs and various members of the grassroots network to give them the information they need to make intelligent votes,” Cansino said. “I want to know what my government is doing. We all vote for people that we feel like will represent us, and we want to make sure that they are.
“The Open Meetings Act is a good thing. If people want to come here, and air what’s going on at their city council or school board, they should be able to come in and listen to what’s going on, be respectful, and then write letters about what they like and dislike.”
Cansino said the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals recently struck down a key provision in the longstanding Open Meetings Act, and Richardson joined the majority opinion.
“The court in the Doyal case in a 7-2 opinion struck down a key provision in longstanding open meetings act, thereby undermining transparency in government. My opponent joined that majority opinion,” she quoted Parker as saying.
For more information on Parker and her campaign, go to ginaparkerforjudge.com. For more information regarding the Republican Primary, call Carroll Precure at 806-946-7322.

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