Tell me about you. Where are you from? How long have you lived in Bailey County? Are you married, have kids, etc.?
My parents Travis and Sue (Willman) Bessire both graduated from Muleshoe High School. Both my brother and I and our children are Muleshoe High School graduates. I attended Texas Tech University for 2 ½ years and graduated from Sterling Legal Assistant School in Phoenix, Arizona. I began working for Gordon H. Green as his legal assistant in 1993 and studied and passed my National Certified Legal Assistant exam in 1994.
I was elected to the position of Bailey County Clerk in 1998 and served in that position for 6 years and 3 months. I was appointed by the Commissioner’s Court to serve the unexpired term of retiring County Judge, Marilyn Cox. Marilyn was the first woman to be elected County Judge in Bailey County.
I have two wonderful children that are Shelbi Harrison Crittenden, 26 and her husband Jacob Crittenden, and a son, Conner Travis Harrison, 24. I am blessed with 3 grandchildren that call me Shooza!
Any community involvement? If so, can you elaborate?
I am very involved in my County. I have served as Rotary President, Chamber of Commerce President and President of the West Texas Association of County Judges and Commissioners Association, a 118-county sub-region of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas (CJCAT). I currently serve as secretary of the Central Plains Board in Plainview (previously MHMR). I have served on this board since 2005. I am an active Meals on Wheels delivery driver and a Salvation Army Bell Ringer. I am a member on the First United Methodist Church and served on the Finance Committee for many years.
What made you run for County Judge?
Judge Young announced that he would be retiring as District Judge and Gordon H. Green was running unopposed for that position. He and County Judge Marilyn Cox persuaded me to run for Bailey County Clerk and I was elected to that position in 1998 and was appointed as County Judge in March, 2005 and have served as Bailey County Judge since that time.
What is the most important thing the county is facing right now?
Bailey County is facing many things. Opioid Epidemic, mental ill inmates in our jail, waiting on bed in Vernon or Big Spring for over a year. Illegals that we hold in our jails for 4+ months before the lab work is processed. Bailey County as well as other rural counties are facing many issues at this time.
If elected, what would you like to tackle first?
Is there anything you believe is going particularly well for Bailey County? Can you elaborate?
Bailey County administered 7 grants during Covid. They are tedious and time consuming. Kevin Baize, Bailey County EMS Director and myself worked in connection with South Plains Association of Governments and were the only County to receive a grant for a new ambulance, a first responder Tahoe and a Stryker cot.
If you could pick just one or two things, what do you most want voters to know or understand about you?
I believe that my background and legal experience are invaluable in performing the duties of Bailey County Judge. I understand the duties and responsibilities of the Bailey County Judge and the importance of serving as the Chief Budget Officer of the County. I have prepared the County Budget since 2005 with the help of the County Treasurer and the Commissioners Court. I am familiar with the state statutes and the ability to research the law when needed in Juvenile, criminal, probate and numerous other areas of the law.
Are there any points not in this questionnaire that you want to speak to? If so, please share it here.
Bailey County’s greatest assets are the employees and citizens. Bailey County is fortunate to have dedicated and loyal employees that serve the county. The citizens are very strong willed and continue to strive to make the community positive and they welcome economic development.
We are also fortunate to have positive working relationships with the other entities (City of Muleshoe, Muleshoe Area Hospital District and Muleshoe ISD). We all work well together and are promoting growth and prosperity for the community.