Coryell County Judge John Firth’s decision to not seek re-election next year will mark the first time in a decade the county’s top elected position is open.
Republican Alan Mathis, 66, said he believes he has what it takes to fill Firth’s spot on the Coryell County Commissioners Court.
Mathis was born and raised in Atlanta. In 1968, he moved to Texas and fell in love with the Lone Star State. Not only did he fall in love with the state, he met his wife of 47 years, Rosemary, here too.
Two years after moving to Texas, Mathis joined the Army. During his 23-year career in the Army, Mathis worked his way up from private to major.
For the next 22 years of his life, Mathis worked as a government contractor with Computer Science Corporation testing and integrating computer applications for the Army.
Should he be elected county judge, Mathis said he would use his 45 years of experience to guide Coryell County and preside over the commissioners court.
“You can’t have 45 years of experience and not have learned discipline, the ability to set strategic and tactical plans and have the ability to execute those plans with the same discipline that took you there to create those plans,” Mathis said. “That’s what I’ll bring to being the judge: The focus. The discipline.”
Along with those two qualities, Mathis plans to emphasize teamwork with the commissioners, cities and surrounding counties as Coryell County judge.
Mathis is already fostering relationships with Coryell County’s neighbors. On Monday, Mathis stopped by the Bell County Commissioners Court meeting and workshop to see how they run their meetings.
Mathis was just floored how fast Bell County Judge Jon Burrows and the commissioners work through its meeting.
“I was shocked,” Mathis told FME News Service. “The court was 17 minutes. (Coryell County has) gone an hour, an hour and a half depending on what the topic is.”
Once Burrows ended the meeting, Mathis walked out in the hallway of the Bell County Courthouse and ran into Bell County Auditor Donna Eakin. She told him to come watch the commissioners workshop meeting.
Mathis said the Bell County commissioners workshop meeting reminded him of how he used to get work done in the Army.
The Coryell County judge candidate said he’s visiting surrounding counties to see how they function. Mathis recently visited a McLennan County Commissioners Court meeting and the commissioners were more deliberative in their regular meeting compared to Bell County.
Mathis’ campaign is still in its early stages. Right now, Mathis is focusing on getting his name out to voters and shaking hands.
Teaching voters about himself isn’t the only thing Mathis is doing on his campaign. He said Coryell County residents have come up to him and asked what a county judge is — and Mathis is explaining it.
In Texas, a constitutional county judge presides over the commissioners court, serves as budget officer in counties with fewer than 225,000 residents, has some judicial duties and serves as head of emergency management, according to the Texas Association of Counties.
Should Mathis go on to win the election next November, he would not be a county judge, but the Coryell County judge.
Residents have told Mathis how much they appreciate his efforts to teach them more about their county government, he said.