Two Democratic candidates are vying for Ector County’s Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 seat on March 6 in a primary that will decide the race as there are no Republican candidates.
Jesse Porras III is challenging long-time Justice of the Peace Eddy Spivey for the seat.
Spivey is the incumbent justice of the peace, having held the position for the last 23 years since he was first elected in 1995. Spivey said he still enjoys interacting with the people of Precinct 4 in Ector County.
“I’m thrilled to be in the court to make it fair and impartial and let everybody know they can come here, and if the law allows me to help them, I can,” Spivey said.
At 70, Spivey has lived in Odessa nearly all of his life. Before serving as a justice of the peace, Spivey was a well analyst for Shell Oil Company, and retired after working there for 23 years. He also served in Vietnam in the U.S. Army for a year.
Porras has never held public office, but has lived in Odessa for 59 years, nearly all of his life. He has been the owner of Auto Oasis, 522 S. Crane Ave., for the past 21 years, interacting with the residents in his community, he said.
Porras has played a part in organizing events such as the annual Cinco de Mayo parade and Memorial Day commemoration. He previously ran for Justice of the Peace in 2014, and also ran for District 1 city council in 2016.
“I’ve lived in the south side all my life,” Porras said. “When it comes time to make a decision on what’s right and wrong, I think I know where my decision will go, which is the right way, because I’ve been dealing with the constituents here all my life.”
Porras said that when he initially ran for the seat in 2014 it was because no one had run against Spivey since 1998, and said he felt that even if he didn’t win, it would be an experience.
“I didn’t make much preparation for that,” Porras said. “But this year, I am.”
Being bilingual, Porras said he believes Precinct 4 needs a person who can speak both English and Spanish in order for anyone in that jurisdiction to feel their needs are being duly represented.
Spivey said that, despite not being bilingual, it has never been an issue for him as JP, as he has two assistants who translate as needed.
“That hasn’t ever been a problem before, because we try to keep one of them up here at all times to assist me in that area,” Spivey said.
Porras said people feel more comfortable talking with him because of his ability to speak Spanish, and that a translator might make people feel less at ease in a courtroom.
“When a person comes to talk to me, they don’t hesitate to tell me what’s on their mind,” Porras said. “The words sometimes don’t come out the way they want to, because there’s a translator. I feel it will make them more at ease and more comfortable asking questions without having to have a translator.”
Porras also has military experience, having served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Enlisting in 1974, Porras served in Japan, Korea, Australia and several other countries during his time, working in a landing party helicopter team. He also spent time as a non-commissioned officer, in charge of taking some soldiers to court for issues such as being court-martialed.
Election Day is March 6, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be early voting available from Feb. 20 to March 2.
- What: Justice of the Peace Precinct 4.
- How long: Four Years.
- Salary: $63,712; Auto Allowance – $5,050; Fringe Benefits: $28,709.
- First day of early voting: Feb. 20.
- Last day of early voting: March 2.
- Election Day: March 6.