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Fowler files for Upshur County district judge

By Christina Lane
Dec. 6, 2017 at 11:07 p.m.

Dean Fowler, on Thursday October 22, 2015, at the Upshur County Courthouse. (Michael Cavazos/News-Journal Photo)

Upshur County Judge Dean Fowler made it official this week: He's making a run for the district judge seat.

Fowler, a Republican, said Wednesday that he filed Monday to run for judge of the 115th District Court in Upshur County and will effectively end his tenure as county judge Dec. 31, 2018.

"I've appreciated the opportunity to serve four terms as Upshur County judge, but at this point, it is time to let someone else take the reins," Fowler said Wednesday, "and I'd like to continue serving the county as district judge."

That decision means that next year, Fowler also will appear on the ballot in Marion County. The person who serves as district judge in Upshur County also is part-time district judge in Marion County.

Marion County's 276th District Court is served by two judges — one who also serves in Upshur and another who also serves in Titus County. Fowler said, if elected, he would serve in Marion County each March and September.

Judge Lauren Parish of the 115th District Court previously said she is not seeking re-election.

Fowler was elected to the Upshur County judge post in November 2002 and took office Jan. 1, 2003.

During Fowler's tenure, the commissioners court implemented a unit road system in which a county road engineer is hired to maintain the roads in the four commissioner precincts. The county has seen two tax rate increases in the past 15 years, and Fowler worked to clean up the county court docket, disposing of thousands of criminal cases and hundreds of probate matters.

Fowler also noted that Upshur County has experienced a lot of growth over the years, and earlier this year the county was awarded $250,000 by the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority to pay for a feasibility study to create a loop around Gilmer. The goal of the project is to relieve congestion on U.S. 271 and Texas 154.

Fowler grew up in Upshur County and graduated from Gilmer High School in 1980. He began practicing law in 1992.

"I think my experience in the courtroom — both as an attorney and as a judge — make me well qualified to serve as district judge, and I think a change in the county judge leadership will be good for the county, and this will be a good change for me, too, personally," he said.

No other candidates have filed for district judge.

The Republican primary is March 6. Early voting begins Feb. 20, and the general election is Nov. 6.

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