Friday, December 15, 2017

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Upshur County district judge won't seek re-election

By Christina Lane
Sept. 15, 2017 at 11:44 p.m.
Updated Sept. 16, 2017 at 9:24 a.m.

Judge Lauren Parish presides over a trial in April in the 115th District Court of the Upshur County Justice Center in Gilmer.  (Michael Cavazos/News-Journal Photo)

In the wake of an announcement that Upshur County's longtime district judge will not seek re-election, the county's district clerk said Friday that she will run again next year.

District Clerk Karen Bunn said Friday that her re-election would help "ease the continuity of court proceedings as a new district judge takes the bench."

Lauren Parish, who has been judge of the 115th District Court since 1995, announced this week that she does not intend to seek a seventh term in 2018.

She first was elected in 1994, taking office Jan. 1, 1995. Her father, the late Welby K. Parish, served as district attorney and county judge.

Lauren Parish also is district judge for Marion County. Because Marion is a smaller county, it shares a judge with Upshur County.

Parish has been re-elected every four years since 1994. She ran on the Democratic ticket each time, except in 2014 when she switched to the Republican Party. In October, Parish said she was returning to the Democratic Party, explaining her decision was based upon GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's behavior.

When she leaves office at the end of 2018, she will have served Upshur County for 24 years.

Parish has not said what she intends to do in the future, and she did not return calls for comment Friday.

While no one has announced plans to seek the district judge seat, Bunn said Friday that she intends to run again for her position to provide stability in that office, which works closely with the 115th District Court.

Bunn, who was elected district clerk in 2014, will be up for election in 2018. She intends to seek re-election as a Republican in the GOP March 8 primary. Should she win the primary and should a Democrat or Libertarian challenger arise, she would face that candidate in the November 2018 general election.

"It has been an honor serving the citizens of Upshur County as district clerk," Bunn said. "I set out to make the office more accessible to the public and become a friendly place for anyone who walks through the doors."

Bunn said she has received compliments from the public as well as from lawyers about the efficiency and friendliness of the clerks who serve in her office.

"I take pride in knowing they are so dedicated, loyal and committed to excellence," she said.

Bunn's office provides support to the county's 115th District Court. Her office serves as the custodian of all court records and is responsible for processing criminal, civil, family, juvenile, tax and CPS filings. The office indexes court records, collects filing fees and must account for all funds held in the registry of the court, she said. Bunn's office also coordinates the jury for the 115th District Court.

"We have a great county and I enjoy working for the citizens of Upshur County," Bunn said. "I have an excellent, dedicated staff, and with their experience and dedication, my office looks forward to their continued commitment of excellent services."



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