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Forum held to meet with Jefferson County candidates, discuss issues on ballot

Jefferson County judge candidates Carolyn Guidry and incumbent Judge Jeff Branick were asked about different county issues, such as Ford Park.

BEAUMONT, Texas — A forum featuring candidates running for office in Jefferson County this November was held Monday evening.

Operation One Vote and 100+ Black Women Coalition of Beaumont held the forum at the Cathedral of Faith Baptist Church in Beaumont.

The groups joined together to hold the forum to "increase the number of educated voters" and inform them about all the candidates and issues on the ballot.

The candidates for county judge were asked about Ford Park at the forum.

"No other facility in the United States like ford park makes a profit," said incumbent Judge Jeff Branick.

Branick pointed out that facilities like Ford Park rarely make profits and said the focus should be on the baseball fields, which bring in money from all around Texas. 

Democrat Carolyn Guidry says the county is running out of options and needs to hope for better management.

"At this point and time all we can do is hope we can get a better management company there who will bring venues that cater to the people of Jefferson County," she said. 

The judge's race is a big one to watch, considering Branick has held the position going on 12 years.

"Never increased the tax rate. We've created more jobs in Jefferson County over the last 12 years than we have in the last 100 years. We've had more industrial infrastructure investment than we've had in our history," Branick said. 

Guidry served as county clerk in Jefferson County for 16 years.

"I've basically been on the sideline, made suggestions, none of my suggestions were taken seriously, so I figured I need to get in the pot in order to stir it," She said. 

Guidry says she believes in grass roots politics, so she's going to reach out to as many people as she can. 

"I don't discriminate whether they are democrat or republican, I'm asking for their vote."

RELATED: 2022 Texas midterm election voter guide

Jefferson County Clerk Laurie Leister was at forum along with one of the county's new ES&S voting machines. She demonstrated how the new machine works.

Here's a list of contested races in Jefferson County...

  • State Representative District 22
    • Jacorion Randle (R)
    • Christian "Manuel" Hayes (D)
  • 317th Judicial District
    • Gordon Friesz (R)
    • Chelsie Ramos (D)
  • County Judge
    • Jeff Branick (R)
    • Carolyn L. Guidry (D)
  • County Clerk
    • Roxanne Acosta Hellberg (R)
    • Jes Prince (D)
  • County Treasurer
    • Tim Funchess (R)
    • Charlie Hallmark (D)
  • County Commissioner Precinct 2
    • Cary Erickson (R)
    • Julia Rodriguez (D)
  • Justice Of The Peace Precinct 2
    • Joseph L. Guillory II (D)
    • Kyrin Baker (I)
    • Brandon Bartie (I)

Residents will also be able to register to vote at the event.

The deadline to register to vote to cast a ballot in the 2022 Midterm Election is Tuesday, October 11, 2022.

In Texas you can register to vote in the county you live in to be able to vote in all local, state and federal elections.

Wondering if you are already registered to vote? You can visit the Secretary of State website to find out. 

You are eligible to register to vote if:

  • You are a United States citizen;
  • You are a resident of the county where you submit the application;
  • You are at least 17 years and 10 months old on the date your voter registration application is submitted, and you are 18 years of age on Election Day.
  • You are not a convicted felon (you may be eligible to vote if you have completed your sentence, probation, and parole); and
  • You have not been declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be either totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.

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This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.

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