Dear Liberty Dispatch,
There are a handful of people still around who worked for years laying the groundwork for liberty County one day to change course and start electing Republicans and to connect this county with conservatives in Austin and Washington D.C. Years ago I made a public prediction that Republicans would fill half of the offices in the county by the 2008 election. I was a little off and we had a few years when we were a little too passive, but that time has now come. If you will allow me to I would like to thank Jay Knight, Steve Stephens, and Craig McNair for running for County Judge. They all three saw a need for change and they all had the courage to run and the willingness to serve. It is with great pleasure I congratulate Craig McNair and it is with sincerity I thank several others for their efforts.
It is a difficult thing to run in a primary against people that live together in a tight knit community and who have similar conservative values. I did not know Mr. Stephens before this race but I watched him tonight and I thought he conducted himself not only like a gentleman, but like someone who cares about this county and cares about making positive changes. I am in hopes he will do like Jay Knight and help us make needed changes by electing Craig McNair and helping him after he takes office. Stephens knows how to bring about change and can still be a very important part of these historic times. I don’t really know Jay Knight either, but for years I have heard from friends what great people he and his wife Jan are. This county and the Republican Party ought to hope that Jay will run for office again. I will look for an opportunity to reward him for his efforts in this race by voting for him in his next one.
The last candidate I would like to single out and I would like to say I have the most appreciation for is Larry Wilburn. For those of you who are new to voting or working for the Republican Party, you need to know that very few people have helped this party survive and get strong enough to win in the last fifteen years than Larry. If people like Larry had not gone against the odds and spent the money and time it takes to run we would not have made the progress and we would not be preparing to make historic changes this election. It is people like Larry that knew if they ran as a Republican that they would probably have to run multiple times and work their tail off before they would have a good chance of winning. Much of Larry and his wife Denise’s efforts and their self-sacrifice will never be known by future Republicans but I saw it. I saw two people with integrity and purpose who sacrificed a great deal and who are unquestionably the type of people who made this country great. I don’t know Barry Graves, but I hope he wins in November. If he helps the Republican Party half as much as the Wilburns, he will be a vital part of the history of our local party.
Lastly, I do not want to pass up an opportunity to thank all of the people who make Liberty Dispatch what it is. I want to thank Ray Akins especially. I know you wanted to stay out of this County Judge’s race, but we all know you were concerned that Mr. Stephens and our whole list of candidates would be affected by some of the circumstances surrounding the recent FEMA contracts. I appreciate the way you handled that on this site and I know you hope Mr. Stephens will focus on resolving that situation and that we will all help Craig McNair win in November and help him be successful as the first Republican County Judge in over 100 years. Everywhere you have lived you have devoted your time and your money and your unique abilities to replacing Democrat officeholders and RHINO’s with good Republicans. My only regret in deciding to retire as the party chairman is that I wasn’t in office to greet you and help the party work with you in unity to build a strong Republican Party. I salute your efforts. Some may misunderstand you and some have definitely distorted who you are, but I can not help but salute you for the sacrifices you have made and the trials you have endured (sometimes dealing with ‘friendly fire’ from people that claim to be on our side).
Richard Pegues retired after serving three terms as the Liberty County Republican Chairman from 2000-2006. It was during County Chairman Diane Sanford’s term (1998-2000) and Richard Pegues’ three terms that local Democrats began to have to actually acknowledge and deal with local Republicans after years of passive Republican “leadership” that refused to engage and confront local Democrats. Democraic Party Chairman John Archer dubbed Pegues “the attack puppy” in an effort to make light of the efforts of those hard working local Republicans back then. Pegues enjoyed the nickname and relished the idea of the “puppy” growing up. The people of Liberty County voting 3 to 1 in the Republican Party primary versus the Democratic Party primary is evidence that that group of people Archer meant to insult when he called Pegues the attack puppy are preparing to get the last laugh.