There is a huge difference in the way two of the candidates for local office view themselves and their vision of what the want to do for the county. The incumbent, Henry Patterson admitted in one of the political forums that his re-election bid did not include promises of improving anything, while challenger Bobby Rader’s record of public service has been all about improvement and innovation- two candidates, two different views of the future.
Patterson’s campaign advisers have pointed out that the re-election of their man should be about the only re-election Liberty County voters’ support. They view Patterson and his “more of the same” campaign promise as a great start, but they also believe voters made poor decisions in the last election when they elected three Republican judges. They think cleaning the courthouse out should START now, while for many voters this will be the third election in a row they will vote to replace longtime incumbents.
“Henry Patterson’s re-election and the defeat of all three of the judges and several other people recently elected will happen if things are served up the voters the right way”, campaign adviser to Patterson, Eddie Shauberger said. “We have a couple of the right Pastors and the right businessmen behind our goals and we are unstoppable,” he continued.
Bobby Rader will have strong support from the Christian community, but his analysis of where Liberty County is politically must be very different. Rader was elected JP when there were no Republican elected officials. Democrats courted him, but unlike Patterson’s first run for office, Rader has always run Republican and he has always said his beliefs were better aligned with the GOP’s. That perspective undoubtedly has affected his view of Liberty County politics– he has seen the voters come to the polls the last two elections and agree with him. While Patterson sees the need for change, Rader recognizes the voters have already made many of the changes that were needed.
Rader has not seen the changes he believes need to happen in the Sheriff’s department however. Why else would he be running? When Rader was elect JP he adopted a Ted Poe like style of applying the law. His color blind, innovative, creative way of applying justice to the poor and the rich alike is result oriented. Like Poe, Rader wanted to protect the public and punish lawbreakers, but he also wanted to use the discretion the law gives judges to discourage the unrepentant in your face criminals while judiciously applying mercy to those who show promise of change. He is no pushover and you better not appear before him, but this law and order Republican allows common sense and compassion in the courtroom.
As sheriff, Rader would have a very different job than when he was judge, but rest assured he would make changes. Patterson keeps pointing to a statistic that would appear to mean his leadership has Liberty County’s Sheriff Department shining in the state with a 40% rate of closing their cases. And when Rader says the real figure can be computed by taking the number of cases and the number of successful arrest and convictions, Patterson implies Rader is trying to deny an obvious reason for voters to keep him in office. Patterson says that 40% number comes from the Governor’s office – and wants to know if Rader is calling the Governor a liar. But when Rader points out that the figures the Governor uses come from each sheriff’s office … the argument for any claim to fame by Patterson gets quiet.
While Patterson proudly proclaims if we vote for him we will get “more of the same”, Rader says he will use his knowledge of what kind of evidence is needed to win conviction to train deputies and other needed changes so the Sheriff’s department can start having a real 40% closure rate by convicting criminals rather than playing with numbers.
Voters may discard everything else that is said in this race, but knowing each man’s aspirations and goals is very telling.