TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Tyler lawyer who has practiced law in the city for more than two decades has become the first person to announce their candidacy for 241st District Court Judge.
Debby Gunter, a partner at Findlay Craft, P.C. in Tyler, released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that “every person should be allowed the opportunity to come before a fair, impartial judge who will hear both sides of the matter before making any decision.”
“I have great respect for the judicial system, and I believe that when experienced, hardworking, servant-hearted judges are elected, the entire community benefits.”Debby Gunter
The seat will be vacant for the 2022 election after longtime current Judge Jack Skeen announced that he would retire after his current term. He is currently 75 and has been on the bench for nearly 40 years.
While the election will officially be in November 2022, the likely winner will be picked in the March primaries due to Smith County being overwhelmingly Republican.
Gunter was born and raised in Smith County. She graduated from Texas Tech and received her law degree from The University of Houston.
She has experience as a prosecutor and a wide array of civil litigation cases. She serves on the following boards:
- The Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County
- Leadership Tyler
- Women’s Fund
- Alzheimer’s Alliance.
Gunter brands herself as having “strong conservative values” and that a judge’s job is to “apply the law as written.
She has been married to her husband Eric for 26 years. They currently live in Tyler with their son and attend Green Acres Baptist Church. Her campaign kickoff will be Thursday evening at Hollytree Country Club.
Skeen’s retirement is the second of the three longtime Smith County federal court judges in the past two years.
Back in July of 2019, Judge Christi Kennedy of the 114th District Court announced she would be retiring.
She served out her term until the end of December 2020.
She had been elected to the court back in 2008, and had run unopposed in many elections in the years that followed.
The 114th District Court is now presided over by Austin Reeve Jackson.