Quincy Beavers Jr., Smith County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1, announced he will seek a sixth term in that office as a Democrat.
Beavers, 71, has served in that office since 1995 and will face a Republican opponent, Flor de Maria Nichols, 42, in the March 2014 primary. Beavers' public service and law enforcement career spans more than 40 years, according to a news release from his campaign.
He began his career in law enforcement and public service as a police officer in the late 1970s for the Big Sandy Police Department and worked more than 12 years in the Smith County Sheriff's Department as a deputy sheriff and chief warrant officer before becoming an elected official, according to the release.
After Beavers received an award from the East Texas Crisis Center for his work educating families about domestic violence, he said he believed in enabling families by giving them the tools to make their lives better, according to the release.
"I believe when people are given the right tools to make the right decisions to help themselves and their families ... we are truly enabling them to improve their quality of life. This is what public service is really all about — helping others to help themselves," Beavers said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Ms. Nichols had told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that 60 percent of Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 constituents are Hispanic and that 30 percent are foreign-born and that she had wanted to eliminate the language barrier to improve basic services in the judge's office, such as marriages and handling deaths.
Beavers countered in his news release that neither the U.S. Census Bureau nor the Texas Secretary of State's Office of Election Administration provides racial breakdowns by precincts. He said "he remains committed to continue being a fair justice of the peace within the letter of the law for all of the constituents regardless of race or cultural background."
Beavers is a graduate of Grambling State University in Grambling, La., and attended graduate school at East Texas State University.