A Tyler lawyer is the first person to announce their candidacy for the 241st District Court judge seat race in 2022.

Debby Gunter, who has practiced law in Tyler for over two decades with experience in both state and federal court, announced her candidacy on Tuesday. She is running as a Republican candidate for the seat.

Judge Jack Skeen Jr., who has served as judge in the 241st Judicial District in Smith County since 2003, announced in April that he will not seek reelection in 2022 after reached the constitutional age limit of 75 this past March.

“I’m running for this position because I’m convinced 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,” Gunter said. “I have great respect for the judicial system, and I believe that when experienced, hardworking, servant-hearted judges are elected, the entire community benefits.”

Gunter was born and raised in Smith County, and she earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.

She’s practiced law in Tyler for the past 21 years. Over that time, she said she’s served as a prosecutor to protect the property of business owners through patent litigation. She is a partner at Findlay Craft, P.C. in Tyler, where she handles complex civil litigation cases.

Gunter has served on boards at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County, Leadership Tyler, the Women’s Fund of Smith County, and the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County.

She’s served on the Board of Directors for the Smith County Young Lawyers and the Smith County Bar Association. Gunter is a member of the Board of Directors for the Smith County Bar Foundation. She received both the Smith County Young Lawyer of the Year award and the Smith County Bar Award of Excellence, according to her announcement.

Gunter’s statement said she has strong conservative values and recognizes that a judge’s role is to apply the law as it is written, and she understands the importance of having an impartial judge who will hear both sides of every case.

Her husband of 26 years, Tyler native Eric Gunter, works as a registered nurse. They live with their son, Cole, and golden retriever, Buck. The family attends Green Acres Baptist Church.


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I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.