The Amarillo Pioneer

Amarillo's only free online newspaper. Established in 2016, we work to bring you local news that is unbiased and honest.


Editorial: Important Choices Await Potter County

I continue to repeat myself but it is worth saying again and again: May 22nd is an extremely important election for Potter County.

As you know, three judicial races in Potter County will be going to runoffs to replace retiring incumbent judges. Steven Michael Denny and Pamela Cook Sirmon are running for 320th District Judge, Len Walker and Walt Weaver are running for Potter County Court at Law #1, and Matthew Hand and Wade Overstreet are running for Potter County Court at Law #2.

While the district judge race is very important, it is equally important to understand the ramifications of the Court at Law elections in Potter County. Voters will be choosing successors for Judges W.F. "Corky" Roberts (Court at Law #1) and Pamela Sirmon (Court at Law #2). These two courts feature longtime judges who are choosing to vacate their spots. In each court, the future judge will face major cases dealing with criminal law and civil law. However, a large bulk of the cases the future judges in these courts will hear will be criminal, so it is important to understand what qualification a judge has to hear these cases.

In the race for Potter County Court at Law #1, Walker has an undisputed record of achievement in the field of criminal law, both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney. Walker has strong background in civil law. Weaver also has criminal law experience on both sides, but has seemed to struggle in conveying his experience to voters in the way that Walker has achieved. 

For Potter County Court at Law #2, Overstreet has unique qualifications, serving almost his entire career as a prosecutor. Hand is well-known for civil law, however, it is not yet known what criminal law experience, if any, the attorney has. Hand faced criticism during the regular primary election over this issue, and this is a question that Hand needs to answer before Potter County votes on May 22nd.

Both of these cases will be extremely important to the future of Potter County. These elections will change the landscape of the Potter County courts for at least the next four years. While some are speculating that voter turnout could be less than one thousand votes, we hope that every Amarillo voter will take their chance to be heard on May 22nd.

-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief

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