Editor’s Note: This is part of a weekly series of candidate profiles leading up to the March 1 election.
The hotly-contested Madison County sheriff’s race includes an incumbent and two former deputies — none of whom have a negative thing to say about the others.
Jim Jackson, 65, is an ordained minister with a bachelor’s degree in theology, who spent 13 years in law enforcement but left two years ago so he could run for sheriff. His wife, former Madison County Jail Administrator Danna Jackson, is his biggest fan.
“We’ve talked about it for a long time,” he said, adding that Danna also quit her job to assist on his campaign.
Jackson spent 24 years pastoring in an Assembly of God church and began his law enforcement career in Eastland County.
“I wanted to get more involved with the needs of the people,” he said. “I can reflect back on my pastoral experiences and how I dealt with the personal needs of people. I draw from that and have compassion when I go into a crime scene. You feel their hurt and can assess their needs. When you’re a victim of a crime, your privacy has been invaded. You need to work with someone who knows what that’s like.”
Jackson was hired by the late former Madison County Sheriff Dan Douget and served locally on patrol and as an investigator for eight years.
Jackson is facing incumbent Sheriff Travis E. Neeley and former Madison County Deputy Ivan Linebaugh in the March 1 election. Early voting begins Feb. 16.
Jackson said he wants to build on prevention strategies and enhance relationships with other law enforcement agencies. He believes he is the man for the job because of his experience in law enforcement but also because he understands jail operations as well as the needs of the department personnel an their families.
“The sole purpose of the sheriff’s department is to meet the needs of the people and the community,” Jackson said. “They’re the reason why we’re here.”
He believes the sheriff should be a fixture in the community and take notice of the surroundings.
“I want to be more proactive than reactive,” he said. “People need to see the sheriff’s department out on the dirt roads and stopping to visit with people, checking on local businesses. That can deter crime.”
Jackson was born in Oklahoma but raised in Texas and has lived in east Texas since 1981. He and Danna have five children and seven grandchildren.
Other candidates on the March 1 ballot include:
Karen M. Lane – tax-assessor-collector
Richard B. “Ricky” Driskell and Russell Smith – Precinct 1 commissioner
Carl Lynn Cannon – Precinct 3 commissioner
James L. Weathers – Precinct 1 constable
Charles D. Turner – Precinct 2 constable
Early voting will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 16-26 at the Madison County Courthouse, 101 West Main Street, Madisonville (Room 108) and at North Zulch Public School, 11390 Fifth Street, North Zulch.
On Election Day – March 1 – polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations:
Vote Center One: Midway Community Center, 5612 School Loop, Midway
Vote Center Two: Elwood Baptist Church, 14527 OSR, Midway
Vote Center Three: Courthouse Room 108, 101 West Main Street, Madisonville
Vote Center Four: North Zulch School: 11390 Fifth Street, North Zulch
Vote Center Five: Sand Prairie Baptist Church, 12652 FM 1452 West, Normangee
Vote Center Six: Madison County Annex, Room 122, 103 West Trinity Street, Madisonville