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Embracing history, officials take oath

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    253rd District Judge Chap Cain speaks to those attending the official swearing-in ceremony about his pride in the folks serving Liberty County. Cain has held office locally for 32 years.
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    Liberty County Clerk's Office members help administer the oath to County Clerk Lee Haidusek Chambers.
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    Liberty County Clerk Lee Haidusek Chambers speaks to the audience in the 75th District Courtroom after taking the oath of office with her grandson.
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    Liberty County Treasurer Kim Harris delivers remarks as family and friends stand in support.
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    Newly elected Justice of the Peace Pct. 2 Jimmy Belt officially takes the oath of office from County Judge Jay Knight, as his wife Joan stands by his side. Belt won the election by defeating the last Democratic elected official in November.
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    Liberty County Court at Law Place 1 Judge Tommy Chambers delivers remarks after taking his oath. The Chambers family bible can be seen next to him.
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    Liberty County Commissioner Pct. 4 Leon Wilson takes the oath from 75th District Judge Mark Morefield at a special ceremony on Monday.
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    253rd District Judge Chap Cain speaks of some of Liberty County's judicial history and those that came before.

LIBERTY – It was a day of celebration as local elected officials took the oath of office in service of Liberty County while remembering the legacy of the county's past.

County Judge Jay Knight opened the ceremonies in the 75th District Courtroom, welcoming those in attendance and giving a few words about the importance of the elected officials' service to the county.

Knight then invited 253rd District Judge Chap Cain to address those in attendance. The 32-year public servant spoke of his pride in all of the elected officials and gave a brief history of the legacy of those who have served Liberty County.

"I'm very proud of this county and what we are doing here today is very important," said Cain.

He went on to speak about all the leaders at the courthouse and across the county and the sacrifices they give to the community.

"It's very important that we have this continuity, that we have these men and women here willing to serve and keep this county safe and run it and fund it," he said.

Cain then told a brief history of Judge L.B. Hightower, the longest-serving judge in the county's history, serving from 1888 to 1917.

"Around the turn of the century, he had a case of a young black man that was arrested for stealing the neighbor's pig. That was pretty serious back then; it was a felony case," said Cain.

The suspect admitted to the charges and, when asked, told the judge a bear had stolen the pig to feed his family because a bear had broken into his pins and killed all of his pigs and chickens and that he had nothing to feed his family.

Cain then told about Hightower's background as a celebrated hunter, even hunting in the county's north end with President Theodore Roosevelt on one occasion.

Cain told of how Hightower took his dogs out and killed the bear within the day. He returned the next day to the courthouse, gave the man probation, and ordered him to replace the neighbor's pig when he could before giving the man the bear to feed his family.

"Now that was justice, that was justice," exclaimed Cain.

"I think we have judges today in this courthouse that exemplify that kind of justice. I think we have law enforcement officers in this county; I know we do that exemplify that kind of justice. We have men and women to make sure that we are safe and healthy and that our county is properly funded," said Cain.

Cain then told the audience that he was proud of them, especially those being sworn into office.

"What you're doing counts. What you're doing is important, and I am happy to be here to be a part of it," concluded Cain.

Judge Knight then began officiating the oath of office for several officials, including County Court at Law Judge Place 1 Tommy Chambers, County Clerk Lee Haidusek Chambers, and County Treasurer Kim Harris, who all were continuing their service to the county.

Finally, Knight swore in the new Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2 Jimmy Belt. Belt was the only office taker being sworn in for the first time, taking the role of the last office held by a Democrat in the county.

Belt defeated Ronnie Davis in November, giving Republicans control of every elected position in the county.

"I just want to say that I appreciate everybody from Pct. 2 that came out and made a change during this election," said Belt, who was very appreciative of the support he had during the ceremony.