Upshur County officials sworn in at courthouse - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Upshur County officials sworn in at courthouse

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GILMER (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) — Some eight people who were newly-elected or re-elected to Upshur County office in 2012 took the oath of office in a New Year's Day ceremony Monday morning at the downtown county courthouse.

County Judge Dean Fowler, who administered the oaths to the officials and sheriff's deputies, estimated 150 other persons attended the public ceremony in the county courtroom.

Taking the oath were Sheriff Anthony Betterton; County Tax Assessor-Collector Sherron Laminack; Precinct 1 County Commissioner Paula Gentry; Precinct 3 County Commissioner Frank Berka; and four constables, Gene Dolle of Precinct 1; Jason Weeks of Precinct 2; Stanley Jenkins of Precinct 3; and Phillip Hill of Precinct 4.

All are Republicans in a county that for decades had only Democratic county officials until the late 1990s. All of the new officials were elected without opposition in the November general election after winning the GOP nomination earlier in the year.

Ms. Gentry, a longtime county employee who ousted incumbent James Crittenden in the party's July runoff, becomes the county commissioners court's first female member since the 1980s. Berka, a businessman, meantime replaces Lloyd Crabtree, who Berka ousted in last May's GOP primary.

Betterton essentially won re-election to a fourth four-year term by defeating Larry Webb by only 25 votes in the July runoff. Mrs. Laminack, who was appointed to her office more than a year ago when longtime incumbent Mike Smith resigned, had no opponent in the Republican primary in winning her first term in her own right.

Hill defeated two challengers in the GOP primary to win re-election to a second term, while Weeks was re-elected without opposition. Dolle and Jenkins won contested races to replace Precinct 1 Constable Russell Harris and Precinct 3 Constable Jerry Kuhn, neither of whom sought re-election.

During Monday's 17-minute ceremony in the county courtroom, Fowler administered the oath first to Ms. Gentry and Berka, then to Mrs. Laminack, then the constables, before administering it to Betterton and dozens of deputies.

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