The New Year brought the swearing in of 15 newly elected Ellis County officials.

Newly elected officials were sworn into their positions during a swearing-in ceremony Tuesday, Jan. 1 at the Ellis County Courthouse.

Among those recently elected included Precinct 3 Constable Curtis Polk Jr., who won his race against incumbent Michael McCorkle in November by less than 140 votes.

After embracing his family and thanking them for their support throughout his race, Polk Jr. turned his attention to the voters and pledged to do his best in his new position.

“This has been something that I had been looking forward to for a long time,” Polk Jr. said. “This is home. I want my county to be the best county in the United States.”

County Clerk Krystal Valdez was also sworn in, taking over the position after former clerk Cindy Polley retired following 28 years of service. Valdez won her race with 71.9 percent of the vote and became the first Hispanic county clerk to ever serve Ellis County, according to a previous Daily Light story.

“It’s been a very rough year,” Valdez remarked. “But we made it. All of you who came out and voted, supported, walked and talked for me – I really do appreciate it.”

Other officials who were sworn in include Justices of the Peace Christopher Macon, Jackie Miller Jr., Dan Cox and Steve Egan; County Treasurer Cheryl Chambers, District Clerk Melanie Reed and Precinct 4 Commissioner Kyle Butler. Five officials — 40th Judicial District Judge Bob Carroll, County Court at Law Judges Jim Chapman and Gene Calvert, Sheriff Charles Edge and Precinct 2 Commissioner Lane Grayson — were sworn in after running unopposed races.

The last newly elected official to be sworn in was Ellis County Judge Todd Little, who previously won with 70.3 percent of the popular vote in the November election.

As county judge, Little said he will always ask questions, speak the truth and have the courage to have a conversation with anybody. He said he does this so he can obtain and process information and make the right decisions for Ellis County.

“My conversations are going to be about exchanging information and views,” he explained. “So I am able to make the right decisions at the right time for the right reasons.”

Little expressed that one of his earliest motions will be to investigate the use of county facilities - specifically the courts building.

“I believe the courts building should be used for courts and court-related functions,” he explained. “One of the earlier items that I will place on the commissioners' court agenda is a discussion concerning the return of the treasurer’s office back to the historic courthouse, where it can be near purchasing, accounts payable, human resources, the auditing department and the business functions of the county. Why would a function, such as payroll for nearly 550 employees, be away from other key financial functions?"

Little thanked the voters for their support in the November election and concluded by quoting Philippians 3:13 - “But One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”

“What a year 2018 has been,” Little remarked.