Springerley aims for balance, transparency
By Anthony Flores
Democratic candidate for Williamson County Attorney Stan Springerley is looking to unseat incumbent Dee Hobbs and flip the first countywide position in 27 years.
A lifelong resident of Texas, Springerley has more than 30 years of experience working in the legal field, as a paralegal and practicing attorney. Springerley was chosen by and serves the Williamson County Commissioners Court as their legal representative.
“I started doing low-level stuff, starting with simple assault complaints, thefts under $20,” said Springerley. “It’s the stuff police didn’t even want to deal with, and wouldn’t even send it to the county attorney. They’d send it to the city attorney to go to municipal court. I drafted those complaints when I was 18 years old.”
While earning his political science degree and preparing for the jump to law school, Springerley supported his endeavors by working three jobs.
“I studied political science as one of the recommendations to prepare me for law school,” he said. “So, I went to the University of Texas at Tyler and worked three jobs to fund my education. I eventually went to Southern Methodist School of Law and became a lawyer.”
With a long career in law at various levels, Springerley believes he has the tools necessary to improve the office of the county attorney.
“I’ve been licensed as a lawyer for 20 years and as a paralegal for 10 years,” said Springerley. “So, I’ve got the experience, private and public. I’ve spent 13 years in the government sector. I have the temperament to do the job. In counties, the structure of government is splintered power, it’s checks and balances, and you have to have the ability to work with other elected officials to get anything done.”
Springerley says that to best represent residents in Williamson County, there needs to be a balance among the ideologies of its countywide officials.
“It is imperative that someone puts a spotlight on issues, and you don’t have decision making that is driven by partisan politics. Certain jobs, should not be driven by politics,” he said. “They should be driven by the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, and following the law. It shouldn’t be about what is best for the party, it should be about what is good for the community. That’s why I decided, along with my wife, that I should run for county attorney.”
Springerley believes that voters deserve to have varied options when they go to the polls that better reflect the state.
“What I’d like to communicate is that I’m a lifelong Texan and I think that a lot of Texans hold these different points of view. They haven’t had options at the ballot box,” said Springerley. “There’s only been one game in town. We forget that Texas has a long tradition of strong Democratic, progressive ideals. You’ve got LBJ (President Lyndon B. Johnson), Ann Richards, and other strong iconic figures that came from Texas. It needs to be more reflective of the population.”
Springerley said that just because he leans more to the progressive side that he wants every side to have a seat at the table. While working in Tyler, Springerley served as an appointed attorney, doing many of the same things that a county attorney does.
“That doesn’t mean I’m an ideologue. I’m not an extremist, I believe in the rule of law,” he said. “I believe you should have all stakeholders at the table. I have worked with officials from both major parties. I’ve essentially already done this job. I have handled everything the county attorney does. It includes mental health commitments, juvenile law, family violence, protective orders, CPS cases, bond forfeitures, and misdemeanor criminal cases.”
A primary focus for Springerley is the emphasis on mental health. The democratic candidate believes helping those struggling with mental health issues can help relieve pressure on the county jail.
“With increasing urbanization, it’s a challenging problem because sometimes you have hybrid situations where someone has mental health issues, and they also have drug issues. They’re depressed and getting on the wrong things,” said Springerley. “There are individuals that need to be monitored and kept on the radar because they’ll become repeat offenders and end up back in the county jail. They don’t need incarceration. What they need is someone checking in on them, social workers to help them stay right.”
Springerley sees an opportunity to create long-lasting change in the county now more than ever but believes it requires all sides to play ball.
“I think we have a situation where we can mitigate some of this stuff and make reform. We can try to get more return on the investment if we do it wisely and bring in all stakeholders,” he said. “Don’t just talk with one side, talk with the defense lawyers, the civil rights activists, community leaders, and religious leaders. All the people that have input should be involved.”
Springerley hopes to implement a committee dedicated to creating more discussion between county departments and create more transparency for the community.
“One of the things that I’ve indicated that I want to do to make the office more accessible is creating a criminal justice coordinating committee,” he said. “This was something done in Tyler that I sat on, and it brings in all the different stakeholders to present issues. It addresses issues, whether it’s the medical care at the jail or how the dockets get administered. We can give recommendations to the judges and the probation departments. We can talk through all these issues in an open and public forum. Not behind closed doors.”
Springerley believes the combination of his experience and temperament make him the right person for the office. He says his opponent lacks the right approach to bring two sides together.
“As a resident and a taxpayer and as a lawyer, what I’ve observed in the current county attorney is this inability to work with others,” he said. “It’s my way or the highway, and over time become increasingly political. It’s making more political decisions, getting a result, and then coming up with some legal reasoning to justify it.”
Springerley believes that if he takes the reins of the office that it can bring about much-needed change and a balance missing from the county for more than 25 years.
“By all accounts, my opponent Dee Hobbs is a good lawyer. He comes from a criminal specialty, but I don’t think he prepared for management,” said Springerley. “The other thing that’s going on in Williamson County is that it’s been 27 years since you’ve had an opposition party official that was countywide. You’ve had some precinct folks like Commissioner Cook, but you haven’t had anyone countywide. You end up with a one-sided rule for a quarter of a century, and that’s not healthy. I think that the county government works better when both sides are at the table, and there is critical thinking and a devil’s advocate.”