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Hidalgo Co. Judge, County Probate Court-at-Law

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    Mark Talbot (Rep) Candidate for Probate Judge

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Biographical Information

What leadership qualities do you have that make you uniquely qualified to preside over County Commissioner's Court?

What, in your view, are the most important challenges to the office you are seeking, and how can you best serve your constituency during your term of office?

What is your position on the use of county, state and federal funds for conservation of natural resources?

What is your position on the Second Causeway? West Loop project?

How do you react to accusations of bribery and corruption in the county?

What is your position on granting future tax abatements for the two remaining proposed LNG companies locating here? Would that position be different if it were another company wanting to locate in Cameron County?

Age 58
Education Michigan State University - Juris Doctorate Texas Tech University - Bachelor A&S Schreiner University - Associates Degree
Experience Attorney with 27 years legal experience. Specializing in probate administration, estate planning, guardianships, elder law and related areas of practice. Previous experience as a state prosecutor and corporate senior trial attorney.
Military Service N/A
List of endorsers N/A
Twitter @talbot4probate
N/A - Not running for county administrative judge’s position.

I am a candidate for judge of the Statutory Probate Court of Hidalgo County. There are only 18 statutory probate courts out of approximately 1,200 state and county courts that preside over legal matters in the State of Texas. Each presiding statutory probate court judge has an average of 15 to 20 years specialized practice experience in probate administration and related areas. This is one of the most specialized courts in Texas which requires a candidate with the right experience to handle the difficult matters that come before this court.
EDUCATION - Most people have no idea what the probate court even does. My experience has been that even lawyers who handle probate related matters are often not fully aware of the complexities that relate to these types of cases. One of the most important tasks of the new judge will have is to get out and speak to different groups as well as utilizing technology in attempting to help people become more informed as to what a statutory probate court actually does. MAINTAINING STANDARDS -The current judge of the statutory probate court has served as judge for at least 23 years. Through his tenure as the probate judge he has gained a wealth of knowledge which has helped him effectively manage the probate court. Because of the difficulty understanding this area of law only an estate planning and probate attorney with 15 to 20 years experience will effectively be able to preside over this court.
This is not the type of issue that would normally be considered by a judge in a statutory probate court. The elected judge in the statutory probate court handles matters as it relates to probate administration, guardianships and mental health commitments. They also handle all issues related to these types of cases which can very often include probate litigation.
Personally, I would only be in favor of these projects if information is fully disclosed to the taxpayers and a referendum was scheduled to vote on whether to approve such a project. Very often it appears as though county governments attempt to push through projects without adequately securing funding. Eventually, unless federal or state grant money is utilized for such a project the cost involved will eventually result in taxpayers having to pay for the project. If the majority of taxpayers are in favor of funding projects that might result in higher taxes after voting on a referendum then no one should be able to object if it passes. Otherwise, I'm against new projects that would result in citizens having to pay higher taxes without being given the opportunity to vote by way of a referendum before project is undertaken.
As a former state prosecutor and believe very strongly in enforcement of the law. However, I've also been an attorney in Hidalgo County for quite a while and think very highly of the judges who preside in this county and the attorneys that I work with on a daily basis. I understand these concerns and support the implementation of disciplinary measures when needed. I have served on several disciplinary boards at the state and local level in an effort to ensure that rules are followed. As an attorney I believe it's important that we all observe the rule of law. On the other hand, an allegation is just that. We should all remember that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty and that everyone accused of a crime should not be judged until they've had their day in court.
Since I'm not a resident of Cameron County I'm unfamiliar with all the concerns that surround this issue. Consequently, I don't believe that I am qualified to effectively answer this question.