RR Leader/Austin American-Statesman Coverage


First candidate announces for Williamson County justice of peace race

Katherine Kerr Kubatzky, a longtime local volunteer, journalist and community activist, has announced her candidacy for Williamson County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace.

Kubatzky is the first county government candidate to announce for 2018. She will run as a Democrat when the filing period starts Nov. 11, and has designated former Georgetown City Councilwoman Patricia Eason as her campaign treasurer.

“I want to be Justice of the Peace because I see it as a hands-on opportunity, as opposed to high-level policy making,” Kubatzky, said. “My background has put me in contact with people in crisis.

Kubatzky, 59, and her husband, Tim, live northeast of Georgetown.

The couple operate Polaris Nonprofit Solutions, serving as consultants for nonprofit organizations. Their clients include Faith in Action Caregivers (formerly known as Drive a Senior) and the Ride On Center for Kids, which provides equine therapy for children and adults — including military veterans — with physical, cognitive or emotional disabilities.

Precinct 3 includes portions of the Teravista subdivision in Round Rock and everything north of FM 1431, stretching north to Georgetown, Jonah, Weir, Walburg, Florence and Andice.

Republican Bill Gravell was elected Precinct 3 justice of the peace in 2014 and is nearing the end of his first term. Kubatzky said she will seek the office regardless of whether Gravell runs for county judge — as has been rumored — upon the retirement of County Judge Dan Gattis.

Justice of the Peace courts hear Class C misdemeanor criminal cases, which are punishable by fines, though offenders can be jailed if they do not pay their court-ordered fines.

Justice court judges also hear juvenile matters – including truancy charges – plus evictions and civil matters where less than $10,000 is in dispute. They also perform weddings and order autopsies.

Kubatzky said she is proud to be a Democrat and has been inspired by Terry Cook’s election to the Commissioners Court.

“The party’s values align with my own values,” Kubatzky said. “I apply my own values to how people should be treated.

“I have a lot of Republican friends who say they will support me,” she added.

Katherine and Tim Kubatzky are the parents of three adult sons, all of them Georgetown High School graduates. She said all three boys were active in Boy Scouts – where she served as an adult volunteer – earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

The family came to Williamson County in 1995, when Tim Kubatzky accepted a job at Southwestern University in Georgetown. She is an elder at First Presbyterian Church in Georgetown.

Kubatzky writes a column focusing on nonprofits for the Williamson County Sun newspaper. She is also active in Courageous Conversations, a Georgetown group promoting racial dialogue.

Additionally, Kubatzky is a Court Appointed Special Advocates of Williamson County volunteer. CASA volunteers are appointed to advocate for children in court, usually in abuse or neglect cases.

An Amarillo native, Kubatzky is the eldest of Robert and Judith Kerr’s two daughters. Her father was the third-generation owner of an office- and school-supply business, Kerr Paper Company.

Her mother and grandmother were each lifestyle-page editors for the Amarillo Globe-News.

Kubatzky graduated from Tascosa High School, northwest of Amarillo, in 1976. She attended Texas Tech University for one year then transferred to the University of Missouri, where she and her future husband each worked on the student newspaper. She graduated in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Kubatzky has worked as a reporter for the Wichita Falls Record, the Brazosport Facts and the Houston Post. She covered civil and criminal trials, as well as city councils, schools boards and county commissioners.

“I think this is the one thing that helped me understand the JP court … people in crisis, people at their best and worst, on their best and worst days,” she said.

“The JP court, that’s where juvenile cases come in. That’s where truancy cases come in. We need to do something about the juvenile-to-prison pipeline.”

If elected, Kubatzky said she would like to expand justice of the peace court hours to include one night and one Saturday per month.

Local races for 2018

The following offices, and the elected officials who currently hold them, will be among races on Williamson County ballots in 2018.

• U.S. Senator (John Cornyn)

• Governor (Greg Abbott)

• Lieutenant Governor (Dan Patrick)

• Texas Attorney General (Ken Paxton)

• District 31 U.S. Rep. (John Carter)

• District 5 State Senator (Charles Schwertner)

• District 20 State Rep. (Terry Wilson)

• District 52 State Rep. (Larry Gonzales)

• District 136 State Rep. (Tony Dale)

• 277th District Court Judge (Stacey Mathews)

• 368th District Court Judge (Rick Kennon)

• County Judge (Dan Gattis)

• Pct. 2 Commissioner (Cynthia Long)

• Pct. 4 Commissioner (Larry Madsen)

• Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace (Dain Johnson)

• Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace (Edna Staudt)

• Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace (Judy Hobbs)

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