County Judge-elect Joel Baker Responds To Judge Dempsey's Comments

KLTV 7 News spoke with Smith County Judge-elect Joel Baker to get his reaction on Judge Becky Dempsey's comments.  Judge Dempsey told KLTV 7 News earlier, she is disappointed in Baker's decision to decline his nomination to Smith County's newly-formed jail project committee.

Baker addressed Judge Dempsey's remark that declining the post is a "slap in the face" to commissioners court.  "I've never intended any disrespect toward the court. I've said for months I am always willing to assist in any way I can," he said.  "It was a difficult decision.   I will assist in any way I can but I have to devote my time to my law practice, my current job, until I take office. And I didn't think it was fair for me to become a member of the committee and serve on the committee when I know I would not give it the full attention that it deserves," said Baker.

Baker says he plans to attend as many meetings as he can. The Facilities Planning Committee is set to hold its first meeting tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the Smith County Courthouse Annex. Baker says he plans to be there. He is set to take office January 1st, 2007 but says if the position were to be vacated before then, he would be more than willing to step into the post.

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.