"I have been pleased to find that there's a job that I love even more than the old job of being a judge, and that's
that of being County Commissioner Precinct 4."
Jack Cagle is a big man with an even bigger smile and when he says he loves his new job, it's easy to believe he really means it. Appointed to fill the seat vacated by longtime commissioner Jerry Eversole, Cagle says his decade on the bench as a civil courts judge has helped, but it's still a big change.
"It is a very different mindset. Instead of worrying about who did what, it's my job to keep it from happening, to keep the broken things from occurring. So it requires a little extra vision, a little extra diligence and a shift in terms of, instead of being a repair man as it were, my job is to be a builder."
Precinct 4 covers a huge area, with 1.2 million residents and hundreds of miles of roads and bridges, mostly in the northern part of Harris County.
"It's one thing to, from a distance say, that's a big job and that's a lot of people. It's another thing to actually be in the midst of that boat trying to row and be in the big sea with the high swells. I'm still amazed at all of the elements that come into play of being a good commissioner."
Although he says their methods are a lot different, Cagle is quick to acknowledge the work of his predecessor, who
was a popular figure for two decades. Eversole resigned as part of a deal with the government over corruption
charges. Cagle says he's a big supporter of ethics reform at the county level.
"I think that in this area, that I agree with the desire of County Judge Ed Emmett and that is that we should conduct ourselves in such a way that we not only are being ethical but we also give the perception that we are ethical, which is 9/10's of the battle."
Cagle still has to run for the permanent job in Precinct Four. He'll face two opponents in the Republican primary, likely in April.
"I was ready the day that I was appointed to have a contested primary and to have a contested general election. I just came out of an election as a judge and had, if I was going for comfort, four years of a guaranteed contract at that time. Why would I give it up to come into this job? Well, because I love it."
Cagle says Precinct Four is poised for big growth over the next few years, with projects in place that could create more than 30,000 new jobs for the area.