Glass ceilings were shattered on Monday, Jan. 4, as Liberty County swore in its first female district attorney – Jennifer Bergman Harkness – and first female constable – Tammy Bishop.
“Today is not just an important day. This is a historic day,” said 253rd State District Judge Chap Cain. “Guess how many female district attorneys we have had in the last 175 years. Zero. Today is history, ladies and gentlemen … It’s history that is long, long, long overdue.”
Cain, who administered the oath for the new district attorney during a ceremony in the 75th State District Courtroom in Liberty, credited Bergman Harkness for her attitude in dealing with people, which he believes helped lead to her victory.
“Jennifer, I just want to say a couple of things. The reason, in my opinion, that you got elected is because of the way you treat people. I cannot tell you how important a compliment that is because when you deal with Jennifer, she says, ‘What can I do to help?’ That’s the attitude you get from her,” he said.
He quoted a passage from Philippians 2:3, which says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
“That’s why she got elected. That’s why Tammy [Bishop] got elected and it’s why [County Court at Law No. 2 Judge] Wes [Hinch] got elected,” Cain said.
After taking her oath, the new DA explained the history of the Bible she held, which belonged to her maternal side of the family. It was used by her mother’s parents, who both served as Pct. 3 commissioners for Liberty County.
“I know they would be so happy and they are looking down and watching today. I want to thank Lameka Trahan. She’s not with us today but girl, we did it,” said Bergman Harkness, referring to her friend and fellow attorney who died in 2016 at the age of 40 after a bout with cancer.
“I look forward to serving the citizens of Liberty County. I have always had a servant’s heart and I will continue to do that. I am blessed to call Liberty County my home and I look forward to doing everything I can to make you proud,” she said.
Monday’s ceremony, which was officiated by County Judge Jay Knight and organized with the help of Elections Administrator Klint Bush, saw the swearing in of County Court at Law No. 2 Judge Wes Hinch, Pct. 1 Commissioner Bruce Karbowski, Pct. 1 Constable Tammy Bishop, Pct. 3 Constable Mark “Maddog” Davison, Pct. 4 Constable Robby Thornton, Pct. 5 Constable David Hunter, Pct. 6 Constable Zack Harkness and Tax Assessor-Collector Richard “Ricky” Brown. Prior to Monday, several other newly elected and reelected candidates took their oaths, including Sheriff Bobby Rader, County Attorney Matthew Poston, Pct. 3 Commissioner David Whitmire and Pct. 2 Constable Les Hulsey.