Marilyn Tennissen Nov. 7, 2013, 3:34pm

Twenty-four hours after Judge Bob Wortham announced he was running for Jefferson County District Attorney, local attorney Kent Walston announced he was seeking Wortham’s seat on the bench of the 58th District Court.

Walston announced his candidacy at a press conference Thursday on the steps of the Jefferson County Courthouse, surrounded by a large crowd of supporters.

He currently serves as the Municipal Court Judge for the city of Nederland and is a partner in the Nederland law firm of Branick, Walston and Devenzio.

“I understand what it takes to be a judge,” Walston said. “I know it takes hard work, tenacity, fairness and following the law.”

A native of Port Neches, Walston, 53, said he has experience in every court in Jefferson County.

He has served as an Assistant District Attorney for Jefferson County and currently has a successful private practice, handling complex civil litigation, family law and criminal defense.  He also worked as an Associate Judge for mental hearings in Jefferson County.

The attorney said he didn’t start law school until he was 35 years old.  After graduating from Port Neches-Groves High School in 1979, he went into the U.S. Navy and served four years.

His first job was as a process operator at BF Goodrich and he was a member of the local OCAW union.

“I came from a blue-collar family,” Walston said. “From my family I learned the value of hard work, leadership and setting goals.”

Walston became a police officer for the Port Arthur Police Department.  Mark Blanton, Walston’s former supervisor and currently chief of PAPD, was among supporters Thursday and had positive words about Walston.

“He was one of the best I ever had,” Blanton said. “If Kent does half as well as a judge as he did as a cop then he will do great.”

While working full time, Walston attended Lamar University at night, earning a bachelor’s degree. He then went to Baylor University School of Law for a law degree.

Walston said he believes in the importance of giving back to the community, and volunteers regularly for organizations such as CASA of Southeast Texas, IEA (Inspire, Encourage, Achieve), Habitat for Humanity and the Hughen School for Handicapped Children.  He and his wife, Davilyn, have five daughters.

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