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Brewster County Commissioner Cookie Stone Resigns

Brewster County Pct. 1 Commissioner Asa "Cookie" Stone

As first reported by the Big Bend Gazette, longtime Brewster County Commissioner Asa "Cookie" Stone (Precinct 1) has announced his resignation, effective October 31st.

Stone is the second commissioner to resign this year. Precinct 2 Commissioner Tom Williams resigned in July, citing health reasons.

The news came at a county commissioner's meeting in Alpine on Tuesday. Stone has served on the commissioner's court for 20 consecutive years, having first been elected to office in November of 1994.

We spoke to Stone this morning about his resignation.

"20 years is enough," Stone says, "it was just time to go." He did not offer any other motives for stepping down this year.

Stone says his biggest accomplishments over the past two decades have involved infrastructure and road improvements made throughout the county.

He notes the construction of the county jail in 1995, along with the launch of the Study Butte Community Center, an EMS building in Marathon, and a new EMS building in Alpine that serves as the control center for disaster operations throughout the county, among other projects.

Stone declined to offer an endorsement in the race for Brewster County Judge between Republican Jerry Johnson and Democrat Eleazar Cano, but did say he hopes the incoming judge will encourage cooperation in the court.

"It takes teamwork to make all this stuff work," he says. "We had a good team leader with Judge Val Beard."

KRTS will broadcast a live debate between the candidates for Brewster County Judge on Thursday, October 15th at 10 am.

Stone also declined to comment on the recent shakeups at the City of Alpine, including a recent F.B.I. investigation into financial mismanagement by city employees. (At an October meeting, city officials declined to say explicitly whether that investigation has concluded, but did decline to talk about the issue in open forum.)

"I'm not going to elaborate on any of the controversies," Stone says. "It's just stuff where people have to work it out and get along."

Ricky Chavez, the city's former finance director, pleaded guilty to theft charges in March. Alpine City Councilor Michael Castelli later resigned in June, saying he could no longer afford the "personal sacrifices" the job required.

City Manager Erik Zimmer announced his resignation in mid-July, but reversed his decision a week later. The city approved his request to stay on board amid an emotional council meeting where Zimmer received a standing ovation and words of encouragement from Mayor Avinash Rangra.

Stone offered high praise for Brewster County's roads and bridges department, saying the crew is in his opinion, the best in the state.

"Those boys can do anything," he says.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.