Get to know Republican candidate for Precinct 2 Commissioner Cary Erickson

Published 12:32 am Friday, May 27, 2022

Following a runoff election Tuesday, voters have selected the Republican candidate for Jefferson County Commissioner Precinct 2.

Cary Erickson, who is currently the director of human resources and risk management for Jefferson County, took 53 percent of the vote in a close race against Alex Rupp, director for the Jack Brooks Regional Airport.

“This particular election was unique in that you had two great people running for the same position, and there was no bad choice however it went,” said Commissioner Darrell Bush, who was appointed to the Precinct 2 seat to fill an unexpired term but did not seek election. “With Alex’s tenure at the airport, he’s got a great working knowledge and, of course, with Cary’s tenure with the county, he’s got great working knowledge here.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Erickson has 35 years of public service, 29 years of which have been spent with the county.

But his journey started in Port Arthur.

“I base a lot of my success on the fact that I went to a small, parochial Lutheran school down on Procter Street,” he said. “Trinity Lutheran Church, which unfortunately is no longer in existence, but they had a school there. I owe a lot of my success to the wonderful teachers and the curriculum they had at that school.”

He would later graduate in the top 10 of his class at Thomas Jefferson High School after earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

“That along with my parents, my early schooling and being based in the church I think gives you a lot of guidance on how you’re supposed to live your life and what work ethic is and how you get ahead by working very, very hard,” he said.

The work ethic began long before he finished high school.

“During all that time, I started cutting grass with my dad and delivering The Port Arthur News,” Erickson said. “We had three paper routes at one time, and that was back when you delivered door to door. And it delivered my work ethic, taught me how to organize my time, and how to really get things done.”

Erickson studied business at Lamar University and graduated in 1985 while working at Sears — a job he held for 10 years. Simultaneously he began working for the City of Beaumont, but would return to Sears to work in the evening.

“That’s what I needed to do to support my family,” he said. “My time at the City of Beaumont was great. I learned a lot there, started my HR career, and was also the civil service director there. I did a lot of work with police officers and firefighters in their hiring process. It gave me a lot of insight into what command and leadership entails, especially in police and fire organizations but organizations in general.”

In 1993, Erickson became the first HR director for Jefferson County.

“Personally I’m very proud of the success and everything HR and this management department for Jefferson County has accomplished,” he said. “We’ve taken us from a paper written system to a modern system with policies and procedures.”

If he wins the November election against Democratic opponent Julia Rodriguez, Erickson will have to leave his position. But the Commissioners Court will select his replacement.

“Cary is going to do a great job, I have no doubt,” said Bush. “He’s been with the county so long, he knows how county government works.”