Orange County Judge Stephen Brint Carlton began his first term of elected office on January 1, 2015. As County Judge, he presides over the five-member Commissioners' Court and is the county's Emergency Management Director for the county's 82,000 residents. Judge Carlton also has jurisdictional authority over class A and B adult misdemeanors, felony and misdemeanor juvenile offenses, probate cases, mental health determinations, and certain civil cases. Additionally, he helps establish the county's tax rates on property valued at over $5 billion, has responsibility for the creation and execution of the county's $46 million budget as the county's Chief Budget Officer, and is heavily involved in the overall economic development of the county. Judge Carlton works closely with community and business leaders as well as local, state, and federal officials. Judge Carlton previously served the county as an assistant district attorney from June 2013 until he took office. Prior to that, he was in the private practice of law with his father.
There are many additional responsibilities that come with being County Judge. Judge Carlton currently serves as a member of the Texas Association of Counties Core Legislative Group, the Orange County Juvenile Board, the Gulf Coast Community Protections and Recovery District, Inc. Board, the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission Board, the Orange County Local Emergency Planning Committee, the Baptist Orange Hospital Advisory Board, the H.H. and Edna Houseman Charitable Trust, the Orange County Economic Development Corporation Board, the United Way of Orange County Board, and as a Chief Elected Official of the Workforce Solutions of Southeast Texas. He is also a current member of the State Bar of Texas, the Orange County Bar Association, the Texas County Judges' and Commissioners' Association, and the South Texas County Commissioners' Association. On May 18, 2015, the Orange Leader presented Judge Carlton with the Readers' Choice Award for Best New Orange County Elected Official. He was also selected in 2015 by Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School as a Distinguished Graduate and added to their Military Wall of Honor.
Judge Carlton also serves the nation as a Major in the US Air Force Reserve. His military career began in December 2005 when he was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the US Air Force's Medical Service Corps. He was assigned to the 17th Medical Support Squadron at Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, Texas until the end of his active duty commitment in October 2009. Judge Carlton, then a Captain, entered the USAF Reserve and was assigned to the 433d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas until November 2013. He then was assigned to his current duty station at the Joint Enabling Capabilities Command at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. He was promoted to Major in July 2014. He has been recognized many times for exemplary performance during his military career. He has received four Air Force Commendation Medals, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, two Air Force Achievement Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and numerous other military decorations. His many military awards include the 2008 Air Force Medical Service Group Practice Manager of the Year Award, the 2011 433d Airlift Wing Company Grade Officer of the Year Award, the 2007 and 2008 17th Medical Group Company Grade Officer of the Year Awards, and the 2007 and 2008 17th Medical Group Honor Guard Member of the Year Awards. Judge Carlton was a member of various Base Honor Guards and participated in over 100 ceremonial details, including over 50 military funerals. He has also deployed three times: once to Kuwait for six months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, once to Italy for seven weeks in support of Operation United Assistance, and twice to Korea for three weeks each time for Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian.
Judge Carlton has an extensive civilian and military educational history. He was an honor graduate from Little Cypress - Mauriceville High School in Orange in 2000. Judge Carlton earned, in only three years, his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2003. He then went on to earn a Master of Health Administration from the University of Florida at Gainesville in April 2005. He later earned, in only two and a half years, his Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees from St. Mary's University in San Antonio in December 2011. Judge Carlton passed the February 2012 Texas Bar Exam and received his law license in May 2012. He completed the January 2014 Texas District and County Attorneys' Association's Prosecutor Course, the January 2015 Texas Association of Counties' New County Judge and Commissioners' Course, the February 2015 Texas Association of Counties' Judicial Seminar, and the May 2015 Texas Association of Counties' County Judge Probate School. Judge Carlton completed his initial Emergency Management training in February 2015. He is also a graduate of numerous USAF educational courses including Commissioned Officer Training, the Health Service Administration School, the Air and Space Basic Course, and Squadron Officer School. He is currently enrolled in the USAF Air Command and Staff College working on his third master degree.
Judge Carlton married his wife, Claire, in April 2012 and their daughter, Mayve, was born in May 2014. He is the son of Steve and Dale Carlton, brother of Dr. Eryn Tays, son-in-law to Chris and Janet Parker, brother-in-law of Frankie Tays and Justin Parker, and the proud uncle of two nephews and three nieces. Judge Carlton and his family are avid travelers. He has visited 38 states and 53 countries, including studying law and business abroad in China and Austria.