I, Vance Hinds, am honored to announce my candidacy for Judge of the newly created Ellis County Court of Law No. 3. My roots run deep in Ellis County. My family has lived in Ellis County since the 1800s. Both parents were born in Ellis County, and both graduated from Italy High School. I, as well as all of my kids, my nieces, and my nephew attended Waxahachie schools, first through twelfth grades. Ellis County is my home, and it would be a privilege to serve this community as the first Judge of this new court.
I obtained my undergraduate degree from Austin College in philosophy. I graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1993 in the top fifteen percent. I began my legal career with my father and brother. After my father’s death, I opened a solo practice in downtown Waxahachie next to the Texas Theater, home of my first job.
For thirteen years, I handled all types of law, from criminal to family, to civil and social security. Criminal law made up the majority of my practice. I provided criminal defense for those with or without the ability to pay. I feel that part of the obligation of being an attorney involves providing services for the less fortunate. In 2012, after suffering health and financial issues, I shut down my practice and took a job at the Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office, prosecuting tickets at the justice courts. It was time for me to start over.
For the last seven years, I worked my way up through the hierarchy of the DA’s office. I started in the justice and misdemeanor courts of Ellis County and then moved to the civil division. Currently, I advise the commissioners’ court, department heads, elected officials, and also review the contracts for the county. I have intimate knowledge of all aspects of the new court. I am uniquely qualified for this bench.
In July of 2012, while walking into the courthouse, I had to stop and rest four times before arriving at the courtroom. After the hearing, I went to my family doctor, who made a nurse walk me across the street and admit me into the ICU. The initial diagnosis was a pulmonary embolism. They didn’t think I was going to make it out of the hospital. My brother asked me if my affairs were in order. Friends and relatives came to see me that I haven’t seen in years. I quit smoking cigars and drinking alcohol that day. I walked out of the hospital with two goals in mind: get all my kids to eighteen years of age and get a pension for my wife. I knew my days here on earth were numbered. I was forty-eight and weighed over 470 pounds. I closed down my practice, took all of the related financial hits, and started prosecuting tickets for the county.
Fast forward to November of 2017, all of my kids graduated high school, and I am five years toward pension qualification for my wife, but still 470 pounds. It was time to make a change once again. I posted myself weighing in on social media wearing nothing but my underwear. I knew if I genuinely wanted to make a change, I needed to do it publicly. I committed to two principles: say yes and post everything online. Something magical happened; my weight loss journey went viral. Over the next year, I lost 198 pounds. Celebrities got involved, including Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) and Bert Kreischer. A video of my first-year weight loss has over 48 million views. My life changed from extremely sedentary to active. This past year I completed twelve triathlons, a 2.4-mile
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open water swim, and four long bike rides, including the Hotter’N Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls. I stayed committed to my principles of saying yes and posting everything online. These two principles changed my life and inspired millions of people around the world.
One thing that I learned from this journey is that I genuinely love helping others. Serving Ellis County as the first Judge of the newly created CCL No. 3, would be a great honor and a privilege.