Wayne Mack: From Janitor to Inspiration (“Government should fear us. We should not fear the government.”)

Wayne Mack: From Janitor to Inspiration (“Government should fear us. We should not fear the government.”)

“GOVERNMENT SHOULD FEAR US. WE SHOULD NOT FEAR THE GOVERNMENT.”

Montgomery, February 25 – Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack exemplifies how a man from humble beginnings and background may contribute great service to his community as a Justice of the Peace and community leader. Whether one agrees with his politics or his affiliations, this kindhearted man is an inspiration.

Mack was born in Superior, Wisconsin in 1964. His parents still live there. Judge Mack remains very close to his 89-year-old father and his 76-year-old mother. His parents are hardworking people who don’t have a lot of formal education. His father held two jobs, one at a grain elevator and the other at a creosote plant, at the same time through most of his adult life. Mack lived at home until he went to college in Jackson, Mississippi, for a year. His father lost his job while Mack was in college, so he returned home to help work and support his family.

In September, 1985, Mack moved to Conroe to work in an unpaid internship position in the youth department of a local church. He arrived in Montgomery County with $500 and a 2-door Ford Escort and as much of his clothes and personal possessions that he could fit in the seats of the vehicle. Since he primarily performed those duties on weekends, he needed a job during the week to support himself. Mack applied for a maintenance position with Montgomery County and finally landed a job in early 1986 as a night-time custodian.  At that point, Mack’s father gave him some advice to be “the best darned janitor there ever was.” Mack strove to meet his father’s expectations. As a janitor, Mack did floor maintenance primarily in the Montgomery County Courthouse and then in the County administration building that had previously been the local hospital. Fairly quickly, Mack became the night-time floor crew leader.

He left Montgomery County to work full-time on the staff of a church located outside of Texas in a place often referred to as “Louisiana.” Mack was gone from 1989 to 1992 but returned when County Maintenance Director David Garner offered him a foreman position.

Mack worked as a janitor, custodial crew leader, and foreman until 1995. He told The Golden Hammer that being a janitor back in that time period in Montgomery County was very different from what it is today. The Courthouse was not locked, even though Mack worked there at night. He witnessed some terrible things happen in and around the building. During that time period, the third floor was the Tri County Mental Health Department where he witnessed a lot of sad situations involving people whom their families had “discarded.”

Mack stressed that, while he realized he was a janitor, he heeded his father’s words and acted as a custodial professional. In 1995, the County split the Building Maintenance Department into two different departments. The Building Maintenance Department focused solely on construction and repairs, while the Custodial Maintenance Department did cleaning and maintenance of all County facilities.

Mack became the first Director of Montgomery County’s Custodial Maintenance Department. His first act as the Director was to purchase a banner that he hung in the Department’s warehouse that said, “We’re Not Just Janitors, We’re Professionals.” Mack sought to change the culture of his Department so that the employees would feel they were part of a business operation. Mack served in that position for 19 years.

While Mack was the Custodial Maintenance Director, he found law enforcement as a hobby he enjoyed. Mack graduated from the Police Academy and worked as a reserve Deputy Constable for four years and as a reserve police officer in the Conroe Police Department for 10 years.

In 2000, Dr. Walter Wilkerson, Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman, asked Mack to become the Precinct Chair of Republican Precinct 44, succeeding Judy Strawn. Precinct 44, where Mack still lives, is the southeast corner of the north part of Conroe near Highway 75 and League Line Road. Mack remained the Precinct 44 Chair until 2014. At first, Mack told The Golden Hammer that he was very uncomfortable with the idea of serving as a Republican Precinct Chair, because he had tried to stay away from politics in his work as a County Department head and as a police officer. Nevertheless, Mack took on many projects, such as recycling and asbestos removal, that many other County leaders did not want to do.

Mack has been a long time member of the Conroe Noon Lions Club. He has 18-and-a-half years of “perfect attendance” (members have ways of making up for meetings they miss while still maintaining that record). Many of his friends in the Lions have encouraged Mack to run for public office for a long time.

In the autumn of 2008, Judge Mack’s life seemed particularly good. He was engaged to the love of his life, Mindy Nuber. He loved his job and living in Montgomery County. He went to the doctor for a kidney stone, as Judge Mack has suffered with kidney stone problems most of his life. The doctor observed that his lymph nodes seemed enlarged. He recounts that, on the day that Barack Obama was elected in November 2008, Mack was working as an election judge and found out he needed to schedule a biopsy.

On December 17, 2008, his physician told him that he suffered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, that a remission was unlikely, and that the prognosis did not look good. Mack responded to his doctor “I will fight until I hear from Dr. Jesus.” Mack believes that his feeling came from his faith in God. Mack received two courses of chemotherapy in a clinical trial at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center with a drug named Zevalin. Mack responded extremely well to the treatment. in August, 2013, Mack’s MDACC physicians declared him “cured,” “cancer-free,” and in remission. Mack changed his lifestyle, began to work out, and avoided processed foods. He explains that “I took a holistic view different from western medicine that treats the symptoms but not necessarily the disease.”

Mindy Nuber Mack told him that she wanted to go forward with their wedding plans in 2008 despite the cancer diagnosis. They got married while Mack was going through chemotherapy. Mack has two children, Austin, 21, who was recently medically discharged from the United States Army, and Amber, 26, whose husband in a Petty Officer in the United States Navy. Mindy Nuber Mack has been a communications officer with the Conroe Police Department for 13 years where Mack met her.

In 2014, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Lanny Moriarty suffered from some serious health problems. He and many friends encouraged Mack to run for Moriarty’s position. Mack had decided a few years earlier that he wanted to be a Justice of the Peace, because the job offered so many opportunities to help people.

Mack won the 2014 Republican Primary Election without a runoff. Moriarty retired immediately after the election. Mack was sworn in on May 1, 2014, 1031 days ago (as Mack reminded The Golden Hammer!).

Mack’s campaign consultant was the renowned strategist and media expert Marc Davenport. Davenport, who is married to County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport, is no stranger to controversy. There are many people in Montgomery County who view him as a shadowy and possibly even sinister figure. Mack strongly disagrees. He characterizes Davenport as “a good man and good friend. He’s somebody who will be there both in the good times and the bad times. He has a lot of integrity, is very principled about which candidates he’ll back, and stays with you when he believes in you.” Mack explained that Davenport interviewed Mack for 6 hours in their first meeting and “I [Mack] wasn’t sure if I was worthy to be his client.”

Political and media consultant Marc Davenport (right) with Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson (left), one of Davenport’s clients.

Mack explains that he loves his job as a Justice of the Peace. “The perspective I have is to live every day like you’re dying,” said Mack. “I don’t take public trust for granted. As a JP, you’re on the front line. The Justice Court system, as retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson has said, is the ‘pack mule’ for the rest of the system of justice. We can redirect behavior and help people.”

Mack has implemented many changes in the Precinct 1 Justice Court and its operations. The Court operates five days per week. He works hard to maintain a friendly and helpful staff who enjoy their jobs. Mack believes that the “judicial branch of government is here to protect citizens from the other two branches.” He goes out into the community to work to prevent children from ever having to come into his Court. Mack said he loves helping people, especially juveniles, by the hundreds. Mack told The Golden Hammer that one of his favorite cases involves a young man whose parents appeared in court before Judge Mack with him and announced “he is trash and we don’t want him for a son any more.” The parents complained that their son was always disobedient and wanted to do nothing but eat. The 16-year-old boy was crying uncontrollably in the Courtroom. Mack worked with Montgomery County Youth Services to help the child finish the school year and then move in with his grandparents. Recently, he contacted Mack to invite the judge to attend his graduation from basic training in the the Army.

Mack believes that a lot of juvenile issues arise because of inattentive parents or guardians. “Often juvenile criminal behavior is an outcry,” he explained.

Mack has become well known for his spiritual beliefs and his open prayer in the Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Courtroom. Mack said, “Our Founding Fathers taught us to acknowledge that our freedoms and liberties came from our Creator or else our democracy would implode. During the Revolutionary War era, the British often referred to American preachers as black-robed militia because they preached freedom and representative governance. That’s why we have the freedoms we have. There clearly needs to be separation of the state from the church, but not the other way around, if you understand the history of our democracy.”

At the same time, Mack notes that he doesn’t want anyone “to feel forced to pray. I give people the opportunity to leave the courtroom before the prayer. Nevertheless, prayer solemnizes the event and sets the tone to see justice performed.” His experience with prayer in the courtroom has almost been entirely positive. Mack recounted that once a Jewish lawyer from Houston visited the Justice Court for a case and complimented the Christian prayer at the beginning of the proceedings for the “spirit of reconciliation” Judge Mack had set.

The Golden Hammer asked Mack where he believes America is now in 2017. He answered, “We have the opportunity to take back our liberties and freedoms and expel the government from our lives. Government should fear us. We should not fear the government. Faith, family, and freedom are the principles upon which our nation was founded. We must seize this moment. Citizens cannot be apathetic in voting. People need to feel like their vote matters. They need to get back to electing servant leaders.”

Mack concluded, “People have got to stop treating elections like American Idol where we worry about who has the best song and the best dance.”

“Government should fear us. We should not fear the government.”

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