A senior Dallas County official wants to change the public’s attitude towards him: now it’s Judge Clay Lewis Jenkins.
Lewis Jenkins, who has been a district judge since 2011, wants his father’s last name included in his identity.
“If I had a choice, I would rather have him there,” he said in an interview.
Lewis Jenkins, 58, called himself “Clay Jenkins” when he ran for office, but is already using his father’s last name, Lewis, in legislation and on his county name plate. According to Dallas Morning News archives, Lewis Jenkins has included “Lewis” on his nameplate and agenda since taking office.
Lewis Jenkins’ father, Alva Clayburn Lewis, died of a heart attack in 1971 when Lewis Jenkins was 7 years old.
His mother, Joanne Jenkins, married lawyer Warwick H. Jenkins, who adopted Lewis Jenkins and his sister when he was a teenager, Lewis Jenkins said. He took the surname Jenkins at 19.
Lewis Jenkins said that when you run for political office, political consultants advise candidates to keep their names short so voters will remember. On the 2022 ballot, the judge ran as “Clay Jenkins”. News has called him that since his first campaign in 2009.
He said he didn’t mind if people continued to call him “Judge Jenkins”, “Clay” or “Mr. John”. Jenkins” when they encounter him. But given the opportunity, Lewis Jenkins will want to include “Lewis” in the name to remember his father and his family.
“My father died too young. He was an excellent father. I was raised by my grandmother, and she was a wonderful woman,” said Lewis Jenkins. “It’s just a way to honor my family.”