Travillion, Daugherty have right experience for Travis County
Editorial Board | Austin American Statesman
If history is any indication, when it comes to Travis County’s northeastern quadrant, the winner of the Democratic primary for Travis County commissioner is likely to win and hold office for quite some time.
The seat is open for the first time since 1998 after incumbent Democrat Ron Davis chose not to run. That leaves five candidates in the Democratic primary vying to replace Davis. In this race, we endorse city of Austin division manager and community activist Jeff Travillion. We believe he has the energy, experience and temperament to be an effective representative for a portion of the county that faces huge challenges that come with the county’s explosive growth, shifting demographics and a history of being systematically underserved.
We were also impressed with attorney James Nortey, who has staked much of his campaign platform on finding solutions to the county’s affordability crisis. Voters would do well to look at his campaign closely — but while Nortey is impressive in his own right, Travillion remains a notch above the rest.
As former president of the Austin Chapter of the NAACP, Travillion has strong Travis County roots and community connections. The Precinct 1 seat has been held by an African-American commissioner since 1980 — and the fact that all five candidates in this race are African-American is no accident. While the black population in the city of Austin has been decreasing, the numbers of black families in the county and in surrounding cities such as Pflugerville, where Travillion lives, have increased. It’s a dynamic driven in large part by affordability, which is also a significant factor in this race, as well as Travillion’s platform.
Travillion has worked on a variety of issues in official and unofficial capacities, ranging from county transportation projects to health care to juvenile justice. During his meeting with the editorial board, Travillion reiterated his pledge to work to remove tolls from Texas 130 as a way to improve mobility and likened his style and politics to those of former county judge and commissioner Sam Biscoe, who is known for his ability to build consensus across the county while representing the real needs of his district.
Despite the crowded nature of this race, the quality of the candidate pool is high. Perennial candidates Richard Franklin and Arthur Sampson, whom we endorsed for this seat in 2012, are more prepared and knowledgeable than ever. But in the end, Travillion is the clear pick this time around.
Voters should also beware: One of the five names on the ballot is likely ineligible to hold the office he seeks.Marc Hoskins, who has a 2000 federal felony conviction for cocaine distribution and has already been removed from the Galveston City Council because of his criminal record, is trying his luck in Travis County.
He explained to Statesman reporter Sean Collins Walsh that he’s hoping to receive a pardon for his conviction before the general election in November. Democrats interested in holding on to what should be a reliably Democratic seat should steer clear.
Former Pflugerville City Council member Pat McCord is running unopposed for the Republican nomination in the March 1 primary and will face the Democratic victor.
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