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Gomez looking for another term on Travis Commissioners Court

Monday, October 19, 2009 by Jacob Cottingham

Travis County Pct. 4 Commissioner Margaret Gomez made her re-election announcement a little earlier this time around. At her 28th Annual Fish Fry outside the iconic Rabbit’s Lounge last week, she a crowd of supporters and county office candidates, “I want to continue working for you another four years.”


At one point during the rally, Gomez, took the microphone and belted out a few traditional songs along with the Johnny Degollado band. But first, she talked about her reasons for wanting another term.


“It’s been kind of sad that I haven’t had an announcement about whether I was running for re-election or not,” Gomez said to those assembled. “And I was always told to wait until the filing deadline for you to make up your mind about who you were going to support, and the reason for that is, you never know who’s going to jump into the race by that deadline. So normally I have kind of waited… on contacting all of the voters,” she said.


The audience was a steady stream of political well-wishers. Those in attendance included State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, Judge David Crain, former county commissioner Karen Sonleitner, County Attorney David Escamilla, Judge Bob Perkins and more than half a dozen candidates for legal offices. 


Asked to comment on her opponent, former Austin City Council Member and ACC Board Member Raul Alvarez, Gomez focused on what she wants to accomplish, saying she can, “involve more people that want to do business with the county. We need to make sure that Historically Underutilized Businesses get more involved and that we match them with the kinds of jobs we have to put out for bids. With all the bond elections we have, there’s going to be plenty of work to be had.”


“In these hard economic times, we are able to help folks who need a hand, and this is the time to provide that hand to people,” she said. “It should not be of any surprise to anyone that I love what I do and I love public service and I love making things come true for people who want to become homeowners and first time homeowners,” citing her support for county help with down payment assistance.


The commissioner cited the county’s “tax relief right off the top. Every homeowner gets 20 percent homestead exemption. Every homeowner” She stressed the benefits for those 65 and over who receive an added $65,000 – as do disabled homeowners. “Whatever is left is what we are able to then budget social service agencies.”


One of Gomez’s top applause lines was when she trumpeted the county’s bond rating. “To be able to have for nine straight years the AAA rating from the rating agencies to Travis County, that is truly remarkable folks.” Gomez said interest rates of two percent, such as the county is able to obtain, help stretch tax dollars further, “to finish those projects you want on the ground,” such as buying parks and open space in rural areas.


Gomez also said projects like local roads have enabled people to get from homes to other opportunities for work and colleges.  “It’s not real sexy work I guess, but it’s a job that takes my attention full time.”


At the conclusion of her speech, Gomez spun her 14 years on the court as a positive. “Since I am one of two senior members on the commissioners court, I can’t hide, and I won’t hide behind anybody else. I will be there to make those tough decisions. And I don’t come to those tough decisions by jumping to conclusions or making assumptions or listening to what somebody else has to say about that.  I’m there to learn the facts, I think about what we’re going to do, and then I make that tough decision. So I want to continue working for you another four years.”


Finally, in a display of her community roots and youthful vigor, Gomez took the microphone and belted out a few traditional songs along with the Johnny Degollado band.

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