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Margaret Gomez wins South Austin Democrats endorsement

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 by Austin Monitor

South Austin Democrats, the first of the city’s big Democratic clubs to weigh in on the upcoming elections, voted last night to endorse incumbent Commissioner Margaret Gomez over challenger Raul Alvarez in the Precinct 4 race. Amy Everhart, the organization’s treasurer, told In Fact Daily that the race between Gomez and Alvarez was the closest of the six contests considered last night.

 

Gomez highlighted her decades of work in Pct. 4, where she was among the first wave of Latino and female civic leaders. She told those assembled she was a product of Austin, where she had conducted all of her schooling, from grade school through college. She stressed the importance public safety held for her and noted the work she’s done to reduce high school dropout rates by increasing tutorial efforts for suspended youths and the work the county has done in providing mental health services. Gomez burnished her Democratic credentials by telling of her efforts in South Texas to elect Rep. Lloyd Doggett.

 

Alvarez, a former city council member and current member of the Austin Community College Board of Trustees, said the “community was at a crossroads” and said the challenge before Pct. 4 was strengthening the local economy. He advocated for more emphasis on environmental sustainability and better coordination with the city in luring businesses to the area. When prompted by a questioner what differences he may have with Gomez, Alvarez pointed to their shared year on the Cap Metro board, during which time he claimed to be more in favor of labor and affordable housing. Pledging to increase the number of youth and advisory committees in county government as well as focus attention on the financially troubled Travis County Housing Authority, Alvarez vowed to “chart a new course to a prosperous time.”

 

All of the other endorsements involved candidates for various district court seats.

 

In the 299th District Court contest, Assistant District Attorney Karen Sage beat Mindy Montford, a former ADA who ran against Rosemary Lehmberg in 2008 to replace then District Attorney Ronnie Earle. Other candidates in the Democratic primary are Eve Schatelowitz Alcantar and Leonard Martinez.

 

Police Monitor Cliff Brown won the SAD endorsement over attorney Bill Gammon to replace retiring 147th District Court Judge Wilford Flowers, and Judge David Crain beat out attorney Keith Laureman for the endorsement in the 331st District Court race. Incumbent Judge Bob Perkins is retiring from that post.

 

Attorney Amy Clark Meachum beat 3rd Court of Appeals Judge Jan Patterson to win the group’s endorsement for the 201st District Court seat, which is open since Judge Suzanne Covington announced her retirement. There is a long post on the Burnt Orange Report Web site explaining why die-hard Democrats like Senator Kirk Watson, Representatives Eddie Rodriguez and Mark Strama, and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez are opposing Patterson. The short version is Patterson asked Governor Rick Perry to appoint her to another district court seat after the death of incumbent Judge Scott Ozmun. According to The Austin Chronicle, Senator Watson blocked that appointment because it would have allowed Perry to appoint a Republican to the more important court of appeals seat.

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