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Hays County Democrats in a grudge match to lead commissioners court
Monday, February 1, 2010 by John Davidson
To hear Hays County Judge Liz Sumter and Pct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton, both Democrats, talk about the challenges facing Hays County and what should be done about them, you’d think they were running mates—not opponents running against each other for county judge in the March Democratic primary.
Both candidates emphasize the need to plan for growth by building infrastructure; both emphasize the need to do so in a way that protects the county’s natural resources; both talk about fiscal responsibility during tough economic times.
But you wouldn’t know it to hear them talk about each other.
“That is the most bizarre comment I have heard in three years,”
Barton, a county commissioner since 2007, who also served from 1992 to 1998, doesn’t think so.
“I don’t think she has been proactive and I don’t think she has been effective in planning for infrastructure,” Barton said. “And she has not been able to build up trust and a coalition among regional leaders and city leaders that would create a framework for community consensus and a really aggressive approach to planning the future of
“Actually we’ve taken a very aggressive approach,”
“I would venture to say that in the last three years we have probably done more than in the eight years before that, in terms of getting infrastructure into this county that has been badly needed for a number of years,”
Barton’s base is in the Kyle-Buda area, where his family has deep roots (his father, Bob Barton, is a former state representative who has remained actively involved in
In recent years the county has been grappling with unprecedented growth and the pressing need for infrastructure to support it. In November 2008,
Both candidates cite these projects as evidence they are committed to a proactive approach to managing growth.
In reality, both candidates don’t diverge much on policy. But there is a difference in style and how each one approaches process, according to political analyst David Butts. One on hand, the perception among Hays County Democrats supporting Barton is that
On the other hand,
Barton, who has complained of a lack of transparency in
“This office is very open and transparent to all citizens,”
Republican candidates vying to take on the winner of this race in November are Bert Cobb and Peggy Jones.
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