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Ann Howard getting ready for new job

Friday, November 6, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Ann Howard, Travis County Commissioner-elect for Precinct 3, was getting to work Thursday, learning more about the job she will officially begin in January. Howard said commissioners will canvass the vote from Tuesday’s election in the next week to 10 days, making her election official. However, she will not take a seat on the court until January.

Howard, a Democrat who defeated Republican Becky Bray with nearly 57 percent of the vote, will take over the seat currently held by Republican Gerald Daugherty. The Precinct 3 seat was the very last one held by a Republican in Travis County. Daugherty was elected in 2002 and 2004, lost the seat in 2008 and made a comeback in 2012. He was reelected in 2016, but evidently he saw the blue wave coming and decided to retire.

When she spoke with the Austin Monitor, Howard said she was going to be meeting with county staff to get the lay of the land for her new job. She was anticipating talking to Daugherty about his projects and problems he was hearing about from constituents.

Howard said some of those constituents had already contacted her with their concerns. She received a letter from Precinct 3 constituents who were concerned about the widening of a road and the impact it might have on the environment and the neighborhood. She also received some complaints about clearing of the land from concerned neighbors.

In addition, Howard said some constituents had asked her to take action on the West Travis County Public Utility Agency, which has changed some environmental regulations, much to the consternation of nearby neighbors. It is not clear what authority commissioners might have to intervene in the agency’s business.

Howard said she wants to gather information before taking any action, adding, “I’m so excited to represent the people. That’s what I like to do.” Before running for the Commissioners Court, Howard was executive director of the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition. The election she just won was her first for public office.

Howard is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and served as legal counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., chaired by then-Sen. Joe Biden.

On a personal note, Howard said her husband and three grown children all helped with the election and she was happy to have them at home for the victory. Her husband, John Howard, works in government affairs at Dell Technologies. Daughters Patricia, who is in the restaurant business, and Susan, who works for the New York Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn, came back to Austin for the end of the campaign. Son John, who lives in Austin and is an accountant, also helped out with the campaign. Now the family is able to celebrate together.

Photo via Facebook.

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