Cobb Endorses Lehmberg

Former rival picks Earle's top assistant over Montford

Press release from the Rosemary Lehmberg campaign:

Respected Prosecutor Who Finished Strong Third in First Round of Voting Says Lehmberg 'Uniquely Qualified' to Maintain Independence of Public Integrity Unit, Find Common Ground For Community Justice

(AUSTIN) -- Gary Cobb, the respected assistant DA who finished a strong third in Democratic primary for Travis County District Attorney last week, today endorsed veteran prosecutor Rosemary Lehmberg in the April 8 runoff, saying she is uniquely qualified to maintain the independence of the Public Integrity Unit and find common ground for equal justice throughout a growing community.

"Rosemary Lehmberg has the experience and judgment to meet the challenges we face," Cobb said. "She's tough, she's smart, she's been in the trenches, and she understands that that equal justice is essential to our future. She's far and away the best choice to lead this office into the future."

Cobb said he met with both runoff candidates to discuss the major issues in the race and measure their commitment to working for the agenda he talked about during his own campaign for the job.

"Her career is proof of her deep respect for the office and commitment to the Travis County community," Cobb said. "Over the course of her career, she's been a force for change and modernization of law enforcement."

Cobb said Lehmberg during her current campaign has shown a willingness to listen to concerns from every corner and recognize that there are areas where the community and the DA's office itself may have fallen short in creating an environment where everyone feels justice is served equally.

"She has pledged to make positive changes in specific areas of the office, whether I’m there or not," Cobb said. "I personally believe her commitment to these positive changes is sincere, and I urge my supporters to vote for her."

The Travis County District Attorney is best known for its Public Integrity Unit, created by retiring DA Ronnie Earle and funded by state lawmakers to hold elected officials accountable for protecting taxpayers and citizens from abuse of power and other white-collar crimes. The unit, which Lehmberg once headed, has often been the target of partisan efforts at the State Capitol to weaken its mandate or transfer its authority to the Attorney General, which Lehmberg opposes.

"Rosemary Lehmberg is the candidate with the strength to stand up to special interests and prosecute political corruption," Cobb said.

Cobb's outstanding public service career includes work as a senior hearings examiner in the Texas Youth Commission, Austin assistant city attorney, and for the past 18 years as a felony prosecutor in the DA's office.

Lehmberg became one of Travis County's first women assistant district attorneys and has been praised during her tenure for her work against child abuse and public corruption. She helped create the Center for Child Protection (formerly the Children's Advocacy Center) and served as chief of the high-profile Public Integrity Unit. She has run the Career Criminal, Trial, and Major Crimes divisions.

In addition, Lehmberg helped create and was the first director of the Family Justice Division, a groundbreaking operation that deals with criminal child abuse, children's protective services, parental kidnapping, and domestic violence cases.

A native of Taylor, Lehmberg moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas and earned her law degree from St. Mary's University. She is a founding member of the Center For Child Protection and Child Protection Team, served on the advisory board of the Travis County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and was a member of the Texas Multidisciplinary Task Force on Children's Justice. She was awarded the first Shauna Jacobson Team Leadership Award and has been named the Austin Chronicle's "Best Lawyer for Children's Issues."

The runoff will be held on April 8, 2008.

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Elections, Election 2008, Rosemary Lehmberg, Gary Cobb, Mindy Montford

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