Nortey Announces for Precinct 1
Launches commissioner campaign at Carver Museum
By Michael King,
8:00AM, Tue. Jun. 23, 2015
Monday evening, among dozens of enthusiastic Democrats and introduced by Rev. Sherwyn Patton, attorney and activist James Nortey announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination to succeed retiring Pct. 1 County Commissioner Ron Davis on the Travis County Commissioners Court.
Patton, pastor of Nortey’s home Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church, recalled his community work organizing against drug use and crime in Central East Austin, and described his parishioner as an “authentic leader.” Nortey began by thanking all his supporters, and singling out in particular as his “mentor and second mother” former Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole. He then recounted his family history – the son of Ghanaian immigrants who found prosperity in America, Nortey went on to Baylor, Harvard Law, and an advanced business degree from UT-Austin. He said he wants to provide “energetic, thoughtful leadership … and the same opportunities my parents and community gave me.” (Nortey's parents and his two brothers were on hand.)
Nortey, who called himself an “attorney, an advocate, and an activist,” said he would lead by the Democratic Party principle that “where you come from should not dictate where you end up.” He said that many Austinites have not shared in the regional prosperity, that far too many people are living below poverty, and that African-American residents in particular are being left behind or even exiled by the unaddressed rising cost of living. He said that over the next few months, he would present a “New Vision for Precinct One.” On local issues, he emphasized affordable housing, making commercial properties pay their fair share of property taxes, bringing “full-scale grocery stores” to Pct. 1, maintaining in-person visitation at the county jail, and “doing whatever we can to get ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] out of it.”
In addition to Cole, among the many local luminaries in attendance to show their support were former county Dem chair Andy Brown, Judges Eric Shepperd and Cliff Brown, restaurateur Hoover Alexander, former Council Member Jennifer Kim, constable candidates Manuel Jimenez and George Morales, artist Ben Sargent and writer Diane Holloway, Pct. 3 Constable Sally Hernandez, former Council candidates DeWayne Lofton and Andrew Bucknall … and many more. (District 4 Council Member Greg Casar was a late arrival, and joked that he turned up because he’d heard “James was giving away Amy’s ice cream.” Indeed, the ice cream was a crowd favorite.)
Nortey is the first candidate to announce for the Pct. 1 seat. Also being mentioned as potential Pct. 1 commissioner candidates are former candidates Richard Franklin and Arthur Sampson, and city staffer Jeff Travillion.