The Austin Chronicle

Gerald Daugherty Says Farewell

By Michael King, December 6, 2019, 5:30pm, Newsdesk

The other shoe finally dropped Thursday in the wait for Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty’s unconfirmed future. The longtime, two-time Precinct 3 officeholder announced that he will not run for re-election, serving out his final term through 2020.

The announcement was expected – in March, Daugherty told the Chronicle that it was “highly unlikely” that he would run again, adding, “but I’ve said that before.” He had earlier suggested he would decide by mid-summer, but since Central Texas now has only two seasons (hot and not-so-hot), perhaps the timing was close enough. In a statement, Daugherty said, “It has been a privilege and honor to serve my neighbors as their commissioner. I’ve done my very best to deliver on the promises that I’ve made over time.” He highlighted his signature issue – building highways – specifically taking credit for the long-embattled completion of Texas 45 Southwest: “I’ve fought for honest, cost-effective transportation solutions, for a comprehensive road system, and for a fiscally conservative county government.”

Daugherty, a businessman who formerly owned the Pleasant Valley Sportsplex and has since become a restaurateur (Jack Allen’s Kitchen restaurants), served two stints on Commissioners Court – 2003-2008, and again since 2013. He told the Chronicle, “I’ve always been a pretty big term limits guy … I don’t think you should do this for a crazy amount of years. I think 14 is enough. I’m going to be 70 in January, and it’s the right time for me.”

Daugherty has been unapologetically enthusiastic about road-building as the solution to Central Texas traffic congestion – he was one of the original “Road Warriors” fighting mass transit approaches – and can wax pugnacious on the subject. His official bio reads in part, “Removing lanes on major roads for buses, bikes, or any other idiotic idea, needs to end if we are serious about our mobility crisis.”

Daugherty is the sole Republican on Commissioners Court. Asked for her thoughts on her colleague stepping down, County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said in part, “I’ll miss him. We don’t always agree, but he’s a pleasure to work with. … Old school as Gerald is, I have received nothing but respect and support from him, as the chief executive for Travis County.”

Becky Bray, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council (District 8) in 2014, has reportedly filed as a Republican for the nomination to succeed Daugherty. Four candidates – Valinda Bolton, Ann Howard, Sheri Soltes, and (just this week) Shiloh Newman – have filed for the Democratic nomination.

For more on Gerald Daugherty’s retirement and career, follow the Daily News and next week’s print edition.

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