While Democrats and Republicans prepare for the 2002 mudslinging battle, the Travis County Green Party has entered the electoral race on a much calmer note. In December, the Party filed applications on behalf of Houston resident Charles Mauch, who will run for Railroad Commissioner, and Tom Wakely of Manor, who will vie for the District 10 seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin.
Wakely, who is also executive director of the nonprofit Economic Justice Foundation, considers his campaign platform more "pro-issues" than "anti-Doggett," but he isn't shy about critiquing the incumbent Congressman. "It's not so much what Doggett has done, but what he hasn't done," Wakely said. "I don't think he understands what it's like to bounce a check and pay $25 in service fees, or go to the emergency room at Brackenridge because he doesn't have health care." Wakely believes his years of work on progressive campaigns and familiarity with East Austin make him a quality candidate. "I'm not a professional politician," he said. "I've worked in the community for many years, and I know what it's like to work for a living."
Unsurprisingly, Doggett rebuts such critiques, pointing to his success as a member of the Ways and Means Committee in getting federal funds for his constituents -- including a recent $4 million package for homeless agencies and $5 million for transportation projects. "My focus is not on Campaign 2002, but on America 2001," Doggett said. "Regardless of the challenger, the challenges our country faces will continue to be my priority: ensuring our security, preserving our precious environmental resources, maintaining fiscal discipline by blocking bloated corporate bailouts, preventing civil liberties from becoming a victim of terrorism, and achieving quality education, affordable health care, and strengthened Social Security and Medicare."