Commissioner Road Warrior

Under a deep blue sky devoid of clouds -- or plumes of diesel exhaust -- Gerald Daugherty was sworn in Friday as commissioner for Pct. 3, covering the western half of Travis County. Daugherty beat incumbent Democrat Margaret Moore, who had been appointed last December to fill the unexpired term of Republican Todd Baxter, now the incoming state rep for Dist. 48. Daugherty participated in his first Commissioners Court meeting this past Tuesday.

Despite several references to the new commissioner's temperamental nature and tendency to rile his ideological opponents (one speaker noted that the event was a "swearing in," not a "swearing at"), Daugherty put on a humble face as he addressed the bipartisan crowd. Among those gathered with the F.O.G. (Friends of Gerald) at the Wooldridge Square ceremony were Sheriff Margo Frasier (sporting a new, straight hairdo), District Attorney Ronnie Earle, Council Member Will Wynn, Commissioner Ron Davis, and many, many others (not to mention a dozen or so homeless people camped out on the lawn). "I'm pretty tired of standing in front of a microphone, trying to sound interesting," Daugherty joked after taking the oath. Being a commissioner "is something I've wanted for a long time. I will give it my 100% ... [and] be honest and forthright. ... We all need to be respectful of other people."

For the Travis Co. GOP, angered last winter by Biscoe's decision to appoint a Democrat to replace Baxter in heavily Republican Pct. 3, Daugherty's accession was a vindication. A businessman and founder of the nonprofit Reclaim Our Allocated Dollars, which led the crusade against light rail during the 2000 referendum, Daugherty ran on a platform that emphasized core services and, of course, roads. Outside his new post, Daugherty has other projects going -- foremost among them a suit against the Travis Co. Democratic Party over potentially libelous campaign literature.

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