Sheriff's Unions Back Eckhardt for Precinct 2 Commissioner
Both unions are at odds with current Commissioner Sonleitner
Such is the backdrop in front of which both the TCSOA and the TSLEA announced Monday that they have endorsed Sonleitner's Democratic opponent, Eckhardt a former assistant county attorney and the daughter of Robert Eckhardt, former congressman from Houston and co-founder of The Texas Observer. For the TCSOA, says Leo, the decision to back Eckhardt was solely a question of "character." "We cannot trust her," he said of Sonleitner. "It's a character issue." It was not an easy decision, Leo says, because "we're fully aware that by not endorsing Karen, she's going to come after us" politically.
In response, Sonleitner told the online Austin politics newsletter In Fact Daily, "The associations made it clear that the only hope of getting their political endorsements was to vote for what they wanted regardless of whether it was affordable to taxpayers. I refused to link my budget vote past, present, or future to any election process. I was not going to stop doing my job for fear of the loss of a political endorsement.
"Many of these officers have seen their salaries double over the past 10 years," Sonleitner continued. "I voted for each and every one of those raises and the officers deserved each and every one of those raises. We've taken our sworn officers from admittedly low wages when I arrived on the scene in 1995 to the highest paid corrections officers in the state and the highest paid County Sheriff's deputies in the state."
For his part, Brett Spicer of the TCSLEA says he's not as interested in dishing on Sonleitner although he says there is a "tremendous amount of truth" to Leo's account as he is in promoting Eckhardt, an "awesome" candidate, who will be a good steward of taxpayer funds, and who understands the importance of a "comprehensive" public safety program. Eckhardt "understands what good government is," Spicer said. "I think it's time for a change; I know it's time for a change."