Primary Colors: Part II

More races to watch, up and down the ballot

Travis Co. Commissioner, Precinct 4, Democrat: Southeast showdown

Incumbent Margaret Gómez and Travis Co. Deputy Constable Yolanda Montemayor are battling to represent southeast Travis Co. on the Commissioners Court. Gómez, vice-chair on Capital Metro's board of directors, she didn't win many friends among bus drivers during the recent labor standoff when she argued that state law prevents the board from getting directly involved. She says she encouraged bargaining, but that she "didn't want to interfere with the workers' contract in any way." Gómez also advocates exploring the possibility of outsourcing the county's tax collection functions. "We're representing the public, the taxpayers, and we want to do the best job possible," she said.

Montemayor said she is against privatizing tax collection and that she thinks the county is doing a fine job on its own. Before becoming a deputy constable in Precinct 4 Constable Maria Canchola's office in 2002, she worked briefly for the Hays Co. Sheriff's Department, and before that, for 10 years as a Travis Co. deputy sheriff. She was a crime-prevention specialist, basically functioning as a liaison between the community and the department and said she learned that a good amount of citizens' complaints weren't crime-related, but concerned quality of life. "That really opened my eyes," she said. She wants to be proactive in addressing southeast Travis County's issues. For example, she noted that she saw and heard complaints about roaming dogs all the time as a deputy constable, but that it wasn't until an 8-year-old girl was mauled by a pack of unleashed dogs that commissioners enacted a leash ordinance. She wants to make a point of keeping her office accessible, and would take time to hold community forums on issues of importance to southeast Travis Co.

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