'Chronicle' Endorsements, Travis County Early Voting
Democratic Primary Run-offs
Railroad Commissioner: Dale Henry
We endorsed Dale Henry in the initial primary voting, and we're happy to endorse him again, after he finished second to advance to a run-off against Mark Thompson. Either man would bring a breath of fresh air to this commission, whose current and past members are too often beholden to the oil-and-gas industry they're supposed to regulate. Both have vowed to place public safety and the environment above industry needs. Henry is our preferred candidate because of his extensive oil-and-gas experience and his familiarity with how the commission operates. That's the type of knowledge he'll need if he expects to conquer long odds and oust the incumbent Republican chairman, Michael Williams, in November.
Travis Co. District Attorney: Rosemary Lehmberg
Four assistant district attorneys filed to succeed retiring Ronnie Earle in one of the most successful and high-profile prosecutor's offices in Texas. The two left standing after the March 4 primary are Earle's experienced longtime first assistant D.A., Rosemary Lehmberg, and the relatively junior Mindy Montford, who brings the youth and enthusiasm of the next generation of legal professionals, as well as much support from traditional Democratic sources. On balance, we agree with Earle that Lehmberg is the overall most qualified person to carry on his considerable legacy. She has worked in all the units of the office and has been both a practicing prosecutor and (as first assistant) a chief administrator, with the responsibility and long experience in balancing the varying demands on the office: from prosecution to budgets to managing personnel and, beyond that, to the complicated political considerations arising from the Travis Co. D.A.'s jurisdiction over state corruption investigations and prosecutions. We are impressed by Lehmberg's experience in building the office, in developing and expanding innovative and progressive programs, and in her broad sense of the office's wide-ranging responsibilities, as well as the nuances of addressing high-profile political cases. (We do believe the office needs to be more technologically proactive in working with the defense bar, a legal and political mandate as much as a technical one.) The campaign has noticeably strengthened Lehmberg's public profile and her comprehension that the D.A.'s job is not just administrative, not just prosecutorial, but a communitywide engagement. We believe she will be a better public official because of it.
Constable, Precinct 1: Danny Thomas
In this run-off against Janie Serna, Thomas enters with not only the most votes collected in the three-way Democratic primary but with the most professional and community experience. Thomas is no stranger to elected office; he served six years on the Austin City Council (ending with an unsuccessful run for mayor), after a long career as an Austin Police officer. His community roots extend from the pulpit – as an associate pastor of First Baptist Church in East Austin – to the schools, where he serves as a mentor to students at Blackshear Elementary. Although we've had our differences with him on specific issues, Thomas' professionalism and knowledge of the community would be excellent assets in this eastern Travis Co. precinct.
April 8 Democratic Primary Run-off (Early voting March 31-April 4)
Travis County voters may vote at any early-voting location. On election day, voters must vote in their precinct.
For a list of precinct locations, call 238-VOTE, or see www.co.travis.tx.us/county_clerk/election/20080408/polls.asp.
Polls are open Monday-Friday, 7am-7pm unless noted otherwise.
Travis Co. Offices, 5501 Airport Blvd.
Travis Co. Courthouse, 1000 Guadalupe
Fiesta Mart, 3909 N. I-35
UT, Flawn Academic Center (Undergrad. Library) Lobby, West Mall, UT campus
Howson Public Library, 2500 Exposition (10am-7pm)
Washington Mutual Bank, 1000 E. 41st (10am-6pm)
Parque Zaragosa Recreation Center, 2608 Gonzales (10am-7pm)
Northeast Health Center, 7112 Ed Bluestein (Springdale Shopping Ctr)
RRISD Performing Arts Center, 5800 McNeil Drive
Ben Hur Shriners Hall, 7811 Rockwood
Randalls, 10900-D Research
HEB, 7301 FM 620 N.*
MT Supermarket, 10901 N. Lamar (Bldg. (G, Chinatown Center; 10am-7pm)
County Tax Office, 15822 Foothill Farms Loop, Pflugerville
Travis Co. Juvenile Probation Dept. Annex, 2501 S. Congress
Randalls, 2025 W. Ben White
Dan Ruiz Public Library, 1600 Grove (10am-7pm)
Fiesta Mart, 5510 S. I-35
Randalls, 6600 S. MoPac
Randalls, 9911 Brodie
Randalls, 2303 RR 620 S.
Randalls, 3300 Bee Caves Rd.
Bee Cave City Hall, 4000 Galleria Pkwy.
* Temporary building in parking lot.
Del Valle ISD Admin. Bldg., 5301 Ross, 8am-6pm
Lakeside Senior Center, 85 Trinity, 8-10am
Heritage Park Center, 2806 Real, noon-2pm
Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon, 4-6pm
Manor ISD Admin. Bldg., 312 Murray, Manor, 8am-6pm
Heatherwilde Assisted Living, 401 S. Heatherwilde, Pflugerville, 8-10am
Heartland Health Ctr., 11406 Rustic Rock, noon-2pm
Heritage Pointe, 1950 Webberville Rd., 4-6pm
Lago Vista City Hall, 5803 Thunderbird, 8am-6pm
Conley-Guerrero Senior Center, 808 Nile, 8-10am
Brighton Gardens, 4401 Spicewood Springs, noon-2pm
Westminster Manor, 4100 Jackson, 4-6pm
Seton Main Hospital, 1201 W. 38th, 8am-noon
St. Edward's University, 3001 S. Congress, 2-6pm
RBJ Residential Tower, 21 Waller St., 8-11am
Summit at Westlake Hills, 1034 Liberty Park, 1-3pm
Loyalton of Austin, 5310 Duval Rd., 5-7pm
Volente Vol. Fire Dept., 15406 FM 2769, 8am-noon
NW Rural Comm. Ctr., 18649 FM 1431, Jonestown, 2-6
Englewood Estates, 2603 Jones, 8-10am
Parsons House, 1130 Camino la Costa, noon-2pm
Govalle Care Center, 3101 Govalle, 4-6pm