'Chronicle' Endorsements, Travis County Early Voting

Democratic Primary Run-offs

You may still be recovering from the March 4 primary – but there remains a bit of unfinished business. Here are our endorsements in the three Democratic contests that remain unsettled and are on the Travis Co. ballot (depending on your precinct) for the April 8 run-off. Early in-person voting runs Monday-Friday, March 31-Ap­ril 4. Please vote – encouraged by the knowledge that the relative importance of your single vote increases in inverse proportion to diminishing run-off turnout. – The Chronicle Editorial Board


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.


Early-Voting Locations

Central

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)

East

Parque Zaragosa Recreation Center, 2608 Gonzales (10am-7pm)

Northeast Health Center, 7112 Ed Bluestein (Springdale Shopping Ctr)

North

RRISD Performing Arts Center, 5800 McNeil Drive

Ben Hur Shriners Hall, 7811 Rockwood

Northwest

Randalls, 10900-D Research

HEB, 7301 FM 620 N.*

Northeast

MT Supermarket, 10901 N. Lamar (Bldg. (G, China­town Center; 10am-7pm)

County Tax Office, 15822 Foothill Farms Loop, Pflugerville

South

Travis Co. Juvenile Probation Dept. Annex, 2501 S. Congress

Randalls, 2025 W. Ben White

Southeast

Dan Ruiz Public Library, 1600 Grove (10am-7pm)

Fiesta Mart, 5510 S. I-35

Southwest

Randalls, 6600 S. MoPac

Randalls, 9911 Brodie

West

Randalls, 2303 RR 620 S.

Randalls, 3300 Bee Caves Rd.

Bee Cave City Hall, 4000 Galleria Pkwy.

* Temporary building in parking lot.


Mobile Voting

Monday, March 31

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

Tuesday, April 1

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

Wednesday, April 2

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

Thursday, April 3

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

Friday, April 4

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

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