Not Your Average Joe

The new county treasurer isn't too sure how he got here, but he's happy to help

At one such moment while I was watching, Price blurted out an expression of barely impatient agreement with something odd Foster had just said. Foster, startled by Price's vehemence, jumped up, shouted, "Adjournment! Adjournment!" and scurried out of the room by a back door.

All of the commissioners stared blankly at each other—a quite pregnant pause.

I thought to myself, "It's really sort of too bad Sheriff Loopy isn't here. She and Judge Foster could leap into a patrol car together and blast off for Oklahoma with sirens wailing."

Joe Wells
Joe Wells
So far, the new county judge, Jim Foster, manages to be present at commissioners court meetings without really taking part.
So far, the new county judge, Jim Foster, manages to be present at commissioners court meetings without really taking part.

Adjournment! Adjournment!

But seriously, folks. All in all, the Democratic tsunami is starting to look a whole lot better than certain skeptics—perhaps including myself—predicted the case would be when the tsunamians got elected.

Back in Joe's office...OK, let's do this thing. Back in Wells' office, I tried out some of my two-bit bubblegum philosophy:

Is it not possible, I asked Wells, that we will discover Democrats are better at governing than Republicans because they believe in government? If we owned a bank, I suggested speculatively, we would not hire a person to run that bank who did not believe in banking. I was about to go on...

"I don't know," he said. "That seems more like national politics. I don't know about that here locally."

Then he launches into this long, very fast-talking, very detailed speech praising his predecessor whom he just defeated in the election, Republican Lisa Hembry. He said he decided to keep all of her staff, including Chief Deputy Deborah Robison, because they were so good, in spite of pressure from friends and supporters to hire loyal Democrats. And he said some of his main goals in office are to carry out initiatives Hembry launched, including a unified, computerized receivables operation for the whole county.

"Lisa's very involved in the community," he said. "She's a good person. I criticized a few things that had happened that I read about in the paper. But she was a real formidable person to try to run against."

I asked him where he got most of his ideas when he was running.

"From her," he said. "I listened to her when we did interviews and things together.

"It was more that I was trying to say who I was and what my experience was. When I talked to her after the election, I told her my winning was just good timing for me. I told her I was a message for Bush that he didn't get yet."

That's one of his jokes—the line about Bush. I like it. But I don't know if I've gotten the message yet myself. Completely. But I am very interested in getting it.

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