Just came back from an interesting chat with Wade Emmert, the 40-year-old lawyer who is the Republican candidate for Dallas County Judge in the November election. I asked him how a Republican can win in what everybody is now calling a Democratic county.
"I don't think it's such a Democratic county," Emmert said. "I think there are a lot of people that are disenfranchised, if you will, from both parties. Especially when it comes to county politics, they're not so much concerned with Republicans or Democrats. They want someone who will do the right thing."
Clearly Emmert thinks corruption will be an important issue. "When we have all the allegations of corruption, coupled with what we've seen in the Dallas City Hall trials, I think people just want somebody who will do the job in a way that puts the people first rather than their own self-interest. The Don Hill trial coupled with the Terri Hodge case coupled with the allegations regarding the constables -- I think a lot of people have just thrown up their hands and are saying, 'Who is going to be different?'"
He's probably right. I guess I still consider myself a Democrat, not to mention pinko liberal Commie hippie. But even I think at this point local Democrats are going to have a tough time convincing people they're not the Dallas County Democrooked Party.
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Emmert, who was on the economic development body in Cedar Hill, told me he thinks the county has an important role in economic development, as long as it stays off the toes of local communities:
"I think the people in Wilmer or the people in Hutchins have elected their representatives, and I think they are perfectly capable of managing that level of detail," he says. "I wouldn't want the county to come in and usurp the power of those communities, which is basically what they are doing when you start talking about overlay districts where the county has control. That kind of offends my sense of leaving power close to the people."
Hmmm. I do believe that puts him at odds with the editorial board of The Dallas Morning News and with the North Central Texas Commissariat of Governments. Remember: Planning the Inland Port was more important to those folks than the promise of the Inland Port itself, with the result that now we may be left with the plan but not the promise. Or, as they say in West Texas: All plan, no promise.
Shaping up to be a good election.