Thursday, December 06, 2007

Diane Trautman for Harris County Tax Assessor/Collector

As with being a Texas public school administrator, and as with her 2006 statehouse run in the blood-red suburb of Kingwood, Dr. Trautman likes big challenges:

“My race for Tax Assessor-Collector will be about one thing—improving Harris County government,” Trautman explains. “We can be more efficient. We can be more responsive. We can be more transparent in the way we collect county taxes. And we can have a voter registration system that is fair and inclusive to all the citizens of Harris County."

That last sentence is going to be the most important accomplishment we can make in 2008 locally.

Paul Bettancourt, the incumbent TA/C (the post also serves as voter registrar in each Texas county) is one of the most dangerous Republicans in America. Not the county, not the state. The nation. He runs a sophisticated voter caging operation which is the envy of all who survey it. And only Republicans are allowed to survey it, trust me. It is cloaked in partisan secrecy, so much so that even the Harris County Democratic Party chairman, a wise constitutional lawyer himself, is reticent to challenge it -- or Bettancourt himself, for that matter.

Fortunately I have been able to pull back the shroud a bit, and will promise again a more detailed posting about this in the very near future.

But this is a post to congratulate and welcome his very formidable challenger, so on with her announcement:

I am passionate about providing a quality education in all of our public schools, and I believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to play a role in educating our children–especially our political leaders. That is why, when our current Tax Assessor/Collector publicly campaigns against our schools in the recent school bond elections, I think he needs to be challenged. Instead of an incumbent who has spent the last decade using his county office as a partisan pulpit, we need someone who will focus on getting the job done for all the citizens of Harris County.

Additionally, I think that the public has had enough of recent ethics scandals in county offices, and that they are ready for some accountability and ethical leadership in county government, which will be a primary focus of my campaign. What is more, it is outrageous that Harris County, the third most populous county in the country, has one of the lowest voter registration rates. We must do better if we are to have a truly effective government and democracy. My campaign will be about modeling ethical and appropriate officeholder behavior, building a voter registration system that is fair, inclusive and works for all Harris County citizens, and running an efficient, transparent office for county taxpayers.

Bravo, Dr. Trautman. The battle is joined.

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