“I am deeply honored that the voters have elected me as their next Travis County Judge, and as the first woman Travis County Judge in Texas’ history. Our goals in Travis County are urgent. We must work together build a community that is more just, prosperous and fair. I am excited to get back to work on the issues that affect hardworking Travis County families every single day.” – Sarah Eckhardt
Two races for Travis County positions, Travis County judge and Precinct 2 commissioner, might not be getting many headlines for next month’s election, but they are generating a lot of interest. The real competition for these safe Democratic seats happened in the March primary, when Democrats Sarah Eckhardt and Brigid Shea bested their formidable opponents. Unless something unusual happens, the Democrats will win Nov. 4. Those dynamics have shifted the focus from individual campaigns to county government’s relevance and role in tackling the Austin area’s affordability and mobility crises.
Travis County judge
Once again, Sarah Eckhardt has received the endorsement of the Austin Chronicle a in the race for Travis County Judge — this time for the 2014 November General Election!
From the Austin Chronicle:
After a sometimes bitter primary battle, Eckhardt has begun to mend fences across the county and also look forward to next year’s policy matters. She has, for example, suggested a potential compromise on the city’s dispute with the Travis County Sheriff’s Secure Communities program; it likely won’t satisfy S-Comm enthusiasts, but it could mean saving money for the city if it moves forward on an alternative booking procedure that would magistrate non-felony arrests in separate (but not newly constructed) facility. And she has prioritized affordability and environmental issues important to county voters. We’re waiting to see how all this will work in practice in the county’s notoriously hidebound procedures, but as a candidate, Eckhardt is a far better choice than her Republican and Libertarian rivals.
Make no mistake about who the proven environmentalist is in the race for Travis County Judge.
Sierra Club, the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots environmental organization, endorsed Sarah Eckhardt for Travis County Judge.
Sarah Eckhardt has a proven record of protecting and defending the environment:
Learn more about Sarah’s green record on our Issues Page.
Our TV spot is up on the airwaves! Watch it below:
Help us keep it on the air. Each spot costs an average of $130.
Thank you for all of your support!
In case you missed last week’s Austin Chronicle, iconic Austin environmentalist Shudde Fath ran an advertisement specifically endorsing Sarah Eckhardt for Travis County Judge. View it here:
Friends and Supporters —
Early Voting in the Democratic Primary starts Tuesday, February 18, and now is the time that I most need your help to spread the word and let your friends know that I have your support in the race for Travis County Judge.
My campaign team has prepared the following information to make it easy for you to send along to your friends:
- My progressive accomplishments in Travis County government
- Endorsements from The Austin Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman, Sierra Club, and Burnt Orange Report
- An infographic that explains what the Travis County Judge does and contrasts my experience with that of my opponent
- Voter information for early voting and Election Day
Please share this link with your networks and help them make an informed decision.
Corporate interests and political insiders aren’t going to decide this election. You are.
Thanks for all you’re doing!
About Sarah Eckhardt
Sarah Eckhardt has 15 years’ experience in public service working for Travis County residents. After 8 years in the County Attorney’s office, she was elected twice to the Commissioners Court representing Precinct 2, where she built up a tremendous record of progressive policy accomplishments:
- Increased the senior citizen and disabled resident property tax exemption to $70,000
- Established the Travis County Tax Team to relieve the tax burden on those least able to afford them
- Negotiated a $3.5 million settlement with polluters of Hamilton Pool, which paid to clean it up
- Chosen by elected officials across five counties to serve as vice-chair of CAMPO, the regional transportation planning organization
- Voted to concentrate transportation funding to support existing communities instead of promoting sprawl
- Advocated for transparent and performance-based budgeting and contract awards
- Championed a new Travis County Intergovernmental Relations Office to collaborate with local, regional, and state governments to improve efficiency and effectiveness
Read and learn more about Sarah Eckhardt’s tremendous accomplishments here.
Sarah Eckhardt was endorsed by the Austin American-Statesman, who write that “Sarah Eckhardt is the best person for the job.” Click here to read the full endorsement.
The Austin Chronicle endorsed Sarah as well, writing that she “has also clearly articulated progressive goals for the whole region on matters like transportation and the environment.”
Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization, also endorsed Sarah, stating that “Eckhardt promises action on major issues facing this rapidly growing county.”
The Burnt Orange Report backs Sarah as well, writing that “Eckhardt would make the far better Travis County Judge.”
She has also been endorsed by a broad and diverse coalition of organizations, including the Pflugerville Professional Firefighters Association (IAFF Local 4137), LIUNA Local 753 Laborers’ Union, Mexican American Democrats, Yellow Dog Democrats, Capital Tejano Democrats, and many community leaders across Travis County.
These independent voices reaffirm that Sarah Eckhardt is, on the merits, the best choice for Travis County Judge.
Travis County Judge isn’t a robe-wearing, gavel-wielding judge. The judge is the chief executive of Travis County government, sets the agenda for the Commissioners Court, and signs every county contract.
It’s a big job, and Travis County deserves a county judge with a record of putting our progressive values into practice in local government.
To help explain the complexities of the job, our campaign put together an infographic detailing what the county judge does, and contrasting the relative experience of the two candidates:
This race will be won or lost in the Democratic Primary. Sarah needs your support to become Travis County’s first female County Judge. Texas has open primaries, so any voter can choose to vote in the Democratic Primary and cast a ballot for Sarah Eckhardt.
Early Voting runs Tuesday, February 18 through Friday, February 28th. Click here for a map of locations.
Election Day is Tuesday, March 4th. This year, voters can vote at any election day polling location. When you see a sign that says “Vote Here,” vote there!
The Photo ID law is in effect, so you will need to bring a state-issued voter ID. Click here for more information.
Can we count on your support in the Democratic Primary? Let us know! Click here to pledge to vote for Sarah!
Sarah Eckhardt is simply the more experienced candidate in the race for Travis County Judge. She needs your help if she’s going to win this close, competitive Democratic Primary.
Help Spread The Word!
Please send this link to fifteen friends or share it on Facebook and make sure people know who the more experienced candidate is in the Democratic Primary for Travis County Judge. You can and will make a difference in this race.
Thanks for all of your support!
The Austin Chronicle endorses Sarah Eckhardt for Travis County Judge! From their editorial:
Eckhardt’s greatest strength is that she has been knee-deep in county work for many years, first as an assistant county attorney, and then for six years as Pct. 2 Commissioner, working on all kinds of initiatives to improve quality of life and making the county more “efficient, just, healthy, mobile, and green,” as her campaign material states. She has also clearly articulated progressive goals for the whole region on matters like transportation and the environment, and she’s done good spadework on CAMPO, building regional partnerships where a great deal of time and energy must be spent to make very slow progress.
An endorsement of Eckhardt is not to disparage her opponent, Andy Brown. There are solid reasons why Brown has garnered the lion’s share of endorsements from Democratic public officials and local political organizations. He has a long history in the local party, beginning as a fieldworker in Travis County campaigns stretching back to Ann Richards (and notably in 2004 as Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s campaign manager). As chair of the county Democratic Party, he helped revitalize a placid operation, and was instrumental in increasing fundraising and turnout, especially in the county’s eastern precincts. That success has carried over to his ability to amass a sizable war chest and to run a smooth campaign with an impressive field operation. His broad support, including visible minority support (his fluency in Spanish is a bonus) reflects that he’s clearly able to win friends and influence people.
Nevertheless, there are hard questions raised about both Brown’s experience and his insider managerial style. He hasn’t worked at the county itself, and he would take time to understand and use the available levers of action, or evoke cooperation from county staff (and county attorneys) long used to doing things in a fairly unimaginative way. On that score, a commissioner’s seat would have been a better place for Brown to learn the ropes before making a run for county judge. Our sense is that he’s been coming up to speed on current policy issues as the campaign progresses.
The main criticism we’ve heard against Eckhardt is that she would rather be right on principle than successful in practice, making it difficult to build consensus either among her constituents or on the court. But that’s not an entirely true or fair representation. During her tenure on the court she helped secure a majority vote, if not unanimous support, on several seismic changes in county policy, including stricter groundwater regulations, a more inclusive economic development policy, and a means of improving the county’s lackluster record of awarding contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses. Should she become our next county judge, Eckhardt would do well to temper her leadership style. At the same time, we recognize and applaud Eckhardt’s abilities as a skilled, tough negotiator who would work in the best interest of the entire county. We believe the current court is often too easily swayed by monied interests, and voters would be wise to elect a county judge with a backbone.