Sam Houston

Sam Houston

FROM MY FRONT PORCH

Sam Houston is the publisher of the Hood County News. He is also an actor, author, playwright, performer and entertainment producer/promoter.

 

County Elections Administrator Michele Carew resigned from office in a letter dated Oct. 8.

Over the past few months, she had been under attack by members of the community who seem to want Hood County to do away with an independent elections administrator and have the responsibility placed in the hands of a partisan elected official.

I have previously written about this situation and urged those who had issues with Ms. Carew to come forth with her alleged wrongdoing and misdeeds, so in the light of day citizens could determine if a replacement was appropriate. In the weeks that followed, no such information came forth — just the same old tired allegations that fly in the face of fact and good common sense.

The attacks inspired news media coverage around the country. A recent Texas Tribune article shared Ms. Carew’s travails for all the world to see.

Instead of Granbury being in the news for its selection as the “Best Historic Small Town in America” for the second time in a row, Hood County sadly was held up for ridicule because of the misplaced actions of a few. 

So many people in our community work tirelessly to build our image and to market Hood County as a place to live, do business and as a wonderful place to visit. Sad to see our image go through the shredder, on a national level, over politically-motivated actions.

I understand political posturing and party unity. Such activity is something all political parties do. But in the final analysis shouldn’t the guiding light be what is fair and right? Or, better yet, what’s good for our town?  

This is the second Hood County Elections Administrator in recent years who has come under attack. In the case of Michele Carew, the Hood County Republican Party Executive Committee put out a statement demanding County Judge Ron Massingill call a meeting of the Hood County Elections Commission for the purpose of removing Michele from office. The statement came with a threat that if Judge Massingill did not convene such a meeting the Hood County Republican Party would not support the judge’s reelection efforts.

Judge Massingill refused to buckle to political pressure and call a meeting to remove someone who he believed was performing their job according to the law. Instead, County Clerk (and committee Vice Chair) Katie Lang called the meeting.

After a motion to remove Carew from office was made by board member and Republican Party Chair David Fischer, and seconded by Katie Lang, the matter was put to a vote. The motion failed by a 3-2 vote, and Ms. Carew was allowed to keep her job.

The assault did not end there. Before the meeting concluded Ms. Lang moved to suspend Carew for two weeks without pay, but her motion failed without a second. No basis for such a suspension was ever presented. I guess Ms. Carew is fortunate public flogging was not suggested.

You may recall when Michele Carew was originally hired, Mrs. Lang nominated Zac Maxwell for the position of elections administrator.

Mr. Maxwell had no state certification, or practical experience in running a public election. The person the county hired, Carew, was the President of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators and recognized by her peers and previous employers as an exemplary elections administrator.

Mr. Maxwell did, however, just so happen to be the chief of staff of Ms. Lang’s husband, Mike, our former state representative. Do these actions characterize someone wanting a non-political election official?

The next census will undoubtedly show the population of Hood County exploding to approximately 70,000 or more people. Based on the last national election tally, this means at least 50,000 county residents live in Republican households.

Does the small group of people who led the charge to “run off” the election administrator really represent those 50,000 Republicans? Do the masses even know what these political operators are up to, and how they go about it? What is their agenda? Why would anyone be opposed to a fair and non-partisan election?

Keep your eye on the ball. Pay attention and see who opposes the appointment of a new elections administrator and listen to their reasons. Our elections are too important to let personal agendas and power-mongering politicians undermine the sanctity of the people’s vote in Hood County. Elections should be fair, and all votes ought to count. I do not know anyone who doesn’t agree with that.

Ours is a competitive world and many of us work every single day to promote and enhance Hood County. Sad to see our hometown take an undeserved black eye.

Thought for the day: People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, and after an election.

Until next time.

sam@hcnews.com | 817-573-7066, ext. 260