Politics makes more sense when it is local

Published 6:21 am Saturday, March 17, 2018

By Bobby Tingle


Determining which political party is thriving in local politics is sometimes painfully obvious.

This weekend the Orange County Republican Party will host Texas Governor Greg Abbott, US Congressman Brian Babin, State Senator Robert Nichols and State Representative Dade Phelan at their 2018 Lincoln Reagan Dinner.

Lincoln Reagan Dinners are fundraising events designed to raise funds for the local political party. Local political parties need funds to conduct their business and aid local candidates in local races.

This dinner is a big deal. It is high profile. It is moving forward. It is a sign of good things to come.

Locally, the Republican Party managed to field candidates for all local races in the March 6 Primary Election.

County wide the Republicans nominated a political newcomer, unseating the incumbent on the ballot in November for County Judge. Incumbent County Commissioners were also booted in precincts two and four. Other positions in the Republican Primary were uncontested.

Unseating three incumbents is not normal. Commissioners Court has five positions. A majority of the seats on the court will be filled by new commissioners come January 2018.

The Orange County Democrat Party meanwhile is struggling.

According to current Orange County Democrat Party Secretary Michael Cole, Don Brown finally paid his filing fee March 14, 2018. Brown confirmed his payment March 16, 2018 by email.

The problem here is all the other candidates paid their fee by the deadline, December 11, 2017. The election was held March 6, 2018.

Brown submitted a check on the due date, but the check was returned.

Brown could have been declared ineligible to be on the ballot but the local Democrats were four days late taking action.   They had more than five weeks to discover the error and take the appropriate steps.

Brown could do the right thing and step down but he refuses to do so.

Democrat nominees will be on the ballot in November challenging Republican nominees for County Judge, County Commissioner Precinct 2 and Justice of the Peace Precinct 1.

Brown, Deborah Mitchell and Gail Barnett are the Democrat nominees for these races facing Dean T. Crooks, Theresa Adams Beauchamp and Hershel Stagner, Jr. the Republican nominees.

Local politics is much more important than other political realms.

Local politicians at the county and municipal level should ultimately be the movers and shakers in our political sphere.

You will get a far different perspective if you pay attention to one of the three letter acronyms, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX, etc. But don’t let that fool you. You should be far more concerned with the politicians eating in the restaurants, attending the churches you attend and meeting in local meeting rooms. There you will be able to let your feelings be known, face-to-face, with the people casting the votes and making decisions affecting your life directly.

They spend your tax dollars to provide services and infrastructure. They disburse resources intended for tourism, growth and economic development.

Don’t seek information in front of a one-eyed monster or scrolling your social media feed. You will likely end up in a fake news black hole.

It is encouraging to see the Republican Party doing well locally. It would be more encouraging though to see the Democrat Party doing the same.

Better candidates, better races and better outcomes will be the result when both parties thrive.

Let’s hope the local politicians continue to find ways to move forward instead of wallowing in the mire of poor accounting and missed deadlines.


Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at bobby.tingle@orangeleader.com.