Congratulations to the Republicans for the overwhelming sweep of elections across the United States on Tuesday. As one who cast my first vote for president in 1964 for Barry Goldwater, the father of the modern conservative movement, I am proud of Tuesday's Tea Party victory.
However, as a personal friend of Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough, who I unreservedly endorsed for re-election, and other Democratic incumbents in Galveston County who lost on Tuesday, I am saddened.
Yarbrough was without a doubt the most competent public official I have ever covered.
However, as I said in my editorial endorsement of Judge Yarbrough, I also have high regard for Judge-Elect Mark Henry.
“I don't know him well but his conservative credentials seem to be impeccable,” I said in my commentary on August 23. “I'm fairly certain that he would be my candidate if I did not know and admire his opponent. I hope to have another chance to consider him for public office at some time in the future.”
The Republican revolution in Galveston County reminds me of 1974 in Harris County when Republican Jon Lindsay defeated long-term incumbent Democratic County Judge Bill Elliott. I was in the judge’s office on the day the old bunch moved out and Lindsay welcomed the Republican Party loyalists into his office on the top floor of the Family Law Center. It was an historic day in Harris County politics.
Lindsay, who had been a very long shot in the race, hit the ground running by immediately firing Elliott's entire staff.
For the first days of his administration, he had only Chase Untermeyer and Christin Hartung as his staff. He quickly found the mass firing to be a rash decision and re-hired several employees who were responsible for processing liquor licenses and other important duties of the office.
Commissioner Bob Eckels, who led the campaign to elect Lindsay by exploiting an investigation of the transfer of Mental Health Mental Retardation funds by Elliott, had hoped to eventually be county judge (a position his son Robert later held for several years). Ironically, Lindsay’s success in the office ended the elder Eckels’ prospects for that office.
It will be interesting to see how Mark Henry handles both the duties of the county judge and the responsibilities as head of the Republican Party in Galveston County. It also will be interesting to see how Ken Clark, currently the only Republican on the commissioners court, adapts to being one of three.
I am sure Henry will be successful in his move into the Galveston County Courthouse. He is inheriting a well-run government with world class buildings and a state-of-the-art emergency management program. There are able county employees in place and I am sure that many of them will remain to join Henry and his team.
We at Guidry News Service are eager to cover the new administration.