Prior to reading the morning news about our district attorney resigning before his term is up, I had been informed by local political wonks that there’s been a plot afoot originating at the Jefferson County Courthouse. The story goes like this: Judge Bob Wortham, who intends to seek the office of district attorney, apparently will be opposed by the current assistant district attorney as a Republican. Once a judge announces for another office in which he is opposed, he is required to resign, leaving his seat vacant. Supposedly, the plan is for Tom Maness, current district attorney, to resign early leaving the district attorney’s seat vacant. Rick Perry would then appoint Tom Rugg to the vacant judgeship currently held by Judge Wortham and appoint an assistant district attorney of the Republicans’ choice to be acting district attorney, thereby giving two Republicans a head start on the next general election.
Tom Maness, you’ve been an honorable person and established good credentials as such in your long tenure in office in Jefferson County. You accepted and ran, after having been honored by Democrats, to be the Democratic nominee for at least two offices in this county. You should not, at this point, dishonor the folks who trusted you in the capacity as their nominee with such a cheap trick as to hand over the selection of two important offices in Jefferson County to Rick Perry. Rick Perry should not select our local offices–the people of Jefferson County should. Such a cheap trick is beneath you, and you should not be a party to such a scheme.
Tom, do you seriously think you would have been re-elected a few years ago had you announced to the people that you intended to run for a while as a Democrat, but at the first opportunity you would be a party to a scheme to relinquish your office and deny the people of Jefferson County a say in who takes you place–turning it over to Rick “Good Hair” Perry? Do you really think the people of Jefferson County would have bought that scenario when you ran before? You took the place of a former district attorney who had something less than a sterling reputation as an honorable man. To your credit you restored a lot of dignity to the office of district attorney; and you willingly accepted the mantle as a Democrat, running unopposed in the Democratic Primary. Maybe I’m old fashioned but, deep down, I believe once a person accepts a party label, he or she owes some obligation and respect to that honor bestowed. It is an honor to be selected by either party as a nominee of that party in a general election, but in my opinion with that honor goes a reciprocal obligation to not betray that honor by treating it as though it were nothing.
If the people of Jefferson County have decided to follow the lead of Ted Cruz, Rick Perry and right-wing crazies who would like to rob citizens of their right to trial by jury, so be it; but let the voters of this County have the choice, not Rick Perry. So, once again I say, say it ain’t so, Tom. Don’t be a party to such a cheap trick.