Inclusivity or Exclusivity?
It has recently been suggested that I’m not Texan enough to serve as Justice of the Peace because I once lived in California and that I lack “Drippin’ values”. The basis for this seems to be that I haven’t lived my entire life in Dripping Springs or graduated from Dripping Springs High School.
Although I’ve lived in Texas for about 18 years, including the past 5 years in Hays county and 7 years before that in southwest Travis county, I’ve lived in eight states, including California. I see this as an advantage, not a reason for challenge or attack.
During my adult life I’ve experienced a great deal. I’ve interacted with people from a wide range of backgrounds. I’ve literally had hundreds of people report to me during my professional life, which spans five decades. When I was in the Navy, I worked with people from all walks of life, most of whom were drafted or volunteered during the Vietnam War. Some came from tough economic backgrounds, difficult home conditions, had legal problems in civilian life, or just needed the chance to get away and make a new life for themselves. As a research scientist, I worked with an undergraduate student who is a first generation Indian American who is now an accomplished neurosurgeon. I also worked several years with a refugee from Vietnam and from China. As an elder law attorney, I meet with local seniors and their families who are facing end of life decisions. My wife Melody and I have been married for 34 years. We have three children and nine grandchildren. This diverse background has taught me that every situation is unique and the facts and circumstances always need to be carefully considered before making a decision or offering advice.
In an area as diverse as Dripping Springs is becoming, do you want your local Justice of the Peace to be exclusionary or inclusionary? To view and judge people differently if they haven’t lived in Dripping Springs their whole life? I believe my diverse background, including my 18 years as a Texas resident, make me well suited to serve as your Justice of the Peace. I promise that I will treat all those who come before my court equally, regardless of where they lived in the past.
I have to admit, I’m a bit confused by the term “Drippin’ values” and the author is either unwilling or unable to state what those values are.
Let me tell you about my values, then you decide whether you feel they are appropriate for someone serving as your next Justice of the Peace.
I’m a church-going Christian and have a strong moral compass. While growing up, I was a Cub Scout, then a Boy Scout for ten years. I’ve been a Republican all my life, as have both of my parents. I consider myself to be conservative, but I’m willing to listen to and consider the opinions and different viewpoints of others.
I strongly believe in inclusivity, not exclusivity. When I was on active duty in the Navy in the mid-1970s, I was a facilitator for a Navy-sponsored race relations program. I serve on an advisory board at Texas State University in San Marcos for a federal program to encourage minority students to major in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs. I provide volunteer legal services for veterans through an Austin Bar Association program held at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic. I also provide volunteer legal services to low income people in Travis and Hays counties through Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas. For at least the past twelve years, my wife and I have sponsored (provided monthly financial support for) four orphans in war-torn and disease-ridden areas of central Africa through the Christian organization World Vision. Through the work of World Vision, these children get healthy food to eat, clean water to drink, education, medical treatment, and a safe place to live.
I serve as one of two mentors at the Hays County Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) in San Marcos. The VTC is a diversionary court for veterans who have gotten in legal trouble in Hays county for actions related to trauma they encountered during their military service. For example, PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other traumas. The purpose of the VTC is to put veterans on a path to recovery and give them the opportunity to become productive citizens. The success rate is extremely high and I’m proud to say that I’m a mentor for six veterans in the program. The VTC is sponsored in part by the Texas Veterans’ Commission.
I also serve as a mentor for a boy at the Burke Center on RM 150, a few miles south of town. The Burke Center is a treatment center for boys who have been the victim of physical and/or sexual assault and have been taken out of those conditions by the State of Texas. The Burke Center was recently named Nonprofit Organization of the Year by the Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce.
For the past two years, I have served as attorney advisor for the Dripping Springs High School Mock Trial program, where I work with high school students preparing them for a mock trial held at the County Courthouse in San Marcos. Over 100 DSHS students participated in the program last year.
I hope this description gives you an idea about my values and who I am, demonstrated through my actions. If you think these are the values your Justice of the Peace should possess, please vote for me in the Primary Election, March 6 (early voting is February 20- March 2).