It's official, Travis County voters and Democrats have a choice in the Justice of Peace precinct 2 race.
Usually these down ballot races aren't were electoral excitement is drawn, but Amy Clark Meachum is poised to be the Democrat who turns Travis County 100% blue. Meachum is set to take on Republican Barbara Bembry in the November general election.
I am officially announcing my candidacy for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, in Travis County. For the residents of Northwest Austin, Pflugerville and Northern Travis County, it is time for a change to ensure our “People's Court” is accessible, accountable, and efficient.
Bembry has been in the news recently and not for her judicial temperament or because of the stellar job she is doing. Instead, the Statesman has reported twice about Bembry's negligence and her inability to perform basic parts of her elected job.
As the Statesman first reported July 22, Bembry has let people like Timothy Hendricks sit in legal limbo for nearly a year.
After Hendricks and his wife moved into their new home on Cassiopeia Way in Steiner Ranch in February 2008, they hired a contractor to install a sprinkler system for the lawn. Hendricks said he and the contractor agreed to a $3,400 price, and work was completed in March. By the middle of summer, though, it was clear that large spots in the yard were not being reached by the sprinkler system.
On Aug. 18, Hendricks filed a small claims complaint with Barbara Bembry, the justice of the peace for Travis County Precinct 2, which includes the subdivision west of Austin.
The clerk in Bembry's court told Hendricks it would take up to 10 days for the contractor to be served with notice of the complaint, he said.
Hendricks stopped calling over the holidays and heard nothing from the court. He next called on April 2 and asked to speak to Bembry. Hendricks said a clerk told him that the judge, an elected official, could not be contacted directly, either by telephone or by e-mail.
Not satisfied, Hendricks said he searched and found what he thought was a direct e-mail address. In his e-mail, Hendricks expressed frustration while acknowledging that Bembry's court was probably very busy.
Neither Bembry nor anyone in her court answered the e-mail, he said.
After Hendricks called July 15 – 331 days, or nearly 11 months after he filed his complaint – and was told by a clerk that a time frame for a court date could not be estimated, Hendricks called Statesman Watch.
On July 29, the Statesman followed up on the story. Instead of their being news about Bembry jumping to action, instead the sprinkler company began working with Hendricks in order to resolve the situation out of court. In addition, Hendricks got another interesting call according to the Statesman.
Hendricks received another call from someone who read the Statesman Watch column. The caller told Hendricks she was planning to run against Bembry next year.
“She invited me to her campaign launch party,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks isn't the only one who received an invite to the party. Today, Meachum sent out a save the date to her party to a much wider audience touting an all-start list of support.
House Democratic Leader, Jim Dunnam, and his band, The Bad Precedents are playing.
Save the date for our official campaign kickoff party on Thursday, September 17, from 6:00-8:00 at the Iron Cactus North. I am incredibly grateful to Rep. Dunnam, his wife Michelle, and The Bad Precedents for agreeing to provide the entertainment for our campaign kickoff party.
State Representatives Valinda Bolton, Donna Howard, Eddie Rodriguez, Mark Strama, Lon Burnam, Garnet Coleman and Pete P. Gallego have all agreed to support my campaign, as well. All we need now are a few sponsors for this event, which should be a lot of fun!
Also included in the e-mail was another big name. Senator Kirk Watson, according to the Meachum e-mail, “has generously agreed to match the first $1,000 raise[d]online.”
You can make a donation securely online.
The reason for all this excitement and ink on this race is two pronged. One, Amy Meachum is an inspiring Democrat and someone who helped get the TexBlog PAC off the ground. Second, Bembry's defeat is not only good for the people of Austin but is a symbol of the work we have done at the grassroots level for nearly a decade.