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Texas State Professor Rebecca Bell-Metereau to Run for SBOE 5

by: David Mauro

Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:00 AM CDT

Rebecca Bell-Metereau, a professor of English at Texas State University, will be a Democratic candidate for State Board of Education District 5. District 5 is currently represented by Republican incumbent Ken Mercer.

In 2006, over half the money Mercer raised was from James Leininger. Mercer, a former Texas House member, did not face strong opposition when he was elected to his first term. Bell-Metereau, with a profile that seems tailor-made for this district, could change that in 2010.

District 5 includes parts of Travis (south of the river), Bell and Bexar counties along with all of Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Comal, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Hays, Kendall, and Llano counties.

Bell-Metereau has taught at Texas State since 1981 and she and her husband have two grown daughters who attended San Marcos public schools. Her community involvement includes service on the San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission, the San Marcos Solid Waste Committee, San Marcos 1990 Blue Ribbon Bond Commission, and as a representative to the San Marcos Council of Neighborhood Associations. 

Prior to moving to San Marcos, Bell-Meterau served in the Peace Corps, teaching English in Chad and serving as an English interpreter on relief-flights to other African nations. She later received a Fulbright Scholarship that enabled her to retun to Africa to teach at a university in Senegal for one year.

Bell-Metereau's campaign treasurer is Teresa Hobby, the daughter-in-law of former Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby.

It is exciting for Democrats to field a candidate with such strong credentials and a profile that really fits this district. Democrats appear poised to run strong campaigns in two Central-Texas based districts, SBOE Districts 5 and 10. While both were drawn to elect Republicans, they are both also very winnable. Having a strong candidate like Rebecca Bell-Metereau is the first step to winning in districts like this and restoring some balance to the State Board of Education. 


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Daniel Boone has also announced his (0.00 / 0)
candidacy for SBOE 5. I've had the chance to meet Boone and he's an affable gentleman with credentials in Psychology both clinical and as a professor he is also a retired Lt. Colonel. I look forward to seeing the two candidates discuss the issues and their qualifications later this year.

As long as corporations are people and money is speech, then democracy is a farce.

I've met both, which is why I'm supporting Rebecca (0.00 / 0)
I met Dan serendipitously for the first time at the Capitol in April, and we had a nice conversation over lunch. I agree that he is an affable, well-educated gentleman. He mentioned that there would be a candidate forum for SBOE 5 the next day, and I was impressed enough with our one-on-one conversation that I decided to attend.

Three candidates were speaking: Dan, Kal Kallison (who has since decided not to run) and Rebecca. I had met neither Rebecca nor Kal previously. After they introduced themselves, the audience was invited to ask questions with each candidate answering each question in a rotating order. The question I asked was simple and straightforward: "Where do you live and what has been your involvement in your community?" I was most impressed with Rebecca's answer and least impressed with Dan's.

Rebecca talked about serving on three boards for the City of San Marcos including its Planning and Zoning Commission and her leadership role in her neighborhood association. She talked about what it means to serve on a public body that listens to conflicting, often emotional testimony and which then must reach a decision based on fact and the best interests of the community. She was articulate and showed herself to have significant public-service experience.

Kal answered touchingly about volunteering with his young daughter every Saturday at the animal shelter, where he would have been that morning but for the forum. He mentioned some other activities. While none that I recall involved a leadership role, Kal is relatively young and could develop into a terrific candidate some day soon, perhaps for a local school board spot.

Dan's answer was simply that he had run for the legislature twice; he then abruptly veered off into a discussion about evolution and the difference between a theory and a hypothesis. While his point was interesting, he didn't adequately answer the question. Most viable candidates can point to a number of community activities that they've undertaken before throwing their hats into the ring, and Dan's only response was that he had thrown the hat (and missed: 5.64% as a write-in candidate in 2006 and 25.96% as the Democratic nominee in 2008.) He may have performed a lot of community service around Canyon Lake, but I wouldn't know because he didn't even attempt to bunt the very soft pitch I had lobbed to each of them.

Standing before an audience of strangers and making a positive impression based on whatever questions come up is what successful candidates do. The difference between a one-on-one conversation with Dan and a Q&A session before an audience was substantial, and I regret to say that I was disappointed. One-on-one I was charmed and hopeful (but not convinced) that he might make a good candidate. At the forum, I was convinced otherwise.

Soon after, I contacted Rebecca and encouraged her to run; I'm pleased that she decided to do so last week and that my firm will be helping her with fund-raising and strategy. Rebecca is the only candidate I'm aware of whom I believe can beat Mercer.

SBOE 5 is winnable, but it will take a great deal of effort. The best-performing Democrat within the district's boundaries since it was gerrymandered in 2001 was Bill Moody for Supreme Court in 2006. Judge Moody received 44.9% in SBOE 5 and 49.8% in SBOE 10, and Democrats tend to lag by four or five percent between the two districts. (Stanley-Garrison & Associates also represents Democrat Judy Jennings for SBOE 10 and we believe strongly that each is the best Democratic candidate for their respective districts.) Donna Howard got less than 40% immediately after the new district lines were drawn, and she had run a well-funded campaign by SBOE standards. While the political situation for Democrats has improved in Central Texas over the past decade, there's a sizable difference between 44.9% and 50-percent-plus-one.

A successful candidate will have to communicate with more than twice as many voters as in a Congressional District. Rebecca not only presents herself well but she's willing to put in the time to raise the funds to get her message out there. She'll be in my office on Monday afternoon working to raise seed money for a web site and a push piece, and I invite anyone interested to call 512-535-1235 and talk to her after 1 PM. Here's her ActBlue link, while we're at it.

"The eyes of the people are fast opening! Fight on!"--Andrew Jackson

[ Parent ]
Thanks on two points (2.00 / 1)
First, you gave BOR readers reasoned opinions backed by facts and sources. Secondly, you disclosed the time table and level of your involvement in this campaign. I wish all political consultants would be this open. Most political consultants and their minions seem to prefer to post "behind a tree" sniper commentary rather than have an open discussion with full disclosure.

While you are at it, please find some more good candidates to run down ballot in Williamson County.

[ Parent ]
Thanks, Stacy. You've earned your pay for this week! (0.00 / 0)
All kidding aside, I appreciate your kind words.

In the interests of full disclosure, though, since you and I have been friends for over 30 years, I can only rate your comment a 2.

Openly yours,

Al(fred) Stanley

"The eyes of the people are fast opening! Fight on!"--Andrew Jackson

[ Parent ]
Welcome to the game! (0.00 / 0)
I first met Rebecca and Dan at that same forum, and was very impressed with Rebecca. She'll make a formidable candidate.

What was the turnout for Obama in SBOE5? This is a handy yardstick, because Laura Ewing managed to run about 7 points better than Obama in SBOE7 in her run against David Bradley.  She still lost, but only because she was in an extremely Republican district.  In SBOE10, and maybe in SBOE5, she would have won. (Obama pulled about 49% of the 2-party vote in SBOE10.)  

The upshot is that we have a decent chance of winning SBOE5, and an excellent chance of winning SBOE10. Too bad Al's backing the wrong candidate north of the river!  (Here's the ActBlue link for the right candidate.)

Lorenzo Sadun
Democrat for SBOE 10

[ Parent ]
The vote for Barack Obama was 44.3% in SBOE 5 (0.00 / 0)
Our now President received 38.7% in SBOE 7 and Democratic SBOE candidate Ewing received 43.6% (4.9% better).

Take the votes cast for Senator Obama and add 4.9%, and we're tantalizingly close: 49.2%.

Laura Ewing raised the most contributions of any SBOE candidate that I can find--$100,000. We are planning to raise significantly more for Rebecca in SBOE 5--and for Judy Jennings in SBOE 10.

Speaking of SBOE 10. The vote for Senator Obama was 48.2% in SBOE 10, and Bill Moody topped that in 2006 with 49.8%, but these are outliers.

I think a more telling number is the percentage of the vote received by Hank Gilbert--well qualified in every way for the post for which he was running but unable to overcome the partisan leanings of the district because he didn't have the resources to run an effective campaign. He received 46.0% of the vote in SBOE 10.

In the interests of equal time, here's a link for the person I'm backing for SBOE 10, Dr. Judy Jennings.

"The eyes of the people are fast opening! Fight on!"--Andrew Jackson

[ Parent ]
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