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Justice of the Peace

Austin: Karin Crump Earns Endorsement of Six Public Organizations


by: Matt Glazer

Mon Jul 19, 2010 at 02:20 PM CDT

Karin Crump is making waves in Austin. Crump is taking on Glenn Bass, a Republicans with no legal experience, and she has more wind at her back.

Karin Crump Campaign for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2 officially announced the endorsements of six key public safety groups that represent law enforcement, emergency medical services, and fire protection.  The endorsements came from the Travis County Sheriffs' Law Enforcement Association, Travis County Sheriffs' Officers Association, Austin Police Association PAC, Austin/Travis County EMS Employees Association, Austin Firefighters Association, and Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas ("CLEAT").

Crump is a rising star in Democratic politics. She is running for Justice of the Peace but has been President of the Texas Young Lawyers Association and was recognized as a Distinguished Young Alumnus by St. Mary's University School of Law in 2007.
 

"I am humbled to have earned the support of the brave men and women who work tirelessly every day to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Travis County are protected," said Crump.  "I will work hard to earn their continued trust."

[...]
 
"It is more important than ever to elect judges with proven legal experience who understand the important role that public safety plays in maintaining a quality way of life here in Travis County," said Chris Perkins, Austin Police Association PAC Chairman.  "It is our honor to endorse Karin Crump because we feel she exhibits the highest level of commitment to our community and to the protection of our citizens."


 
Crump's race represents the final push for Travis County Democrats. Having won every seat inside the county lines, the Travis County GOP has a depleted campaign bench and Travis County Democrats have begun focusing on tough, critical regional races like State Board of Education and Courts of Appeals. These 6 critical endorsements give Karin more momentum going into November.

The Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2 court handles civil lawsuits with up to $10,000 in controversy, Class C Misdemeanors evictions and juvenile truancy cases.  The court serves a large portion of North Austin, Pflugerville, West Branch, Jonestown, Point Venture, Lago Vista and much of Lakeway. 

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Amy Clark Meachum Makes it Official, Plans to Defeat Last Republican in Travis County


by: Matt Glazer

Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 03:00 PM CDT

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.  

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Amy Clark Meachum appoints Campaign Treasurer for Justice of the Peace bid


by: Matt Glazer

Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 10:35 AM CDT

BOR has learned that Amy Clark Meachum, a partner at the Austin law firm McGinnis, Lochridge and Kilgore, has filed a campaign treasurer appointment with Travis County for Justice of the Peace in Precinct 2.  Rumors about a potential Meachum candidacy have been circulating for about 6 weeks, ever since a group of party leaders, elected officials and activists began courting Meachum and asking her to consider the race. We first wrote about Meachum's potential run on June 30 and her filing yesterday is the clearest indication that a formal announcement is imminent. Her treasure is David Hilgers, a prominent Austin attorney and democratic donor and partner at Brown McCarroll.

Meachum will be a formidable candidate when she decides to formally enter the race.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from SMU before earning a law degree from UT Law where she graduated with honors in 2000 and was a member of the prestigious UT Law Review.  Three times, Texas Law and Politics Magazine named Meachum a "Texas Rising Star", in 2007, 2008 & 2009.  Her legal talent was so well-regarded that McGinnis, Lochridge and Kilgore made her a partner at the age of 32.

The Republican incumbent Meachum would be challenging, Barbara Bembry, is the only remaining Republican judge in Travis County.  In 2006, her Libertarian opponent received an incredible 35% of the vote.  The last time the incumbent faced a Democratic challenge was 1998.  In 2008, Democrat Adan Ballesteros beat long-time Republican Constable, Bob Vann, in this same precinct in their contested race for Precinct 2 Constable.  Had Bembry been on the ballot in 2008, she would have lost.

There is no doubt, however, that it will take a coordinated and herculean effort to oust this entrenched, 12-year incumbent in a non-presidential year.  However, a great candidate who runs a perfect race and gets some luck at the top of the ticket can win this seat.  I think Meachum is exactly that candidate.

In the interest of full-disclosure, Meachum hosted the first ever TexBlog PAC fundraiser at her house in Northwest Hills.

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Final Republican in Travis County has Potential Heavy Weight Challenger


by: Matt Glazer

Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 02:56 PM CDT

The Republican Party in Travis County is on the edge of extinction.

There is only one Republican elected official left in Austin/Travis County and that's only because the Republican Justice of the Peace Barbara Bembry wasn't on the ballot in 2008.

In 2010, Bembry will be on the ballot, and the question hasn't been if a Democrat would run, but which one would defeat Bembry and make Austin 100% blue.

According to Jason Embry of the Austin American Statesman, there is now a strong Democrat and local attorney looking at the race.

Barbara Bembry (no relation) is the last remaining Republican justice of the peace in Travis County. She holds the Precinct 2 seat in the western part of the county. But chatter has emerged that Democrat Amy Clark Meachum, a partner at McGinnis Lochridge and Kilgore, may run against her in 2010.

Clark Meachum isn't ready to say she's running yet, but told me, "I appreciate the encouragement I have received from party leaders, elected officials and donors who have asked me to run for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, and I am very interested in the prospect of running. I have always wanted to be a judge and believe there is a lot of honor in the profession, especially for JPs, who handle a very tough docket and oversee very personal cases for people who are most often not represented by attorneys."

For the record, TexBlog PAC had our first fundraiser at Amy Clark Meachum and her husband's house in 2007.  

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