Driving this morning along U.S. 380 to McKinney, Texas, I noticed the highway is festooned with campaign signs in advance of the March primary election.
One sign caught my attention, not because I support the fellow whose name is on it. The sign said “Cris Trevino … Republican” for constable in Collin County.
I don’t know Cris Trevino from the Man in the Moon, but what caught my interest was the term “Republican” on a sign pitching a candidacy for constable.
My first thought was: Why should I care whether this guy is a Republican or a Democrat?
My second thought was: What is the difference in the way a Republican or Democrat serves court papers to individuals, which is what constables generally are assigned to do?
I’ll stipulate up front that I detest the constable’s office in the first place. We don’t need constables, but we have ’em because the Texas Constitution says we should have ’em.
I dislike the partisan election of so many of our down-ballot offices. Constables need not identify with one party or the other. The only qualification they need to demonstrate is whether they are fit to serve as a law enforcement officer. I mean, why must we turn cops into politicians?
I have in the past made the argument that we can turn a whole array of down-ballot races into non-partisan choices. County clerk? County treasurer? Tax assessor-collector? District clerk? District attorney? County attorney?
What the … ?
Why must we identify these individuals by the political party to which they belong? I already have spoken on this blog about the partisan election of judges. No need to repeat myself on that one.
If we cannot get rid of the constable’s office — which owes its existence to a powerful lobby at work in Austin — then we ought at least force the individuals running for this office to do so on their qualifications and not on the party to which they belong.