Richard Greene

Midterm election voters speak decisively, confusedly

Here are a few takeaways impacting our community resulting from the heated elections concluded last Tuesday.

First, Arlington voters saw two words on their ballots that conveyed a message they found compelling, even if they didn’t look beyond the natural appeal those words implied.

The question voters faced boiled down to a decision to establish term limits for those holding political office. Reports from those greeting voters arriving at polling locations throughout the city found that many of them thought the proposal would limit the time representatives in Congress and the Texas Legislature could serve.

No such proposition actually existed on the ballot – a reality that seemed to escape many who may have thought it did.

Nevertheless, the sole author of the term limit proposal that would impact only the mayor and members of the Arlington city council declared the outcome as a “rebuke” of current leadership.

That ridiculous assertion will be put to rest when the city’s enormously popular mayor wins a landslide re-election victory next spring.

In the meantime, Mayor Jeff Williams and his city council colleagues will proceed to assemble a widespread, diverse citizen task force to craft a term limits plan without the extreme defects deliberately designed into the one that now has modified Arlington’s city charter.

Gone will be the constitutionally prohibited retroactive provision that would remove council members selected by voters in previous elections. Gone will be the lifetime ban on anyone who again would like to seek public service after laying out for a period of time following the expiration of their initial terms in office.

Restored would be the power of citizens to choose those they wanted to manage the public affairs of their city – which is precisely what nearly 37,000 voters who voted against the flawed plan seemed to say.

Protected will be the future success of a city that is in a period of great momentum resulting in a higher quality of life for all its citizens.

Second, local voters wisely provided themselves with someone who would represent their best interests in the Texas Senate. The victorious challenger to Empower Texans’ hold on that vital seat in the state’s upper chamber will restore power to the people – where it belongs.

Senator-elect Beverly Powell’s defeat of Konni Burton sends a powerful message that decisions of who represents us will be in our hands and not that of West Texas oil barons, and their millions of campaign money, attempting to take away citizens’ control of our communities.

We will again have a representative who will meet with local elected officials and the legislative teams working for cities, school boards, and our county to address issues before the legislature that impact the lives of people throughout North Texas.

Third, I found it very surprising that our new Congressman-elect Ron Wright failed to win a majority in Tarrant County. Even with his strong reputation in Arlington and familiar name across the county, he lost it by almost 10,000 votes.

The rural areas of his district brought him the victory but Democrats will look at the much-closer-than-expected outcome and will be thinking of a challenge to the freshman two years from now.

In the meantime, he joins the U. S. House of Representatives as a member of the party that has lost its power there. The result for Wright is that he, along with his Republican colleagues, will have little to show in the way of conservative legislative achievements during the upcoming sessions.

Finally, while Democrats celebrate their takeover of the House, their euphoria could prove to be premature. It is more likely that their promised pursuit of investigations and impeachments of both the president and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would serve only to solidify Trump’s base and ensure him of winning a second term two years from now.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor, served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency and lectures at UT Arlington.