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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

Changing of the guard

The talk of the town, or county that is, for the next few weeks will focus on who will replace Congressman Tom DeLay and how the process of choosing that candidate will unfold.

Some believe the candidate will come from a deal cutting, behind the scenes, smoke-filled room, if you will. In other words, skeptics believe whoever is chosen to fill the shoes of DeLay and face Democrat candidate Nick Lampson in the Nov. general election, has already been decided by a handful of power mongers in the party.

But that would be very difficult at best because no one knows how this whole thing is going to materialize. For one thing, Tom hasn’t officially stepped down and until he does nothing can be done. For another thing, no one is quite sure who will be chosen as the “chooser” to represent Fort Bend County’s choice.

I understand the jockeying is on as far as who from the Fort Bend Republican Party will garner that coveted seat on the panel. Whoever it is, I hope the party has the foresight to realize (and I am sure they are all too aware of this) that the person must be respected, well known and wield some power or their opinions will get lost in the shuffle.

Right now no one knows exactly how the candidate will be chosen. Last weekend Harris County interviewed the prime contenders and from what I understand the interview followed a lengthy questionnaire. The questionnaire was sent to each potential candidate prior to the interviews. All of this was done behind closed doors.

Here in Fort Bend everyone is touting an open door, public forum, for the review and whether or not that will happen remains to be seen. I fear the race to win a seat on the selection panel may override the focus on who is the best candidate and who that candidate ultimately will be.

Currently in Fort Bend, the names being discussed for the Fort Bend representative are Pat Hebert, wife of Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert, and state Republican Party Executive Committee member Teresa Raia.

It is going to be interesting to see how this plays out. I’m not really sure if this is a quest to choose a candidate that can win District 22 or a contest to see whether Harris County, Brazoria County and Galveston County can unseat Fort Bend County’s hold on the District 22 slot in Congress.

With time of the essence, I hope the four counties will bring forth a strong candidate without the predicted blood-letting that could result. If not, there is little doubt, according to Republican insiders, that the chosen candidate will not have time to adequately campaign for the Nov. election. If the candidate that is chosen doesn’t have time to energize the voters and put a fire under them to bring them to the polls, the likelihood is that Nick Lampson, who is not mired down in the wait and see if I can campaign mode, will be out there knocking on doors, shaking hands, kissing babies and focusing on the confusion or controversy within the Republican Party.

We will just have to wait and see if the Republicans can circle the wagons. One thing is for sure—Tom DeLay has left us with one hell of a mess!


Contact skinnerc1@ev1.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  September 07, 2006