Lamar County Democratic Party Chairman puts on the Red Hat
With the upcoming November elections, the Hat sits down for a question & answer session with Gary O’Conner, the Chairman of the Lamar County Democratic Party.
Question 1: Tell us about yourself?
Gary: My family moved here in 1959 from New York State when I was 14. I went to school at Central High School in Sumner until my senior year and I graduated from Paris High School. I attended the University Of Texas in Austin and got my degree in Plant Ecology. From 1962 to 1968 I was in the Air Force Reserves here stateside. We had farmed in New York before moving to Texas and then we farmed in Direct, so we had farmed for over 50 years up until eight years ago. I owned an Insurance business here for 30 years also, so I have always been self-employed. My wife Emily is a retired High School Principle and we have been married for 31 years. We each had 2 daughters from previous marriages and have 10 grandchildren.
Question 2: How long have you been involved with local politics, how did you become the chair and how long have you held the position?
Gary: Officially, 9 months. I never became operationally involved until last September and was asked to run for the Party Chairman. So I was elected in the March 2014 Democratic Primary and took the position in May. I have been very much interested in how things ticked over the years and always have been mostly independent but leaned democratic. I am a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. I have supported some republicans in the past such as Bush 1 and Ratliff. I worked locally on Bill Clinton’s campaign.
Question 3: Who will be appointed for the ballot for Constable Precinct 1 by Aug 25th?
Gary: Mandy Garner will be nominated and we will officially file her with the County Elections Administrator before Monday August 25th.
Question 4: There was a huge party change a few years ago, why do you think that is?
Gary: “Because America elected a black President.” I think that was the driving force and I think people figured it would hurt them to get elected on the Democratic ticket.
Question 5: How do you feel about straight party ticket and why?
Gary: I am in favor of a two party system, but would like to see a 3rd viable Independent Party. I have never voted straight party in my life, but I might this year. I am so impressed with the candidates at the local and state levels. Both parties have qualified candidates in general, but I believe in equal treatment & opportunity. I can’t find anything I don’t like with our candidates running democrat this year. I think the republican side controls more money and that is driving their success.
Question 6: What direction do you see your party going – obstacles, issues?
Gary: My favorite quote is “Republicans don’t elect Republicans, Democrats who don’t vote elect Republicans!” My goal is rebuilding the Democratic Party in Lamar County. We have a strong voter registration program going and we are out to win.
Question 7: Why vote your party?
Gary: Because it stands for equal opportunity, equal justice, economic fairness and tax fairness. It recognizes that infrastructure is at a State & Federal level, is important, and the people who us it – big business the most – they should be paying for it. Businesses are the primary user of the services and they need to pay their fair share.
*One Alibi Disclaimer, Gary stated that he wished the cowboy hat was Blue!
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