Royce West
Royce West

Texas Senate

I can’t overemphasize the importance of voting to those who are eligible. Not only are you voting for your interests, you’re also voting for the future and for those who can’t or won’t.

I was elected 26 years ago to represent the citizens of Dallas County who reside in Texas Senatorial District 23. It would be a grave moral and legal violation for me if I personally didn’t vote to act in the best interest of all Dallas County cities, as well as on behalf of others across the state.

In fact, my voting record is public record, as are those of all elected officials. In my opinion, if we are not voting, then we should be removed from office.

But what about the average citizen who can register and vote but doesn’t or won’t? Inclement or beautiful weather are both used as excuses for not voting. Sadly, responses to jury duty summonses are just as feeble and unconscionable.

Such trite excuses run the gamut from legitimate to downright ridiculous. And if there was ever a time when we need to ensure that the courtrooms are filled with jurors ready to serve, the time is now.

This is also the time for strong, bold, inclusive leadership. That’s why I stand with many of Dallas’ elected and community leaders who have pledged their support of Texas state Rep. Eric Johnson in his quest to become Dallas’ next mayor.

Johnson’s home is Dallas. Born in West Dallas, he attended Greenhill School, then Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in history. In addition to a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, he received his master’s degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Currently the husband of Nakita and a father to two sons, Johnson represents District 100, which includes parts of Dallas and Mesquite, in the Texas House of Representatives.

The representative has been awarded the Achievement Award from the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program, the Dallas Regional Chamber’s first Courage in Public Service Award for his work in higher education, and he has been named one of the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce’s “Five Outstanding Young Texans.”

His leadership has caught the eyes of many across the country, including President Barack Obama, who endorsed Johnson for reelection, saying he deserved support because he was “not running against something, but for something – to expand opportunity for all of us and to restore dignity, honor and compassion to public service.”

I could go on and on about the many accolades that Johnson has garnered over the years. Instead, I want to talk about why you shouldn’t let anything stop you from making a vote for Johnson your priority on Saturday. Johnson has distinguished himself as a legislator, consensus builder and visionary leader.

Dallas touts an image of international acclaim, a place where everyone is accepted and appreciated. A vote for Johnson is a step toward making that vision a reality.

I’ve worked closely with Johnson in the Texas Legislature, and I strongly support him for mayor of Dallas because he has the experience, education and political savvy that will make him an effective mayor and a great ambassador for our city. He is thoughtful and energetic, and he will provide the leadership that Dallas needs at this moment in history.

The son of a former Dallas police officer, he grew up in Dallas and returned to his hometown immediately upon completing his formal education. He has been a leading voice for expanding access to early childhood education, fighting public corruption, funding much-needed street repairs and improving public safety.

For times like these, we need Johnson.

State Sen. Royce West represents the 23rd Senatorial District on behalf of the citizens of Dallas County. He was first elected to the Texas Senate in November 1992.

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