Texas officeholder eligibility more open than most think

Estate of Denial® routinely talks about the  lack of integrity we see within all too many elected officials.  Here in our home state of Texas, doesn’t this article just remind of exactly how few standards exist with regard to qualifications for officeholders.

Simply because one is a convicted sex-offender does not bar that person from serving in some Texas elected offices.

And that’s the way it should be, says Mary Sue Molnar, director of Texas Voices for Reason and Justice.

“Anybody who doesn’t have a conviction has a right just like anyone else to run for office,” Molnar told the Amarillo Globe-News in a Thursday story. The San Antonio-based nonprofit organization she works for advocates for reforming sex offender laws to specify violent and nonviolent offenders.

Take the case of former Skellytown Mayor Warren Andrew Mills.

The 73-year-old pleaded guilty in 2007 to two counts of indecency with a child, according to Texas Department of Public Safety records, reports the Globe-News’ Bobby Cervantes. The two girls involved were 8 and 16 years old at the time.

Mills stepped down about a month later.

But last week, Mills returned to public office. He won 51 of 146 votes to become a Skellytown city council member.

“We have people who have been charged with DWIs (and) they’re still running,” Molnar told the Globe-News. “Ultimately, it’s up to the voters.”

But things didn’t turn out so well for another Texas resident in 2008, Cervantes reports.

Registered sex offender James Brian Sliter’s run for mayor of Wilmer, a Dallas suburb, prompted death threats against the accountant and his friends. He pleaded guilty four years earlier to showing up to an Internet chat room sting where he thought he was going to meet a 15-year-old girl, for which he received 10 years’ probation. A week after announcing his mayoral bid, he dropped out of the race, according to reports.

Mills’ offense is not a felony, so he can run for and serve on the city council, according to state law.


Texas law allows former sex offenders to run for public office
Mike Cronin
May 18, 2012
Texas Watchdog

And don’t forget that civil cases in no way preclude an individual from running for office.  Public knowledge of such cases might influence an outcome and conversely, lack of public knowledge can allow really bad outcomes.  The public expects the media to do the “heavy lifting” on their candidates, the media can’t in some cases where there’s just so much to cover, they won’t in others for a variety of reasons.

These days, voters need to understand they share in the responsibility of doing homework on candidates.  The days of “somebody” needing to do “something” are past.  In today’s world, that “somebody” is you!

  • Sammie_Jo

    I’m sorry, but if you have been convicted of a crime, I don’t believe you should serve in ANY public office, EVER!