By: Danielle Abril
FORT WORTH -Angela Tucker and Scott Turner recently made history by becoming the first blacks elected by Collin County voters to nonmunicipal posts.
Both Republicans won primary elections May 29 and are unopposed in the general election Nov. 6.
Turner will be sworn in Jan. 8 to represent the newly created Texas House District 33, which serves Rockwall and portions of Collin County. Tucker was sworn in as judge of the 199th District Court Friday after being appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to succeed retiring judge Robert Dry. She will take the bench Monday. Her elected term begins in January.
“I think it’s significant, because as Collin County grows, it’s becoming more diverse and more conservative,” said Fred Moses, chairman of the Collin County Republican Party. “Our party is looking for good-quality people that represent our principles and values.”
Moses was elected in 2008 by Republican precinct captains, becoming the first Black politician to serve in a countywide post.
But both Tucker and Turner consider the outcomes of their races a clear sign that residents are more concerned with the quality of candidates than their ethnicity. Tucker beat opponent Bob Dry III, Robert Dry’s son, with 56 percent of the vote. Turner beat opponent Jim Pruitt with 57 percent of the vote.
“I’m very proud of the citizens of Collin County — that race and color was not an issue,” said Tucker, a McKinney resident. “I don’t just represent those with my same skin color but everyone in the county.”
“My campaign was never focused on me being an African-American conservative,” Frisco resident Turner said. “It was based on me being a conservative leader regardless of my background.”
Blacks made up 8.5 percent of the county’s population in 2010, a percentage that has almost doubled since 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The growth came as the county’s total population grew from 491,675 to 782,341.
Turner said his main goal as a state representative is to minimize the role of government while keeping taxes low, regulations fair and business thriving. Tucker is hoping to increase the efficiency of the district courts as they handle the needs of a growing population. Both Tucker and Turner come from humble backgrounds and said their early life experiences led them to careers in politics.
Tucker said when she was 6 years old and living in Sherman, she watched her mother go through a divorce and suffer the consequences of not understanding her legal rights.
“She had no power because she was relying on her attorney,” Tucker said. “I made up my mind I was never going to be in that position.” She attended the University of Texas and Southern Methodist University’s law school. She has been in private practice for 11 years in McKinney and campaigned to be judge for 219th District Court last year. She lost to Scott Becker.
Turner, a Richardson native, credits his success to the knowledge he gained from overcoming obstacles during his youth. His parents divorced when he was about 8 years old. He worked hard in school and later at his part-time job at Spring Creek Barbeque in Richardson, while dreaming of someday playing in the NFL.
“I was told I’d never make it,” said Turner. Turner was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1995 and during the off-season served as an intern for U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.