By David Wilfong, NDG Contributing Writer
Wini Cannon is defying common wisdom and recent electoral history as she is running for Dallas County Commissioner in District 2. Normally seen as a GOP stronghold, Cannon is not convinced the right Democrat couldn’t win there.
Cannon is no stranger to campaigning, as she ran for a city council seat in 2015. That campaign was unsuccessful, eventually being won by Casey Thomas, but Cannon said she received a lot of encouragement and supporters asking her to run again.
“There was a push for me to run in one of the judicial positions,” Cannon recalled. “Looking around, I found myself wanting to take on more of a legislative role. Then there was an open seat (on the Commissioners Court) as the incumbent was retiring. No Democrat has ever tried to run for commissioners court in District 2, because the lines are drawn to be a solid red district.”
As to why she is running for office in the first place, Cannon said it was the result of years working in the legal profession and being active in the community. She has 35 years of experience as an attorney, has worked as a substitute teacher in public schools and a professor in both graduate and undergraduate courses. Now she’s looking to reach out in a new direction, where she believes she can do the most good.
“Working as an associate municipal judge, I realized that I could only impact one life at a time, or one family at a time,” Cannon said. “This would be an opportunity to do something positive for the entire community.”
Jail reform is one of her top priorities as a potential commissioner, though she said fixing the problems would take a collaborative effort between the commissioners, judges and the sheriff’s office. She would also like to see the county being supportive of the school district. She thinks there needs to be a more equitable relationship with the state government, and that is where a lot of her attention lies.
“One of the most important things the Commissioners Court does is set the budget,” Cannon said. “The state government is not really paying its fair share. I want to make the legislature more accountable in how money is distributed back to the communities.”
In terms of property valuations, Cannon believes corporations have been able to avoid paying their share as well. As a commissioner, she will be looking for such areas as opportunities for revenue growth and trying to make sure there’s no waste along the way.
She will be facing off against both a Republican and Libertarian in the general election
She is rather complimentary of Libertarian candidate Alberto Perez, who has experience working in education and sports coaching.
“I wouldn’t marginalize or diminish anything that anyone has ever done,’ Cannon said. “But I think I’ve been around longer. I have a lot of energy, and most importantly, I’m a listener. I’ve been out in the community, and when nobody was looking I did the work to help people out. The things we face in Dallas County; we really do not need a neophyte.”
Her Republican challenger is J.J. Koch, an attorney with experience in private practice and as a prosecutor. He also serves as an attorney for the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police. She’s not quite as reserved when it comes to this opponent.
“He’s been called a ‘hot-head’ and a ‘loose cannon,” Cannon said. “He’s very far right wing and his views are very myopic. If he gets on (the Commissioners Court) he’s just going to be combative and fight with the other commissioners.”
Cannon said Koch’s views on issues such as Confederate statues and support of Trump’s immigration policies should be a concern for all voters in District 2. Temperament is a big issue and one where she sees herself with a clear advantage over her GOP rival. She has also received some encouragement from Republicans who have concerns over the candidate who won the hotly-contested GOP primary for the position, and says in the end party shouldn’t be that important when it comes time to vote.
“What we should be concerned about is how are we going to collect all this money, and how are we going to spend it for all the people,” Cannon said.
The vote for Dallas County Commissioners, District 2 will be part of the Nov. 6 ballot. Early voting begins on Oct. 22 and runs until Nov. 2. Voter registration ends on Oct. 9.