Mr. Oak Cliff, Jason Roberts, is the subject of our Q&A in the February Advocate. I always think of Roberts as the mayor of Oak Cliff, and if the stars align just right, he could become Congressman Roberts.
Roberts Tweeted last week: “Exploring a run for Congress. With redistricting up in the air, it’s going to be an incredibly short campaign for the primary.”
Much of our neighborhood currently falls in the district of Rep. Pete Sessions, and a small part falls into Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson’s district. But congressional redistricting could put north Oak Cliff in Rep. Joe Barton’s district, or it could put our neighborhood in a new district, District 33. If either of those things happen, Roberts says, he will run for the seat.
Barton is a Republican who lives in Ennis. He’s a rural dweller with an anti-homosexual voting record who sponsored legislation to repeal a law that banned energy-wasting incandescent light bulbs. But you may remember Barton best as the guy who apologized to BP, accusing President Obama of a “$20-billion shakedown” after the oil titan spilled 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 men and causing irreparable damage to the environment.
Could that person fairly represent our neighborhood? Roberts asks. Someone should run against him if that happens, Roberts thinks, and he is not the type of guy to wait for someone else to act.
Roberts also feels spurred into political action because the House is proposing to eliminate funding to grant programs that pay for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, which would “put us back 20 years,” Roberts says.
Because of redistricting, the primary will be shortened to 30-50 days, which would make running for Congress a lot cheaper. A congressional primary of six months would cost at least $1 million, Roberts says. And if our neighborhood winds up in a new district with an open seat, Roberts thinks his chances of winning could increase.
“There won’t be a lot of time,” he says. “We’ve got to pinpoint the message and get it out there.”