Candidate for City Council, District 3: Aubrey "Robbie" Robertson
By Aubrey "Robbie" Robertson
The three issues that are most important for the Representative of District III to focus on are:
- Criminal Justice, and
The economic impact of the pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for our city and county leaders to address the importance of getting people back to work. One of the easiest ways we can do this is to focus on and promote city infrastructure projects.
This has the benefit of accomplishing multiple goals:
- Better streets and sidewalks just look nicer. As Waco continues to grow and attract new businesses and tourists the importance of the aesthetic appeal of our city cannot be underestimated. Frankly, people like things to look nice, and I want businesses and tourists to have a positive impression of Waco. There are sections of District Three, especially areas between Waco Drive and Bosque Blvd, where the road conditions are absolutely atrocious. We should take more pride in our roadways and spend the money necessary to address the issues that exist. Addressing poor street conditions can also help raise property values, which in turn can result in more money in the city coffers in terms of property taxes.
- Fixing our infrastructure offers quality employment opportunities. We are going to need to put people back to work when we begin to emerge from restrictions put in place to address the Covid-19 pandemic. The jobs created by fixing an aging infrastructure can be a source of stable income for families that need it most. Jobs in the construction industry often pay well, but it isn’t just about income – these jobs also often come with benefits such as health care and retirement options.
- Better/more sidewalks address safety concerns and promote a sense of community. Like many Wacoans, I’ve spent much of the time during the pandemic working from home. Being trapped in the house all day can result in a bit of cabin fever, so back in the Spring I began going for walks every evening. Where I live, in West Waco off Chapel Drive, there is an absolute dearth of sidewalks, which means I found myself walking on busy neighborhood streets. What I also noticed as time went by was more and more people were spending time outside in the evenings in an effort to cope with being stuck inside all day. I began to see people, like myself, out for evening walks and here we all were walking in the street. The lack of sidewalks poses a risk for pedestrians and drivers, and it is such an easy problem to fix.
As a former Chief Felony Prosecutor with the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office and as someone who currently represents citizens charged with serious crimes, criminal justice issues are always on my mind. Let me state clearly and unequivocally I DO NOT support any effort to defund the police. I don’t want fewer police, I want better police.
For too long we as a society have asked more and more of our police forces and we have not given them the tools and recourses needed for them to do their jobs. It is not the responsibility of the police departments to deal with the issue of homelessness or the mentally ill or school disciplinary issues. We need to reexamine all of the things we ask our officers to do and determine if there is a better way to address some of those problems. Maybe that means spending more money on programs designed to help homeless individuals get back on their feet, or investing more in MHMR services and making those services more widely and readily available.
Often times arresting people and putting them in the county jail is treating a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. We have to encourage our officers to get out into the community and meet the people whom they are sworn to protect and serve. Officers should be encouraged to step out of their patrol cars and talk with citizens, maybe walk up and down some of those new sidewalks I think we should build. If we can build and foster relationships between the citizenry and law enforcement we can address potential problems before they rise to the level of someone needing to go to jail.
We also have to hold our law enforcement officers to account when they do something wrong. We cannot, and I won’t, be afraid to confront injustice that occurs at the hands of an officer that is out of line. I’ve prosecuted dirty cops and I’ve represented cops who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. Our guiding principle has to be that we stand for EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW - you should not be treated differently because of the color of your skin and your badge is not a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. I’ve met and befriended many officers in my time working in the criminal justice system, I’ve seen how upset they get when one of their own steps out of line. Good cops can, and should, be our best allies when it comes to addressing injustices committed by bad cops.
Education is the silver bullet to all other problems. We must make sure our children are able to attend schools that foster and promote their development as complete individuals. Schools must be safe. The idea of safety takes on a completely new meaning in the age of a Covid-19, and we should not put our students and teachers in a position where they feel they must choose between their health and getting an education. We should work closely with local school districts to provide resources to help sanitize and maintain a clean environment for our children, and we should promote remote learning and do what we can to put the necessary technology in the hands of students and parents. Better schools benefit every citizen, and school districts shouldn’t shoulder the burden alone.
Biographical Information for Aubrey "Robbie" Robertson
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. After attending Baylor University, where I graduated with a degree in Political Science, I moved to New York City to attend New York Law School. While in law school, I participated in a Criminal Law Clinic, provisionally licensed, and able to represent low-income individuals in criminal court through a partnership with The Legal Aid Society. I also had the opportunity to clerk for New York Supreme Court Judge Lewis Bart Stone; my clerkship and my experience with The Legal Aid Society really cemented my love for criminal law. In 2008, I moved back to Texas, took the Bar Exam, and began work as an Assistant DA in Harris County. After several years as a prosecutor in Houston, I went into the private sector as a criminal defense attorney. In 2014, there was an opening for an Assistant District Attorney with the McLennan County DA’s Office and I jumped at the opportunity to move back to Waco. I rose to the level of Chief Felony Prosecutor where I handled the most serious cases and supervised other prosecutors handling a range of felony cases. After the 2018 election I was fired from the DA’s Office, the Waco-Trib wrote a great article about it and I suggest you Google it. Since 2018, I’ve been working at The Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C. where I focus on Personal Injury Law and Criminal Defense. I enjoy helping people when they find themselves injured at the hands of another or caught on the wrong side of law. Whether it was my work as a prosecutor or my work in the private sector, I feel called to help people less fortunate than myself, and I hope to be able to do so for many years to come.