O’Hare, who was elected to the position in November, believes it is important that people know where he stands on issues that matter to legislators and Texans.
As the chief elected official in the third largest county in the state, O’Hare believes he can use his role, influence, and the relationships he has to influence legislation.
He also would like to “rebuild and repair relationships with statewide and local elected officials” that have suffered in recent years. “I think it is better to work with them rather than antagonize them,” he told The Texan.
With the Texas Legislature in session, O’Hare says rarely a week goes by that he doesn’t speak to one or more local legislators.
O’Hare has focused on property tax relief since he started his campaign and continues in that vein with his legislative priorities.
He is looking for the Legislature to provide “transformative tax relief” and a “generational change to the property tax system.”
“I’m not talking about just temporary relief and a buy down,” O’Hare noted; he wants to see a reset of the tax system. He also supports any intermittent steps that provide tax relief, including raising the homestead exemption, capping appraisals, and limiting the frequency of reappraisals.
He recently had a Tarrant County resident visit his office and describe a property tax bill that had more than doubled from $6,500 in 2013 to $14,500 in 2022.
“We’ve reached the point that people are renting their homes from government entities,” O’Hare emphasized.
Along with Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn and Tarrant County District Attorney Phil Sorrells, O’Hare has established an election integrity task force.
While some argue that election integrity is not an issue, O’Hare has a different perspective. He recited cases of candidates forging signatures on candidate filing petitions, an election judge fearing for her safety due to intimidating actions at a polling place, and indictments and pending investigations of election law violations.
“We hope this serves as a deterrent,” O’Hare said of the task force. “We want people to feel their elections are secure, have confidence that their vote counts, and have faith in the election process.”
The task force would include a dedicated group that is trained in election law to answer calls about questionable practices or other concerns.
Additionally, the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office would have a group dedicated to investigating offenses, and the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office would have a group dedicated to prosecutions.
O’Hare also sees the importance of connecting mothers with needed resources and removing whatever barriers impede adoptions for those who choose that path. He added that the county is working to foster coordination of faith-based groups in the area that serve mothers and their children.
Other legislative priorities O’Hare lists include protecting children in a variety of ways, from sexual drag shows and using county law enforcement to stop them, to improving school security and stopping gender modification of minors.
O’Hare also believes the state should do whatever possible to secure the border and wants to see all law enforcement agencies adopt Section 287(g) agreements with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Section 287 agreements allow local law enforcement agencies to “perform limited immigration law enforcement functions after receiving appropriate training.”
The Tarrant County Commissioners Court adopted its own legislative agenda on February 7. There is some overlap between O’Hare’s list and the county’s, such as support of law enforcement, supporting property tax and appraisal reform, and supporting additional adoption resources in the county.
The 88th Texas Legislature convened on January 9 and will conclude on May 29. Tarrant County’s legislative delegation is made up of four state senators, all Republicans, and 11 state representatives, seven Republicans and four Democrats.
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Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.