Some decisions just make themselves

It’s hard to give props to a politician when ulterior motives sometimes dictate their moves, but our State Representative made a decision two weeks ago that struck me as showing he knows what’s important.

As you’ve read by now, District 20 Rep. Dan Gattis has chosen not to run again, citing the need to spend more time with family.

Dan made a decision that shows he’s put his priorities in order with family first. He and wife Shana have three young children, the oldest being six.

It was no easy decision for him. Dan’s pedigree is tailor-made for success in Texas politics. He graduated from Texas A&M with four years in the Corps of Cadets, and he’s a former assistant prosecutor in tough-on-crime Williamson County. He is now half of a two-man law firm specializing in business law.

A lot of blue-bloods in the northeast U.S. (or even in Dallas) who ship their kids off to boarding schools probably wouldn’t understand walking away from a political career with unlimited potential. But Dan had to ask himself some tough questions as his children started to grow up.

“How can you stand up and advocate for ‘family values’ without practicing them?” he asked rhetorically when he spoke to Rockdale Rotary Club last week, his first public appearance since making this decision.

He got emotional when talking about his six-year-old son, something I can relate to, having two little guys at home.

Shana must have the patience of Job to keep up with three little ones and deal with Dan’s hectic schedule. Dan started to question the necessity of all the time demands when he was leaving for yet another speech. His six-yearold stood in the front yard with a baseball and glove in his hands and tears in his eyes.

Ouch. Of course, he still has a living to make, and with the economy dragging like it has been, he’ll be able to devote more time to his law firm. But most days ending at 5 p.m. and far fewer trips to the State Capitol will mean more time for throwing the ball and wrestling and maybe even enjoying some “tea” with his daughters.

Dan has his detractors and this is certainly no plug for the GOP. In the past few years, I’ve thought they should change the acronym to Grouchy Old Pharisees instead of Grand Ol’ Party. But here’s a decision this Republican nailed.

A whole lot of what’s wrong with our entire country is that too many daddies don’t or won’t make time for their kids. “Quality time” with the kids is a b.s. phrase thought up by yuppies trying to support too much lifestyle with both parents working and the children being ignored. “Quantity time” will produce the quality time, good relationships and the well-adjusted kids.

I differ with Dan on plenty in politics, but I completely respect this decision he made. I’ve come to know him as a decent man, having sent condolences when my brother died in 2008 and congratulations when my father won an award.

Politics will still be there when and if he wants to return. It has quite a shelf life and he has made valuable connections since 2002.

His kids will only be young once. No mat ter how much people may second-guess, this is a decision he’ll never regret. And when your heart is in the right place, some decisions make themselves.


One thing we’ll put on hold until after the election will be the weekly column from our County Judge Frank Summers. Since he has drawn an election opponent in Dave Barkemeyer, that column gets to look like advertising for an incumbent.

As usual, all candidates running in races are given one free article to introduce themselves. We ask that you keep it about you and not about your opponent.

May the best men (or women) win.

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2009-12-10 digital edition

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