Race for County Judge: Diana Leggett
Diana Leggett is a Democratic challenger for the Denton County Judge position who hopes she can occupy the seat with her experience and care for the county. Leggett moved from San Francisco to Denton County in the 80s, and she said she wants to lead with kindness while hearing everyone out, something she has yet to see.
This year the Denton County Judge position has been magnified due to the debate of the Confederate memorial on the Courthouse lawn. Judge Mary Horn, who announced she would retire this year, has been in the midst of a heated discussion stoked by longtime activist Willie Hudspeth. He announced he would also run to take Horn's place, evidently unsatisfied with her tenure.
“People have concerns and issues. People have a right to speak, why don’t we hear it?” Leggett said.
Her first order of business: remove that statue.
Leggett said she asked Judge Horn to create the current committee looking into the memorial, and it was created three days later. Leggett sees the committee formation as a win, but she already has a few ideas lined up if she were to become County Judge. Leggett said she would look into funding UNT or TWU for a museum with community involvement.
“It needs to be in context and it needs to have representation from everybody,” Leggett said.
By day, Leggett is a paralegal but has lead a life of several trades. Once a galleried artist and art teacher, she is also a wildlife rehabilitator serving as current president of WildRescue, Inc., and is the nation’s expert on eastern cottontail rabbits among an extensive resume of work.
“I’ve done some weird things, some great things,” Leggett said. “You look at your accomplishments and go, ‘oh heck yes I can do this.’”
Leggett said she wants the Commissioners Court to be more available to the public.
“I want to move the government around. I don’t want to sit all the time behind this tall bench and pontificate down to people. I want all those commissioners, all four of them, they are responsible for their district, correct? So, why aren’t we holding town halls in that district?” Leggett said.
She said there would be no more awkward time frames where people could not attend meetings. If they can’t hear everyone out, she will make special sessions. If people can’t make it out, she said she wants to come to them.
“I could care less if those commissioners want to do that or not, it needs to be accessible,” Leggett said.
Much of Leggett’s concerns stem from pure questioning of what is in practice at the moment.
She said she saves about a thousand animals a year for the county with no physical or financial help.
“If I don’t get any help, what about battered women? What about Friends of the Family?” Leggett said. “To me, it’s all the same sphere. We are supposed to help each other, so why isn’t the county allocating some funds?”
Leggett said many issues in the county are present as a lack of kindness to one another. She said she wants to look into why there aren’t county-wide, community programs for disenfranchised people.
“I think that if we are not all for each other, for whoever we are, at whatever point in our lives we are in, then we need to really think about what we are contributing to our communities and our families,” Leggett said.
Leggett said she has two forensic experts and they will look into how the budget works. She also wants to make the budget more transparent, saying that finding the line item requires digging and should be easily navigated.
Environmental conservation matters to Leggett as she wants to look into renewable energy and quality of water in the county.
In addition to her ideas, Leggett said she wants people to know it’s a two-way conversation.
“I want somebody to tell me what they would like to see in Denton County because the other thing is, I’m a big solution person,” Leggett said. “What would you like to see happen? What would you like to see in your communities? What has happened to our communities?”
This is not a stepping stone for Leggett. She has no intentions of leaving the community. She said she may not be well acquainted with politician speak, but she believes she has the expertise and leadership to accomplish a hefty amount with the position.
“I have a new passion and I have to grow into it,” Legget said.” “[But] that everything is feasible, rational, attainable – I think all of these are.”
The primary election is March 6 and early voting opens February 21. The deadline to register to vote in the primary election is February 5. For more information, check out her Facebook campaign page:
Header image courtesy of Diana for Denton.
Header layout design by Holden Foster.