By Sarah Carlson, Copy Editor
ACU alumnus and former Harris County District Judge Ted Poe was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 2 to represent Texas’ 2nd District.
Republican Poe ran and won against incumbent Democrat Nick Lampson from the old District 9 with 55 percent of the vote. Last year’s redistricting put Lampson in the new District 2, which included Humble, the town outside of Houston where Poe has lived for 27 years. Poe said the new district contained about 50 percent new constituents and 50 percent of Lampson’s, and the campaign ran smoothly.
He said he decided to run for Congress as a change of pace, having spent so many years on the judge’s bench.
“As a judge, I’ve done everything I’d want to do,” Poe said. “I’ve tried all the cases I’d like to, and now I’m ready to take on another endeavor.”
Poe served as the district judge for 22 years, trying 25,000 cases and became famous for his creative sentencing of criminals through the use of shame as punishment.
Before his appointment as a Harris County judge, Poe served as chief felony prosecutor with the Harris Country District Attorney fresh out of the University of Houston Law Center, and he didn’t lose a case for eight years. In 1999, he helped write legislation allowing Texas judges to order public notice of a crime in probation cases, with his punishments gaining national media attention from 60 Minutes, 20/20, Dateline NBC and National Geographic as well as international newscasts. He has also appeared on the FOX News Channel, MSNBC and CNN as a political and legal analyst.
Now a member of Congress and beginning what he calls his third career, Poe said he wants to focus on unnecessary government spending, a tax structure, which he feels is becoming increasingly unfair to the working middle class, terrorism, immigration and the costs of medical health care.
“I want to stay as long as it’s necessary to make a positive difference,” Poe said.
Poe graduated from ACC in 1970 with a degree in political science and later was a member of ACU’s Board of Trustees from 1991-2004, stepping down after his election to Congress.
“I loved it; I loved serving on that board,” Poe said. “It’s a tremendous school … it is a unique institution.”
All four of Poe’s and his wife, Carol’s, children attended ACU, with three graduating and one later graduating from Harding University. While he was a student here, Poe was the political editor for the Optimist, his class’ president twice and the president of the men’s social club Galaxy.
“I have deep roots with Abilene Christian,” he said.
Poe said he would encourage current students to choose a career where they can make a difference, but he warns that public service offers little monetary gain. Nevertheless, he said he didn’t become involved in service to earn money.
“Go and pick a career that you enjoy, but pick a career where you can make an impact with people-it’s all about people,” Poe said.