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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

On The Record: Ron Melugin

For this week's installment of On The Record, I spoke with Ron Melugin, Cooke County Democratic Party Chair.

How did you get started in politics? Did you come to it in your youth or later on?

I became involved as a young adult. Later I sponsored a Young Democrats group. I also have taught college government for many years.

What was your personal progression from the role of activist to the role of county party chair?

After I sponsored the Young Democrats group, I went to a precinct meeting locally and became a precinct chair, which progressed into me becoming the county chair for Cooke County when the position was open.

What would you say are the primary issues concerning Cooke County?

Locally, the Trans Texas Corridor is a huge issue. There is a lot of opposition to the project coming from throughout the county.

How do local politics affect your family?

I don’t like that utility companies are ineffectively regulated by the state. They are huge corporations, and there need to be tougher ethics laws for the corporations.

Do you have any ambition for higher office? Do you have plans to run for any other party office, or possibly even public office?

I haven’t thought about it at all. I prefer to help from the sidelines and offer support and advice.

Who are some of your political heroes?

Sam Rayburn definitely. My folks grew up in his district and knew him personally. Ralph Yarborough is also a huge influence. He was a big environmentalist and used his career to speak for the common people.

Neither of these men used their office to get rich off the public. They were true public servants.

What are you looking forward to in the coming cycle?

I am definitely looking forward to a Democratic president. We have a good opportunity to take over due to the lack of leadership by the current administration.

What advice would you give to young people just getting into politics?

I would suggest going to your local precinct convention. You should start at a local level and work your way up to get experience.

Have you ever wanted to work/worked professionally in politics? In what capacity?

I’ve given advice to local candidates, but I don’t have higher ambition for any professional career in politics. I prefer to advise candidates rather than be in the spotlight.

What one thing would you say a political organization never has enough of?

We need more young people in the political scene. We have relied on some lifetime Democrats too much, and we need to get more people involved. Most young people don’t see the way politics affects their lives until they’re older, but it is very important and affects their lives everyday.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in politics?

I think being persistent is an important value. People need to learn patience, especially in politics, because things don’t change overnight.

Tell us a little bit about being party chair, and what roles you feel like you fulfill in that group, official or otherwise.

I try to encourage good, qualified people to run for office. It’s very time consuming to get people to help run elections. It is necessary not just to have more precinct chairs, but for more of them to promote the party. There are more areas of the party for them to become active in other than helping with elections.

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