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Meet Susan Hawk, Dallas County's Next District Attorney

Susan Hawk campaign

In 13 days, Dallas County gets a new district attorney. Susan Hawk will be the first woman in the job, and she won it last month from the first African-American D.A., Craig Watkins. She’s also the only Dallas Republican to win countywide this election year. She sat down to talk about some of her plans as the next district attorney.

Interview Highlights: Susan Hawk…

…On what she plans to do in the first 90 days on the job:

“In the first 90 days, I want to try a case, because one of the things I campaigned about was ‘you need to lead by example.’ Just getting to know the prosecutors, getting to know the staff, getting to know the investigators, and make sure that certain divisions within the DA’s office – family violence, child abuse, specialized, organized – that they’re properly staffed and the assistant district attorneys are getting the proper training and mentoring.”

…On wishing that the District Attorney’s office was a non-partisan position:

“There was a lot of talk about me switching parties, there was a lot of criticism, and I understand that. As a judge, I was a Democrat and a Republican and I can tell you this: my judicial philosophy never wavered one bit and I believe that philosophy should carry over as district attorney. I will never make a decision based on politics. I will make a decision based on what’s best for the community.”

…On her approach to tackling the issue of violence involving police officers:

“I will make sure that the District Attorney’s office has a relationship with the police officers. That relationship has to exist in order for us to gain trust in the community. I have met with [Dallas Police Chief Brown], I plan to meet with every single chief in all the departments in Dallas County. I want to try to get all the stakeholders at the table and take a good hard look at these issues and determine what we need to do to make sure we gain trust within the community.” 

...On whether she regrets commenting on her opponent's drinking at a joint appearance:

"Oh, I do regret that.... It was a comment that if I could take back, I would.... What I regret the most is in that family violence symposium [where the comment was made] that the questions that needed to be answered, the folks who dedicate their lives to domestic violence were there to hear, they weren't able to get the answers that they deserve."

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.
Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.