Photo by Paul Wingo

Zac Duffy watched the 2017 Texas Legislature in disgust. He didn’t see government improving people’s lives. He saw hateful rhetoric and embarrassing political maneuvering. He was saddened that elected officials did not respond to the needs of average Texans, in his estimation.

“It was a disgrace and an embarrassment for everyone in the state,” he said. “We deserve better than that.”

Duffy made the decision to do something about it, and is now a candidate for Texas House District 108, which spans across parts of East Dallas, the Park Cities and Downtown. He’s the second neighbor to throw a hat in that political ring. As we reported earlier, Joanna Cattanach, a former journalist and current professor who lives in Lakewood Heights, previously joined him in the race. They are both challenging incumbent Morgan Meyer, who was elected in 2014.

Duffy, who lives in East Dallas and attends Munger Place Church, is an intellectual property lawyer who first became involved in politics as he worked to establish the Friends of Garrett Park to take care of the green space near Munger Avenue and Bryan Street. Duffy is president of the group, which has raised funds and hopes to restore the park to its original design by George Kessler in 1915.

The park sits between Adam Medrano and Philip Kingston’s city council districts, and through his work with the Friends, he developed a relationship with them and helped out with their campaigns.

After the 2016 election, Duffy was further inspired to get active by joining Indivisible DFW. According to it’s website, the group’s mission is to “build an inclusive coalition to fight the rise of tyranny in America.”

Despite the group’s anti-Trump positions, Duffy wants voters to engage in politics at a local level. “I don’t think all of our problems will be solved by electing a different president,” he says.

Duffy’s wife, Jennifer, is a Spanish teacher at Booker T. Washington High School, and his 8-year-old son attends a Dallas ISD elementary school. He is passionate about making sure public education is well funded, and is for measures like universal pre-kindergarten and free community college.

He has worked to register new voters, and hopes to bring disengaged people into politics. “I want to reach out to people who don’t usually attend your typical fundraiser or meet and greet,” he says.

Balancing his political aspirations with a full-time job has been a challenge, but he and his family have adjusted well to the new schedule.

Duffy has enjoyed running and getting talk to constituents around Dallas.

“People have the opportunity to get to know candidates really well,” he says of the local election. “We have an opportunity to change the district and better represent what the people want. This is a race people should start paying attention to.”

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.