Public officials in Dallas are taking different sides about Susan Hawk and her fitness for office after she announced Monday she’s checking into mental health treatment for a third time.
Some say she is not doing the job she was elected to and that she should resign for the good of her health, the DA's office and her political party. Others are concerned about her health and defending her office in her absence.
Hawk has checked into an Arizona psychiatric facility for continued treatment of her major depressive disorder. In May she sought treatment at a facility in Houston. The district attorney's office has been managed by First Assistant DA Messina Madsen.
Democratic Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins was measured in his comments on Tuesday.
“Right now I think the concern is on a person’s health and I don’t want to get into comments or speculation about anything other than wish her the best on her health,” Jenkins said.
Republican commissioner Mike Cantrell defended the Republican district attorney.
“That first assistant is operating that office under polices set by Judge Hawk and they’re running that office according to those policies and its being operated in a very professional and efficient way,” Cantrell said.
SMU political science professor Cal Jillson said Hawk should resign to get healthy.
“As an objective matter she was elected to be district attorney for a 4-year period during which she has a lot of responsibilities. I don’t think she is fulfilling those responsibilities and for her own good you would think that she would resign,” Jillson said.
If Hawk resigns before Aug. 19, then the DA's race would be on the November ballot. Should she step down after Aug. 19, Gov. Greg Abbott would appoint someone to finish out the nearly two years remaining on her term in office.