McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna, 45, declined to respond to requests that he sit down with the Trib editorial board to answer questions about his tenure. Besides a request made to his private phone, the Trib made a formal request through Reyna’s office assistant. When the subject of his decision to refuse a candidate interview with the Trib arose at the Jan. 18 McLennan County Republican Club luncheon during which he and Republican challenger Barry Johnson fielded questions, Reyna dismissed the newspaper as “a fake news outlet” and “a ridiculous rag of a paper.” For at least five years, Reyna has routinely declined to comment on various cases or developments involving the district attorney’s office with the Trib.
In a brief statement at Tuesday’s League of Women Voters meeting where candidates were able to meet for 10 minutes each with tables of individual voters, Reyna stressed at the outset his background in criminal defense law and his work to lower the local crime rate: “When I got elected in 2010, I told the voters I would have presence in the community, presence in the courtroom and presence in the office, that these were critical in making sure you had an effective district attorney. I believe I have done those things and, as a result, I think as you can see from the numbers that crime is down.”
In other appearances, Reyna has said his tenure is marked by tougher plea bargains, 110 life sentences and an aggressive hot-check department. He said his administration has much work remaining in regard to incorporation of technology in the DA’s office as well as disposition of criminal cases.
“I still have a lot of fight in me,” he said. “We still have a lot on our plate.”
Barry Johnson, 61, an attorney who grew up in Waco and returned to his hometown from Dallas in March to care for his mother, is a Republican c…