Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree speaks to the crowd during a Lakeside Republican Club event May 22 at the Commissioners Courtroom. The club was honoring county law enforcement.

Why does the county let partisan groups use its buildings?

Denton County’s building use policy allows any community group the use of its buildings for a small fee as long as the event supports a “public purpose, benefit, service, training or interest to Denton County residents.”

Political party clubs serve a public purpose by fielding the candidates who eventually become public servants.

The county’s policy forbids preference or priority to any individual or group “so that the buildings are made available to serve the needs of as many different groups as possible. Equal access shall be given to all groups and individuals applying, and no group or individual shall be denied access because of considerations of race, sex, religious or political persuasion, or because of the political, religious, or social aims expressed by an individual or group, or by any group’s members.”

Some readers recently questioned the use of the Commissioner’s Courtroom by the Lakeside Republican Club, who had Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree as a speaker.

Cheryl Knight, aide to the Commissioner’s Court, said the group typically met in a different county building. But that room was taken up for the party primary runoff, so county officials offered the courtroom instead.

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