Houston is very diverse city, and few areas give a better taste of that diversity than the neighborhood of Montrose. It’s the heart of the GLBT community, and home to much of the city’s progressive (yes I said PROGRESSIVE) community. And in 2013, we have a “new” United States Congressman… Ted Poe.
So just what does Congressman Poe have in common with Houston’s progressive community? As it turns out, absolutely NOTHING. He has worked hard to earn a 0 rating from the Human Rights Campaign, which means that he is the absolute enemy on all GLBT issues from marriage equality to hate crimes prevention. Had Ted Poe had his way, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy for our nation’s military would still be in place. And of course the Congressman is new to our area, but it’s worth noting that he was one of only 7 house members to vote against the Ryan White CARE Act reauthorization in 2009. Named after an Indiana teenager that died of the disease, Ryan White CARE is “insurance of last resort” for poor advanced HIV and AIDS patients when they can’t get medication or healthcare elsewhere. It’s also a critical funding source for clinics in the Montrose area that treat these patients. Well guess what, neighbors… it’s up for Reauthorization again this year.
Another issue that is certainly of concern to the citizens of Montrose is Immigration reform. We are in Texas, afterall. Regardless of how Immigration reform plays out, it will have a major effect on the the city of Houston, the state of Texas and all over. Most Montrose residents in fact probably know someone that will be directly affected, it not themselves. So if you were wondering where Mr. Poe stands in regards to Immigration reform, don’t expect him to have much empathy, or insight for the complex situations of Texas families. He likens illegal immigration to something that can be cured with insect repellant. Listen to what he said…
“Now it seems to me that if we are so advanced with technology and manpower and competence that we can capture illegal grasshoppers from Brazil, in the holds of ships that are in a little small place in Port Arthur, Texas on the Sabine River… If we’re able to do that as a country, how come we can’t capture the thousands of people that cross the border everyday on the southern border of the United States? You know they’re a little bigger than grasshoppers and they should be able to be captured easier.
If you’re looking for an adult conversation about our nation’s immigration system, you ain’t-a-gonna get it from Ted Poe.
Thankfully, the Congressman has recently softened his stance, saying in a recent Politico Op-Ed that he even supports Immigration reform now. But thanks to clips like the one above, I’ll have to believe it when I see it.
Perhaps what is most disturbing was a the recent vote to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, which Ted Poe gladly voted against. Of course when the citizens of Southeast Texas needed 1.7 Billion dollars in federal funds to recover from Hurricane Ike, Congressman Poe was a thankful recipient. So when it’s Texas families that need help repairing their homes and getting loans for their businesses, it’s “aid”, but if those families are in New Jersey it’s “wasteful spending”?
So Montrose there you go… this is the guy we’ve been stuck with thanks to Texas’ shoddy redistricting program. But our neighborhood does not have to be ignored. In fact, we should introduce ourselves to the Congressman with some phone calls, emails, Tweets and throw in a couple of invitations to the Pride Houston this summer.
We’re already in a Red State, right? Let’s show Mr. Poe just how red we can get.