Why I’m In for Jen: Jenifer Rene Pool

Houston summers can seem endless, but in reality, we’re marching through it quite fast. And nowhere is that calendar time more apparent than in the minds of our local municipal candidates. They see the hot days ticking away, and know that we’re under 4 or so months from the November elections, and 90 days from when the first votes are cast. In every corner of Houston, you’ll find candidates shaking hands, holding up signs, giving speeches, and doing all of the necessary activities local politics requires.

As Texas Leftist, I intend to cover much of the inner workings of Houston’s 2013 elections. But there’s one race I am pledged to stay out of on this blog, and that is Houston City Council, At- Large Position 3. The reason is because I am working for Candidate Jenifer Rene Pool, and I wanted to share why.

Pool’s background is in the Construction industry. Her father owned a company that built roads, water and sewer lines, and buildings throughout Houston and Southeast Texas. After working under his wing, she went on to work for other prominent Construction firms in the region, and now owns her own consulting business. She knows the city’s vast maze of permitting codes, and wants to help streamline and simplify that process for citizens.

Because of her background in the field, one of Jenifer’s primary concerns is improving Houston’s infrastructure. Everything that is done in a modern city depends on its infrastructure. You can’t get to your job without good roads to drive, walk or bike on, and neither can anyone else. Houston’s very prosperity depends on the success and maintenance of our infrastructure. But some roads have fallen into such disrepair, that they end up costing Houstonians millions of extra dollars in vehicle repair. And roads are just the beginning… some sidewalks across the city haven’t been repaired in decades. Many of those same areas are where poor citizens, Seniors and other non-drivers live. And those are the people that depend on safe, passable sidewalks the most. Jenifer wants to change this, and have Houston make infrastructure a real priority again.

“We passed an issue where the city of Houston could raise money for infrastructure repairs. That’s wonderful… I believe in paying ‘as you go’, and the bond has given us an effort to do that. But it comes down to a point of priority. Where I visit and talk to people, the repairs are not there. Their streets and sidewalks have not been repaired in 30 years, leaving Seniors having to walk in the streets. Last year, 5 Seniors were hit by cars because their only means of transportation, the sidewalks, were in complete disrepair. If we’re going to build a better Houston, we have to start from the ground up, and give proper infrastructure access to all Houstonians.” said Jenifer at a recent public event. As the city continues to wrestle with it’s rapidly developing future, Jenifer’s wealth of experience seems a necessary voice in Council.

Along with infrastructure, Jenifer cares about equality for all of Houston’s citizens. As an openly transgender woman, candidacy is an historic one. If elected, she would become the first transgender person to hold office in a city of more than one million people. That would be the highest elected office held by any known transgender person to date. Of course, that’s not why she’s running, but it is an important part of her candidacy to recognize. She has been a leader in Houston’s LGBT community, having served as a past President of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, and as the 2012 Pride Marshal in Houston’s Pride Celebration.

Yesterday at City Hall, Jenifer Rene Pool made her official entry into the At-Large 3 race. Here’s coverage from TransGriot

“She’s been hard at work at it for several months, but yesterday Jenifer Rene Pool made it official and announced her candidacy for the Houston City Council At Large Position 3 seat on the steps of Houston City Hall. And yeah, some blogger y’all know was there for the announcement a little after 3:30 PM CDT. I wanted to be there to witness Houston and trans history.”

Which is also why I’ve chosen to write today. As a citizen blogger, I try to cover most issues from observing, yet opinionated perspective. But I chose to work for Jenifer Rene Pool’s candidacy during the At-Large 3 race. I’m officially a campaign volunteer… not getting paid, but I help out with phone calls, block walks, and try to use my skills to advance her cause. Respectfully, I will not be covering the At-Large 3 race for Houston City Council on the Texas Leftist blog. Instead I would highly encourage readers to check out awesome coverage from Off the Kuff and Texpatriate to keep up with this city race. I do still plan to weigh in for other local races though.

Lastly, this post is not an endorsement, but just a recognition of why I’ve chosen the path of getting involved for this race. Sometimes when you believe in someone, you have to step in, work hard and see if you can make a difference. I know that if elected, Jenifer Rene Pool would be a monumental asset to Houston City Council. I want better streets and sidewalks in my neighborhood and everywhere I need to go, and she does too. If you’re a Houston voter, I encourage you to check out all of the candidates running, and make the best decision for you.

Me? I’m In for Jen.

(Jenifer Rene Pool’s official announcement at City Hall… July 11th, 2013)

This post is NOT an endorsement.

Grand Chance: Steve Grand’s All-American Boy

For being known as “the love that dare not speak its name”, gay romance is sure getting a lot of exposure lately. And that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as 2013 has been a landmark year for the LGBT community. The Defense of Marriage Act is DEAD, America has its first openly gay active NBA player, and songs like Macklemore’s Same Love are burning up the charts.

So it’s time for you to meet the next big musical hit-maker on the subject.

Not exactly sure if he’s known as a Country artist, but I have to salute Chicago singer/songwriter Steve Grand on taking a grand chance with the genre. His efforts have resulted in a song and video that are taking YouTube by storm, and for good reason. What’s depicted here in song and image isn’t just an American love story, but it’s in fact a universal one, and is as old as time. The video was uploaded on July 2nd, and as of today has already garnered more than 1.2 million views. Here’s more from Michael Cidoni Lennox of the Huffington Post

He’s a musician without a record label, a card holder without any remaining credit. And the gig that supplies what he calls “food money” may now be in jeopardy.

But after events of the last week, Steve Grand said “I would die a happy man today,” and not for the reasons he’s suddenly getting attention.

Grand’s first music video, for his country-tinged rock ballad “All-American Boy,” was posted on YouTube last Tuesday. By last night, it had exploded, attracting more than 400,000 total views — nothing for top-charting videos from big-name recording artists, but an impressive figure for one from a complete unknown whose only promotion has been internet buzz.

The video cost just $7,000, a fraction of the major-names’ going rate, but it was a fortune to Grand, who came up with the entire budget himself by maxing out his only plastic to tell the video’s story.

“All-American Boy” portrays a young gay man who misreads signals from an apparently straight “all-American” male friend. On a day hanging out with the gang, the two guys and a girl take off in a car. She drives, as the guys sit together in the back, with the straight man, at one point, falling asleep on the gay man’s shoulder. Feeling like a third wheel, the girl eventually, angrily drives off, leaving the two men to pal around in the woods, where they end up stripping down and going skinny-dipping — even sharing a quick kiss. Ultimately for the straight guy, it was just all in good fun. But for the gay man, it was something much more significant, and he is left dazed, confused and longing.

I for one am really glad he maxed out those cards, as this is a story that needs to be heard and is long overdue.