University of Houston To Host 2016 GOP Primary Debate

Some big news coming from Houston, as the 2016 Presidential race will soon turn its eyes and ears to one of the Lone Star State’s rising educational stars.  Early next year, the University of Houston will play host to a 2016 Primary Debate for the Republican Party.  Here’s the scoop via UH press release

The University of Houston has been selected by NBC News and Telemundo to host a Republican presidential candidates’ debate on the UH campus Feb. 26, 2016.

The debate, sanctioned by the Republican National Committee, is slated to be the final GOP debate before the crucial “Super Tuesday” primary contests in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia on March 1. Alaska, Minnesota and Wyoming also will award delegates on that same day. All candidates who qualify are expected to participate in the debate, which will be presented in partnership with National Review.

“Diversity is more than our demographics at the University of Houston – it’s our commitment to expression, varied viewpoints, and the belief that challenging the status quo produces the strongest innovation,” said University of Houston System Chancellor and UH President Renu Khator. “This debate comes at a pivotal moment in the election cycle. We’re delighted to host a national conversation with real-life impact on our community and country, and welcome an evening of engaging discourse to our campus.”

The debate will be broadcast nationwide on the NBC News and Telemundo networks.

According to the American Presidency Project, UH’s announcement will mark only the 3rd time that a major Presidential or Vice Presidential Debate has been hosted in the state of Texas.  Houston’s Alley Theater played host to a 1976 Vice Presidential debate between Walter Mondale and Bob Dole, and UT Austin hosted candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in early 2008 Democratic Primary contest.  For a state as big and influential as Texas, this is quite the “get” for Khator and the University of Houston.

Earlier this year, other Texas sites were in the running to land a General Election debate, but those sites where given to other locations.

TLCQ 2015: Jenifer Rene Pool

In the Nineteenth installment of the 2015 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire we hear from Jenifer Rene Pool candidate for Houston City Council, At-Large Position 1.

Please note: Responses are directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but may be considered during the endorsement process.


TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?

JP:  Jenifer Rene Pool


TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

JP:  No.


TL:  As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

JP:  Government is the people’s way of acting collectively for the betterment of the community and its citizens.


TL:  If elected, what is your top priority in office for the upcoming term? Describe how you plan to accomplish it.

JP:  1.  Improve the services at the Permitting Center by instituting solid business principles to make the process more efficient.

2.  Make sure our TIRZ agreements are following their mandates and spending money for the good of all citizens.


TL:  After decades of deferred maintenance and neglect, Houston’s infrastructure is in a critical state of disrepair. Ask any driver, cyclist or pedestrian, and they can readily tell you that city streets and sidewalks are crumbling… some to the extent that they pose significant danger to those that would traverse them. The Parker Administration has attempted to address the problem by the voter-approved ReBuild Houston program. Knowing that the next Mayor has no choice but to invest in city infrastructure, do you support the continuation of ReBuild Houston?  If yes, please explain why.  If no, please explain how you would address our copious infrastructure needs differently.

JP:   Yes.  I believe that the principle of “pay as you go” represented by ReBuild Houston is the best way our city can invest in infrastructure and not continue borrowing on the future to pay for today.


TL:  At present, the city of Houston has one of the strongest forms of “Strong-Mayor governance” in the state of Texas, to the point that the Mayor alone decides what business comes before City Council. If elected, would you support an amendment to the City Charter that would allow any coalition of 6 Council Members to place items on the Council Agenda without prior approval from the Mayor? Whether yes or no, please explain your answer.

JP:  Yes.  A Strong-Mayoral government may have been the best in years past when Houston was a much smaller city.  However we are a different city today, and Council Members represent a quarter million people.  Their contributions should be heard.


TL:  If elected, would you support and seek to continue the current administration’s Complete Streets policy, which establishes that any new or significant re-build of city streets will work to prioritize and incorporate safe access for all road users, including pedestrians, persons with disabilities and cyclists?

JP:  Yes, I am in full support of the administrations’ Complete Streets policy.


TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

JP:  I am a successful businesswoman with years of experience serving the people of Houston as a liason between citizens and the city government.  I was appointed by Mayor Bill White to the Buildings and Standards Commission in 2009, and to the Police Advisory Commission by Mayor Annise Parker in 2010.  With expertise in political activism, infrastructure repair and and construction management, I have an intimate knowledge of what needs to be done to improve city services and how to accomplish the best outcomes for all Houstonians.


TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

JP:  I work with women recovering from physical and drug abuse to empower them to succeed and build a better future.


Thanks to Ms. Pool for the responses.

Election Day 2015 is Tuesday November 3rd, and Early Voting runs from October 19th through October 30th.  Check out this year’s Harris County Early Voting information for locations and times.