In the Seventh installment of the 2015 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire we hear from Hon. Chris Oliver, current Houston Community College Trustee and 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?
CO: Chris Oliver
TL: Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?
CO: For the past twenty years I have served as Houston Community College Trustee for District IX.
TL: As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?
CO: I believe that government is vital because it was established to serve the people. I believe that efficient government, at its core – along with the non-profit and private sectors – can help empower our communities not just for today, but for tomorrow as well.
TL: If elected, what is your top priority in office for the upcoming term? Describe how you plan to accomplish it.
CO: Once elected, my top priority will be to empower local communities across the City of Houston. I will look to accomplish this by focusing on developing Houston’s approach to workforce development that helps give citizens the skills needed to acquire the jobs of today and tomorrow.
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 Houstonprogram. 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.
CO: I support the purpose and application of ReBuild Houston in that it seeks to address our crumbling infrastructure issues through a “pay as you go” funding model. With the fiscal issues we currently face, I am not interested in the city accruing any more debt that it will be unable to pay down. While we don’t know what will ultimately happen with ReBuild Houston as it’s tied up in the courts, I think it is vital that the city does a better job of being transparent and educating the citizens of Houston on where their tax dollars are going.
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.
CO: I would support such an amendment because I think it is vital that the City of Houston considers the views of everyone in setting its course. That is, I think that our Democracy is built on the principle of power coming from the many, not from just one point of view or perspective. I believe that such an amendment will help ensure that the voices and concerns from citizens across the City of Houston are heard before the agenda is set.
TL: If elected, would you support and seek to continue the current administration’s Complete Streetspolicy, 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?
CO: I support keeping our city’s streets accessible and open for all road users, pedestrians, persons with disabilities, and cyclists. With that said, I think our City Streets program should focus on completing projects in full vs. making incremental improvements as its currently structured.
TL: What makes you the best candidate for this office?
CO: I believe that I am the best candidate for this office because I am the only person in the race who currently holds public office and has the crucial experience representing citizens in the City of Houston. I believe that this experience has best prepared me to hit the ground running for the citizens of Houston on day one as Houston City Council Member, At-Large Position 1.
TL: When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?
CO: When not on the campaign trail (or operating my own small business) I like to spend as much time as I can with my wife Valerie and our four-year-old son, Geovanny.
Thanks to Mr. Oliver 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.