Tag Archives: Harris County Early Voting

TLCQ 2016: Matt Murphy

In the First installment of the 2016 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Matt Murphy, candidate for the Texas House of Representatives, District 147.  He is a Republican.

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 and the office that you are seeking in 2016?

MM:  Matt Murphy (R) for Texas House of Representatives-District 147

 

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

MM:  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?

MM:  The Declaration of Independence and Constitution clearly shows how to govern effectively and protect our individual Liberty. It is important to have a representative democracy where the voice of the people can be heard. If partisian politics would follow the Constitution as it is written and all politicians actually started representing the people instead of their party platform, our society would be better. It also takes the participation of the voters, however most have become so apathetic to the process. It is time to be different in our approach to help maintain our FREEDOM. 

 

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

MM:  As a political outsider, I choose to reverse the current trend of representation by going into the community instead of waiting for the community to come to me. This refreshing approach has helped me gain a diverse group of supporters from Republicans,Democrats, and Independents while also encouraging new voters to get involved in the political process. 

Our campaign encourages people to “Know Your Neighbor”. If we can strengthen our relationships with our neighbors, we can unify local leaders and unite as one voice for better streets, better schools and better crime prevention. By avoiding divisive social agendas pushed from the top down, we can refocus on the core role of government, and free up resources to address pressing concerns. I have always said that if you know your neighbors name, then you are obligated to look after them regardless of your differences. 

 

TL:  Recent years in American Politics have yielded an environment of hyper-partisanship, the results of which have often led to government inefficiency, and sometimes total government gridlock.  Describe how you plan to break through this partisan gridlock for the good of your constituents, and work with those from differing political ideologies.  

MM:  Most partisan politics are lead by the elite few leaving most of America without strong leadership. This becomes very discouraging to many because their vote does not matter, so they stop voting altogether. One of the biggest ways this has happened is because the politicians pander to the political PACs with money instead of depending on the grassroots efforts for the people. Grassroots efforts are rarely appealing because it does not account for enough money to run a campaign. This has resulted in a politician having to listen and vote the way that those that “give them money” want them too instead of represent those they represent in their district. However, incumbents continue to get elected by a large majority because their name recognition is increased while in office and low voter turnout. We may never be able to change this through legislation, but if candidates were willing to stay determined and resilient towards the grassroots movement, they will eventually get elected and become a strong voice for the people that will focus on creating an efficient government that looks at the source of problems instead of the surface of problems. 

 

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

MM:  For over 25 years the people of Texas House District 147 have not been given a choice in who represents their values in Austin because my opponent has ran unopposed. This lack of accountability has resulted in my opponent ignoring the responsibility to represent our diverse district with an equal voice. He has also showed a complete disrespect of the law and our freedoms. He is a political insider that feels untouchable. 

The people of Texas House District 147 want a CHOICE. They want a leader that represents their values of Faith, Family, Freedom, Patriotism, and Building Stronger Communities. They want a leader that will put his own opinions aside and represent the community opinion as the way a representative democracy was invented. The people of this district are yelling, “I Matter!”

I am completely different than my opponent because I choose to be in the community instead of forcing the community to come to me in Austin. I choose to educate the community on the facts surrounding issues instead of giving them my own personal opinions in efforts to make them a more informed voter. Once I receive a consensus of the community, I can go back to Austin and vote based on their values while maintaining an open channel during the process. This continues to resonate with the voters in this district and hopefully results in our success on election night. 

 

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

MM:  I am fortunate to have an amazing son, Shawn, and a smoking hot wife, Rachel that I love to spend time with when I am not on the campaign trail. We love to explore our district by going to all of the amazing parks, businesses and restaurants in Downtown, Midtown, Museum District, Third Ward, OST/South Union, Sunnyside, South Park and Hobby Airport area. Since we live so close to Hermann Park, we love to ride our bikes there to enjoy a good picnic, feeding the ducks, playing frisbee, or going to a great performance at Miller Outdoor Theater. Our district is amazing, and we need a true representative that believes in the values of the voters that will protect our great places. I hope my campaign can get out the “good news” that District 147 finally has a choice, because “Your Choice Matters!”

 

Thanks to Mr. Murphy for the responses.

Election Day 2016 is Tuesday November 8th, and Early Voting runs from October 24th through November 4th.  For Houston area voters, here’s early voting information for Harris CountyFort Bend County, Brazoria County, Montgomery County, and Galveston County.  For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

matt-murphy-2016

2016 Democratic Primary Recommendations

As many readers are aware, Early Voting for the 2016 Texas Democratic Primary started today.  Texas Leftist has decided to wait on the formal endorsement process until the General Election. But for those interested, here are recommendations for the Primary Election…

 

President:  Hillary Clinton

 

Texas Railroad Commissioner:  Lon Burnam

 

State Representative

District 126: Joy Dawson-Thomas

District 131:  Alma Allen

District 139:  Randy Bates

District 137:  Gene Wu

District 148:  Jessica Farrar

 

State Board of Education, District 6:  Dakota Carter

 

Harris County Sheriff:  Ed Gonzalez

Harris County Tax Assessor:  Brandon Dudley

Harris County Commissioner Pct. 3:  Jenifer Rene Pool

 

14th Court of Appeals:  Jim Sharp

 

District Judge

11th:  Jim Lewis

61st:  Julie Countiss

165th:  Josefina Rendon

174th:  Hazel B. Jones

176th:  Shawna L. Reagin

177th:  Robert Johnson

178th:  Kelli Johnson

179th:  Randy Roll

215th:  Joshua A. Verde

333rd:  Daryl Moore

351st:  Greg Glass

 

Justice of the Peace 

Pct. 1, Place 1:  Eric William Carter

Pct. 3, Place 1:  Joe Stephens

Pct. 7, Place 7:  Cheryl Elliot Thornton

 

Good luck with your choices, and make sure to VOTE!!!

 

Texan for Hillary

 

 

 

Texas Leftist Endorsements: 2015 Run-off Elections

It may be a much shorter ballot and in the throes of Holiday Season, but the 2015 Election process will not be complete until December 12th— the date for the Houston Run-off Elections.  As predicted, many important local races have gone to a runoff, and Houstonians will need to come back and vote.  After all, this is where the city’s next Mayor will be selected.

Houston Mayor
Sylvester Turner

Houston City Controller
Chris Brown

Houston City Council
At-Large Races
Position 1: Georgia Provost
Position 2: David Robinson
Position 4 Amanda Edwards
Position 5: No Endorsement

District Races
District F: Richard Nguyen
District H: Karla Cisneros
Distrcit J: Mike Laster

HISD Trustee District II– Rhonda Skillern-Jones

There will be Early Voting for the Run-off, though it is not yet officially posted for Harris County.  Check back here for the updates.  And please support these PRO-EQUALITY candidates!!

 

Texas Leftist 2015 Endorsements

Here’s the Full List of Endorsements for the 2015 Houston Municipal Elections.  The Hyperlinks take you to the full-length endorsement page.  For more information on the candidates, check out the Questionnaire Responses, and be sure to also visit Off the Kuff’s 2015 Elections Page.

 

Houston Mayor
Sylvester Turner

Houston City Controller
Chris Brown

Houston City Council
At-Large Races
Position 1: Tom McCasland
Position 2: David Robinson
Position 3: Doug Peterson
Position 4 Amanda Edwards
Position 5: Philippe Nassif

District Races
District A: Brenda Stardig
District B: Jerry Davis
District C: Ellen Cohen
District D: unopposed (Dwight Boykins)
District E: unopposed (Dave Martin)
District F: Richard Nguyen
District G: Greg Travis
District H: Roland Chavez
District I: Robert Gallegos
Distrcit J: Mike Laster
District K: unopposed (Larry Green)

City of Houston Proposition 1:  Y-E-S!!!!
City of Houston Proposition 2:  No endorsement

 

And just to say one more time…

Like Dallas, Austin, Ft. Worth, New Orleans, hundreds of other cities and 17 states across the county, all Houstonians deserve to live in a city that does not condone discrimination.  Please vote yes to uphold the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.  Don’t believe the lies!!

Early Voting runs now until October 30th, and Election Day is November 4th.

HUEfest Mural

Photo credit:  Gary Paul Smith from Flickr

 

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.

 

Jenifer

TLCQ 2015: Adrian Garcia

In the Sixteenth installment of the 2015 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire we hear from Hon. Adrian Garcia former Harris County Sheriff and candidate for Mayor of Houston.

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?

AG:  Adrian Garcia

 

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

AG:  Houston City Council; Harris County Sheriff

 

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

AG:  I am living proof of the promise of Houston, where if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get anywhere you are bold enough to dream. My career has taught me the importance of listening to the needs of all communities and how we can make our City government work efficiently to serve Houstonians with a great quality of life today, while building our infrastructure for tomorrow. Government is important to ensure that all Houstonians have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. This city has been very good to me, and I want to make sure it remains as the city of opportunity to the next generation of Houstonians. I am uniquely qualified and passionate to be the next great mayor of this great city.

 

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

AG:  Our most significant challenge is our overall city finances. We have been operating a structurally unbalanced system for too long. The biggest driver of this issue is our unpaid pension obligations. While I strongly believe that we must keep our promises to current retirees and employees so that they know their retirement is secure, I believe we need to take a holistic look at all of the city finances, including pensions, to find an efficient Houston solution going forward. Some people approach the pensions as three silos outside of the city’s finances, but I feel that such an approach misses the opportunity to redefine how our pension obligations play a role in our overall city finances. Local control, reduction of the COLA adjustment, a realistic rate of return, review of the DROP and balancing representation on the pension boards will all be explored in a plan for reform.

My whole career has been committed to public safety, and, as an HPOPS retiree, I have personal skin in the game when it comes to any pension negotiations. I am committed to bringing all parties to the table to craft a local solution that allows for the City to keep its promises to public employees while still maintaining critical infrastructure and the hiring of the public safety personnel we need to keep Houston safe.

 

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.   

AG:  I believe the ReBuild Houston program is an important part of our city’s approach to addressing our street and drainage infrastructure issues. It is a good program that has been poorly managed. I believe there is unnecessary confusion among stakeholders and the public regarding the program. If elected, I would implement a number of reforms including, but not limited to:

● More transparency in how the money is being used

● More frequent updates on the financials of the program

● Allow for more flexibility in our CIP/needs-based evaluation process for projects

● Incorporate regional detention into the program if possible

● Public meetings and access for the project decision meetings process so staff can justify the “worst first” approach findings that the ordinance requires.

Additionally, I believe there are efficiencies to be gained and savings to be had in a comprehensive review of the Public Works & Engineering (PWE) department. Savings could then be reprogrammed into more projects that are sorely needed across the city.

 

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.

AG:  I am someone who strongly believes in a participatory system. The City of Houston and its departments provide needed services for our residents, and the residents should therefore have a voice. If there is a more effective and efficient way to make this happen than the current structure than I will be happy to consider it. I am open to hearing and working on suggestions for how we can make processes work better, so that the voices of our all residents can be heard in City Council.

 

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?

AG:  I am strong supporter of “Complete Streets” policy. As we make continued investments in multi-modal transportation, we must also effectively market and promote the use of those investments we have already made. I am confident that once an individual uses a safe and convenient alternative means of transportation, they will use it again. For those that already use alternative forms of transportation, we must ensure that we are able to keep them safe by building an infrastructure that embraces vision zero and by educating the public about operating along “complete streets,” parks and trails.

 

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

AG:  As the only native-born American in my family, and as a lifelong Houstonian, I am asking for the privilege of becoming the mayor of my great hometown. This city has been very good to me, and I want to make sure it remains as the city of opportunity to the next generation of Houstonians. I believe I am uniquely qualified to lead the City of Houston because I’m the only candidate in this race with executive experience. I lead, managed, and reformed a major organization, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, into savings of over $200 million dollars while keeping the streets of America’s 3rd -largest county safe. Throughout my entire tenure at the HCSO, I promoted diversity in hiring and a professional environment of mutual respect and trust, so that the Sheriff’s Department could best protect all residents in the most diverse and culturally rich county in America.

My nearly 35 years in public service, starting as a patrol officer with the Houston Police Department, taught me a great deal about our government. From the front seat of a patrol car, you get a first-hand look at where our City is serving its residents and where it is failing to provide the services it should. My efforts to decrease gang involvement, a major national issue at that time, prompted Mayor Bob Lanier to appoint me to the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office in 1994, and within 5 years I was promoted to be the director of the program. Our efforts were tremendously successful in decreasing the gang violence plaguing Houston neighborhoods through employing creative community policing initiatives, which were centered on building trusting relationships between the patrolling officers and the community.

I then took the skills that I learned as a police officer and directed them towards addressing the broader needs of our community by being elected to a seat on the Houston City Council, where I served three terms. Serving on the Council as Bill White’s Mayor Pro tem, I helped develop and pass initiatives expanding senior homestead exemptions and making homeownership more affordable because experience had taught me that neighborhoods are stronger when people can own their own homes. I had also learned from my experience as an officer that more crime could be prevented with a greater focus on timely data collection and analysis. This led me to work on creating HPD’s Real Time Crime Center, which produced immediate results in lowering crime rates. While I was an ardent supporter of METRO lightrail expansion as a councilmember, I listened carefully to the concerns of many residents about the new rail lines. Hearing concerns about the rail construction impact on longtime area businesses, I created the city’s Construction Mitigation Program to extend low interest loans to existing micro businesses who needed a little help to get through the disruptive construction period of a major infrastructure project. Throughout my tenure on City Council, I worked tirelessly and collaboratively to tackle major issues like crime prevention while also supporting the kinds of smart infrastructure and economic development initiatives that helped make Houston even greater.

Voters then awarded me the honor of leading a Sheriff’s Office of almost 5,000 personnel and a budget of roughly $500 million, and in dire need of new leadership and reform. When I arrived on my first day, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office was $60 million over- budget, and the county jail so overcrowded that taxpayers were paying over $10 million annually to house prisoners in Louisiana. By demonstrating leadership and establishing reforms aimed at progressive community policing, I was able to keep a lid on crime while delivering four straight fiscal years under-budget. I was also able to dramatically lower our jail population and stop sending prisoners out of state by developing programs and partnerships to make sure that our mentally-ill Houstonians began receiving the treatment they needed.

I am living proof of the promise of Houston, where if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get anywhere you are bold enough to dream. My career has taught me the importance of listening to the needs of all communities and how we can make our City government work efficiently to serve Houstonians with a great quality of life today, while building our infrastructure for tomorrow.

 

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

AG:  I really enjoy being in the community and get immense satisfaction from volunteering. When I’m not doing that you’ll find me with my family and likely running or biking through our beautiful parks and bayous.

 

Thanks to Sheriff Garcia 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.

 

Adrian Garcia

Houston Unites Campaign Ramps Up To Support Proposition 1

It’s American tradition that Labor Day marks the unofficial “end” of summer (if such a thing can exist in Houston) and the start of high campaign season.  Though there’s not a Presidential or Gubernatorial race on the ballot this year, this holds true for residents of the Bayou City.

But municipal leaders are not the only question facing area voters this November.  Last Saturday over 150 volunteers gathered at The Montrose Center to launch the field campaign to protect the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, formally known as Houston Unites.  The group is an unprecedented partnership among the ACLU of Texas, Equality Texas, Freedom for All Americans, the Human Rights Campaign, NAACP Houston Branch, the Texas Freedom Network and a bevy of political activists, public servants and volunteers.  Here’s more from the group’s website…

DISCRIMINATION HAS NO PLACE IN HOUSTON

Houston Unites is the coalition working to elevate the diversity of voices supporting HERO. No Houstonian should be discriminated against based on race, age, military status, sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s a core value Houstonians share, and that’s why HERO’s passage a year ago was supported by more than 80 current and former elected officials, community and non-profit organizations, major corporations, and more than 70 local faith leaders.

In the most diverse city in America, we believe that everyone should be treated fairly, no matter who they are. That’s a core value Houstonians share.

Facing a mountain of money from the opposition, it’s going to take lots of hard work and dedication to energize and turn out voters who will support Proposition 1… the ballot measure which will either uphold or defeat the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.  But if the first field event was any indication, the Houston Unites group is up to the challenge.   In just a few hours, ‘HOUniters’ knocked over 1,200 doors and placed 6,000 phone calls all encouraging voters to show up on Election Day and vote Yes on Prop 1.  Even with the money disadvantage, commitment like theirs is going to be tough to beat.

This Election Day, be sure to Vote Yes on Proposition 1.  And if you’re like me and prefer to do your voting ahead of the longer lines, check out this year’s Harris County Early Voting information.  Early voting for the 2015 Elections runs from October 19th through October 30th.

But before you hit the voting booth, consider volunteering with the Houston Unites campaign.  Every hour that you can commit to knocking doors or making phone calls will bring Houston closer to having needed local protections from discrimination, and truly being the city that all Houstonians deserve.

 

HERO group 1

On September 5th, over 150 volunteers gathered to campaign for Houston Unites and encourage voters to vote yes on City of Houston Proposition 1.  

 

Houston Unites