Tag Archives: Houston Early Voting

TLCQ 2015: Amanda Edwards

In the Sixth installment of the 2015 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Amanda Edwards, candidate for Houston City Council, At-Large Position 4.

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?

AE:  Amanda Edwards


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

AE:  This is my first campaign for elected office.


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

AE:  I believe that government is important because it affects every member of society in some way. Municipal government is especially important because of its effect on our day-to-day lives. Who is elected President, Governor, etc., is, of course important, but it is local government that paves the streets, protects our neighborhoods, collects garbage and treats our water.  It is critical that we have good stewards of the public trust in government to ensure these core services are delivered and that the City is properly managed.


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

AE:  Houston has many needs, including improving our infrastructure and transportation systems, protecting public safety, increasing broad-based economic development and improving our quality of life. All of those needs are affected by the City’s financial health. Our growing population and need for services are on a collision course with increasingly limited resources, due to increased fixed costs and declining revenue. We must bring all stakeholders together to improve the City’s fiscal situation, so residents’ needs can be met today, and for the long term. We must also focus on how to manage the 100,000+ people who are moving into our City annually by addressing our infrastructure and transit needs.


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.  

AE:  Yes.  There have certainly been challenges with the rollout of Rebuild Houston, including a two-year delay before actual projects began (funds were initially used for debt service reduction), questionable prioritization of projects, and difficulty in completing projects timely and on budget. Despite those challenges, there is no denying the need for a dedicated funding stream for critical infrastructure work, particularly in light of the City’s overall budgetary difficulties. Rebuild Houston should be improved and continue.  I would focus on improving transparency and efficiency with how Public Works implements the Rebuild Houston program.


 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.

AE:  I generally support the idea, though I would need specific information on any proposal before committing to vote for it. It seems as though such a measure may be a vehicle for empowering council members to take more ownership of their leadership role in the City.


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?

AE:  Yes. I live in Midtown and have seen firsthand the benefits of Complete Streets.  It is critical that we improve and enhance our transit  options for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists alike in order to better manage the continued growth of our City.


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

AE:  Houston faces critical challenges and key opportunities, and I am running to be part of long-term solutions that move all our city forward. I am the best candidate for this office because I have the vision, skills and passion to truly effect change for the long-term.  As a municipal finance lawyer, I am well qualified to help tackle the City’s fiscal challenges.  I have a long history of civic and non-profit involvement that has equipped me with a deep understanding of community based challenges (but also solutions). My work with organizations like the Houston Area Urban League and Project Row Houses reflects my passion for community work.  Finally,, I plan to help City Council develop a vision and effectuate policy that will enable Houston to be an inclusive, first-class world City.


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

AE:  My free time is sparse in light of my work and the campaign.  However, I do enjoy staying fit by exercising.  I am also an urban gardener and enjoy traveling.


Thanks to Ms. Edwards 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.

Amanda Edwards


Wait… How Many Cities Have Equal Rights Protections Just Like H.E.R.O.?

The short answer… a whole bunch.

This Fall, the city of Houston will be bombarded with campaign ads claiming false information about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.  You know ads like this one that just hit the airwaves recently.

As Dan Solomon of Texas Monthly reports, the move shows that HERO opponents are not above lies and deceit to lure voters towards their message…

The fight surrounding Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance has been ugly since the anti-discrimination policy was proposed—and after a petition drive to put its recall to a public vote, it’s only gotten uglier. It’s involved city attorneys issuing subpoenas for pastors’ sermons. It’s involved accusations of forged signatures on the petition. And, with the vote on the ordinance approaching, it’s involved some fearmongering. As the Houston Chronicle reports:

Opponents of Houston’s equal rights ordinance released a one-minute radio spot Monday that targets women voters, hitting the airwaves first in what’s expected to be a heated and expensive campaign over the law that will appear on the November ballot.

The ad features a young woman talking about the perceived threat to public safety the ordinance presents. Critics have long seized on the idea that the ordinance, a broad non-discrimination law that includes protections for gay and transgender residents, would allow male sexual predators dressed in drag to enter women’s restrooms.

The idea that scheming, predatory men would disguise themselves as women in order to prey on women and girls in bathrooms has always been one of the rallying cries against HERO. When Fox News commentator and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee used his platform to rally opponents to whip up opposition to the ordinance, he focused much of his argument on the idea that bathrooms would “be unsafe for women and children“:

“If the child…a boy…walks in and says ‘you know what, I really am feeling my girl’s side, he gets to go shower with the girls when he’s 14. I mean, I’m just thinking of all the 14-year-old boys I went to school with, and how many of them would have awakened with that revelation.”

Huckabee’s claims notwithstanding, the ordinance doesn’t put women and girls at additional risk of being harmed by sexual predators, according to experts who’ve studied “bathroom panic” as it relates to transgender people. There are no reported cases of transgender women assaulting anyone in public bathrooms after anti-discrimination ordinances have passed anywhere in the country. And, as stories like the headline-grabbing incident in New York last April make clear, a predator who plans to sexually assault women in public bathrooms doesn’t need to wear a disguise to do it.

To be clear, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is a local protection for all Houstonians.  While it’s true that pregnant women (for example) are protected by federal and state laws against discrimination, what opponents don’t tell you is that it is far more expensive to lodge a discrimination claim through state and federal channels than it is to have the city investigate claims at the local level.  HERO is not simply a duplication of law.  It is putting access to local protection within reach of many in our community that don’t have the money or time to file a federal case.  It is for all of these reasons that cities and counties across the United States have taken similar actions.

Stating that fact over and over again is important, but sometimes it helps to have a visual.  If Houstonians knew that every time they travel to New York, Dallas, Shreveport or even Disney World in Orlando, they were going to another city that offers these same protections, such information could help to break the stigma HERO opponents want so desperately to create.

Texas Leftist has compiled a graphic showing all of the cities and counties that have passed comprehensive non-discrimination ordinances (also known as Human Rights Ordinances or Equal Rights Ordinances) with protections on par with the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (Data source:  the Human Rights Campaign).  Before Houstonians vote this November, they should get a clear picture of just how important, yet commonplace the protections in H.E.R.O. are.

Have you ever visited (and by proper assumption, used restroom facilities) in any of these American Cities? If so, share this post and help combat the many lies being spread about HERO.  

Also, don’t forget to join the cause to protect HERO with Houston Unites.  It’s now more important than ever.

This October and November, Houstonians will decide the fate of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance by a vote on Proposition 1. 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.

City NDO map


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By the way, some cities like Las Vegas, Nevada or Santa Fe, New Mexico are not listed for having local Equal Rights protections, but that may be because they are in one of 17 states that have enacted non-discrimination laws, thus protecting residents. In other cases like Los Angeles, the city has still chosen to pass local protections even though they are in a state which offers them.

Phoenix, City of
Tempe, City of
Tucson, City of


Los Angeles, City of
Oakland, City of
Palm Springs, City of
Sacramento, City of California
San Diego, City of
San Francisco, City of
Santa Cruz County
West Hollywood, City of

Boulder, City of
Denver, City of

District of Columbia
Washington, City of

Atlantic Beach, City of
Alachua County
Broward County
Gainesville, City of
Gulfport, City of
Key West, City of
Lake Worth, City of
Leon County
Miami Beach, City of
Monroe County
Palm Beach County
Pinellas County
Orlando, City of
Tampa, City of
Volusia County
West Palm Beach, City of

Atlanta, City of

Boise, City of
Coeur d’Alene, City of
Idaho Falls, City of
Ketchum, City of
Moscow, City of
Sandpoint, City of
Victor, City of

Aurora, City of
Carbondale, City of
Chicago, City of
Cook County
Decatur, City of
DeKalb, City of
Evanston, City of
Peoria, City of
Springfield, City of

Bloomington, City of
Evansville, City of
Indianapolis, City of
Marion County
Monroe County
South Bend, City of

Cedar Rapids, City of
Council Bluffs, City of
Davenport, City of
Des Moines, City of
Iowa City
Johnson County
Waterloo, City of

Lawrence, City of
Roeland Park, City of

Covington, City of
Danville, City of
Frankfort, City of
Jefferson County
Lexington, City of
Lexington-Fayette County
Louisville, City of
Morehead, City of
Vicco, City of

New Orleans, City of
Shreveport, City of

Baltimore, City of
Baltimore County
Howard County
Hyattsville, City of
Montgomery County

Boston, City of
Cambridge, City of
Northampton, City of
Salem, City of
Worcester, City of

Ann Arbor, City of
Detroit, City of
East Lansing, City of
Ferndale, City of
Grand Rapids, City of
Huntington Woods, City of
Kalamazoo, City of
Lansing, City of
Pleasant Ridge, City of
Saugatuck, City of
Sterling Heights, City of
Traverse, City of
Ypsilanti, City of

Minneapolis, City of
St. Paul, City of

Columbia, City of
Clayton, City of
Kansas City
Kirkwood, City of
Olivette, City of
St. Louis County
St. Louis, City of
University City

Bozeman, City of
Butte, City of
Helena, City of
Missoula, City of

Omaha, City of

New York
Albany, City of
Binghamton, City of
Buffalo, City of
Ithaca, City of
New York City
Rochester, City of
Suffolk County
Syracuse, City of
Tompkins County
Westchester County

North Carolina
Chapel Hill, City of

Athens, City of
Bowling Green, City of
Cincinnati, City of
Cleveland, City of
Columbus, City of
Coshocton, City of
Dayton, City of
East Cleveland, City of
Newark, City of
Oxford, City of
Summit County
Toledo, City of
Yellow Springs, Village of

Beaverton, City of
Bend, City of
Benton County
Corvallis, City of
Eugene, City of
Hillsboro, City of
Lake Oswego, City of
Lincoln City
Multnomah County
Portland, City of
Salem, City of

Abington Township
Allegheny County
Allentown, City of
Bethlehem, City of
Cheltenham Township
Doylestown, City of
East Norriton, City of
Easton, City of
Erie County
Harrisburg, City of
Hatboro, City of
Haverford Township
Jenkinstown Borough
Lansdowne Borough
Lower Marion Township
New Hope Borough
Newton Borough
Philadelphia, City of
Pittsburgh, City of
Pittston, City of
Scranton, City of
Springfield Township
State College Borough
Susquehanna Township
Swarthmore, City of
Upper Merion Township
West Chester Borough
Whitemarsh Township
York, City of

South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, City of

Austin, City of
Dallas County
Dallas, City of
Fort Worth, City of
Houston, City of (suspended pending litigation)

Alta, City of
Grand County
Harrisville, City of
Logan, City of
Midvale, City of
Moab, City of
Murray City
Ogden, City of
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake County
Springdale, City of
Summit County
Taylorsville, City of
West Valley, City

Burien, City of
King County
Seattle, City of
Spokane, City of
Tacoma, City of

West Virginia
Morgantown, City of
Charleston, City of

Dane County
Madison, City of
Milwaukee, City of
Dane County
Madison, City of
Milwaukee, City of

Laramie, Wyoming