Tag Archives: Jack Christie

Houston GLBT Caucus Issues 2015 Endorsements

Over 40 years strong, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus has emerged from relative obscurity to become one of the state’s most powerful political organizations.  Whether Houston candidates run seeking the group’s endorsement, or specifically try to run against it, when “The Caucus” makes a move, everyone pays attention.  As Rebecca Elliott of the Houston Chronicle reports, this year’s annual endorsement meeting was no exception…

A raucous municipal endorsement meeting brought mayoral candidate Sylvester Turner the coveted backing of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus on Saturday, positioning the 26-year state representative to broaden his coalition to include the city’s progressive voting bloc.

Caucus members voted 142-85 to endorse Turner after more than an hour of insult-laden discussion in which they rejected the recommendation of the group’s screening committee to endorse former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

Turner also beat out former Congressman Chris Bell, a longtime ally of the gay community who had been considered a likely pick for the group’s endorsement.

Once-shunned, the caucus’ [support] is now highly sought-after by candidates aiming to win over left-wing voters, known for reliably showing up at the polls.

The Caucus’ backing carries particular weight in municipal elections, which have often proven a more progressive electorate than Harris County or (obviously) the deep red state of Texas.  A fact made all the more important this year, as candidates on both sides will vie for attention against the Goliath of the 2015– the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.  To be sure, candidate positions for and against HERO were vetted to the utmost extent during this endorsement cycle.

Below is the full list of endorsed candidates… 

Houston Mayor- Sylvester Turner

Houston City Controller- Chris Brown

Houston City Council
District B – Jerry Davis
District C – Ellen Cohen
District F – Richard A. Nguyen
District H – Roland Chavez
District I – Robert Gallegos
District J – Mike Laster
District K – Larry Green
At Large 1 – Lane Lewis
At Large 2 – David Robinson
At Large 3 – Doug Peterson
At Large 4 – Amanda K. Edwards
At Large 5 – Phillipe Nassif

Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees (HISD)  

District 2 – Rhonda Skillern Jones
District 3 – Ramiro Fonseca
District 4 – Jolanda Jones
District 8 – Juliet Katherine Stipeche


Houston Community College District Board of Trustees  

District 3 – Adriana Tamez
District 8 – Eva Loredo


For candidates like impressive newcomer Philippe Nassif, the influential recognition provides visibility and greatly increases his chances of a position in the run-off with Jack Christie, incumbent Council Member of At-Large position 5.  Some voters may recall that Christie, who was once himself endorsed by The Caucus after saying that he supported a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance, went on to vote against HERO in 2014 and in 2015.  Meanwhile Nassif has been a constant ally in the fight for equality, and leaves little doubt for voters where he would stand if elected to represent all Houstonians.

It will be quite interesting to see how these candidates fair on November 3rd.  For the sake of HERO and progress for all Houstonians, let’s hope they do quite well.

Stay tuned for more candidate information via the TLCQ in the coming weeks.

Off the Kuff has more.




Chron: Sheriff Adrian Garcia Certain To Run For Mayor

The clock is slowly ticking on towards the Houston municipal elections.  But one area that has seen significant action is the race for Mayor. This week, another major candidate has made moves that are sure to shake up the race.  Theodore Schleifer of the Houston Chronicle reports that all the signs point to an impending announcement from Garcia…

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia is sending every possible message that he intends to run for mayor this year, aggressively increasing his political operations and signaling to some close advisers and backers that a campaign may be imminent.

Garcia, under the Texas Constitution, would have to resign as a county official immediately upon declaring his candidacy. That presents Garcia, who watchers expect to immediately move to the field’s top tier if he joins the burgeoning mayoral fray, with a fateful decision: Does he step down as the county’s top Democratic officeholder to make a bid that would make him either Houston’s first Latino mayor, or politically unemployed?

“At the end of the day, it’s like standing at the craps table, placing the bet – and you could walk away with nothing,” said Garcia confidant Greg Compean.


Perhaps most tellingly, county sources say, is that Garcia’s top staff at the Sheriff’s Office are looking to jump as they eye other county positions that would give them a landing place beyond Garcia’s tenure and vest them in the county’s pension system. Garcia’s top lieutenant and close friend, Armando Tello, left last month for a lower-profile post in Precinct 6, and other executive officers currently are scoping out other opportunities.

“He’s running,” said Hispanic Chamber of Commerce head Laura Murillo, who once considered her own bid for mayor. “He’s getting ready to make his announcement very soon.”

Murillo is not in Garcia’s inner circle, but several of the sheriff’s other allies confirmed a bid is all but inevitable.

Sheriff Garcia joins a growing field of possible candidates… including State Representative Sylvester Turner, former Congressman and City Council member Chris Bell, current Council Members Stephen Costello, Jack Christie and Oliver Pennington, Ben Hall, Bill King and Orlando Sanchez.  Crowded doesn’t even begin to tell the story here, but it’s important to note that some candidates have more potential than others.  From the pillars of potential money and name ID, Garcia presumably sits in the upper echelon of contenders right out of the gate with Sylvester Turner.  Though there is certainly nothing to stop Ben Hall from bank rolling his own massive campaign, as we basically saw from 2013.

Side note… are there any women interested in running for Mayor? Any??

By far, a Garcia run will have the most immediate impact on local politics.  As Dos Centavos points out, his resignation as County Sheriff could mean a substantial roll back of the Progressive policy agenda that has been actualized in recent years.  Would a more Conservative Sheriff dismantle aggressive Mental Health reforms and LGBT protections in Harris County law enforcement?  That remains to be seen.  But those fears aside, there is no doubt that Garcia is a most worthy candidate to lead the city of Houston.

Brains and EggsOff the Kuff and Texpatriate have more on this fast-moving development.



(Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.  Photo credit:  harrisdemocrats.org


Donna Edmundson Chosen as Houston City Attorney

In her weekly press conference following yesterday’s City Council meeting, Houston Mayor Annise Parker made an announcement that many have been waiting for.  Here’s the story from Katherine Driessen of the Houston Chronicle

Longtime city lawyer Donna Edmundson has been tapped to replace City Attorney David Feldman, who is resigning, Mayor Annise Parker announced Wednesday.

Edmundson has been a lawyer with the city since 1986 and most recently served as section chief to the city’s Neighborhood Services division. She would be the first woman in the city’s history to hold the post, Parker said.

“Her experience within the city is deep and broad,” Parker said. “I’m particularly happy that her recent experience has been in the area of neighborhood protection which has been one of my top priorities. She is a hands-on person. She’s out in the field regularly.”

The post must be confirmed by Houston City Council, which is expected to occur in two weeks.  Given her long history with the city, this is unlikely to be a controversial confirmation, though with the current political toxicity surrounding the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and the simple fact that it’s now an election year, one can never be too sure.

Though she presumably only has one year to serve in the top job, it promises to be a very busy time for the city’s legal team.  Parker was smart to choose someone from within, as they are already up to speed on the most pressing issues.  Unlike Feldman, Edmundson has spent the whole of her law career in the public sector.  It will be interesting to see how she differs in approach from her predecessor.

“I’m anxious to get to work and ready to hit the ground running” said Edmundson in comments after the Mayor’s introduction.  A good attitude to have, because the ground is moving fast.

Here’s video of the Press Conference, via YouTube…

TLCQ 2013: Endorsements in City Council At Large Races

Though he’s drawn one challenger in perennial candidate Mike “Griff” Griffin, Council Member Stephen Costello is looking strong for reelection in At Large Position 1. Costello is a Republican, but his style of politics is far-removed from the grand-standing hyper-partisanship of Washington. As head of the Budget Committee, Costello has become an important ally to the Parker administration and helped to garner much consensus among his council colleagues (no government shutdown in H-Town). He has chosen to go after some of the city’s biggest issues, including the municipal pension fund, the continuing struggle with food deserts and Rebuild Houston. To the latter, Costello has been a leading voice for not only the passage of Rebuild Houston, but also worked hard to monitor its implementation and see that tax dollars are spent wisely. For all these reasons, Council Member Costello deserves a final term. The pick for At Large 1 is Stephen Costello.

Though only in his first term, At Large 2 Council Member Andrew C. Burks has already left a dramatic impression on Houston municipal politics. In many instances, he has been an important voice to issues that previously had little focus in government, especially those relating to the city’s minority communities. He has continued to remind council of the vast poverty and inequality we see in our underserved neighborhoods, and at times has even lodged political power to ensure that these issues are addressed. For Texas Leftist, fighting for Houston’s most vulnerable citizens is something to be admired. This is Burks at his best. But for all of these moments, Council Member Burks has also publicly berated constituents appearing at City Hall, openly threatened his opponents, and done other things that are counter to the mission of good governance. For all of these reasons, it is time for a change in At Large 2, and that change David W. Robinson. As an architect, President of the Super-Neighborhood Alliance and committed civic leader, Robinson will lend a wealth of experience to some of the next great challenges. He was an important leader of the passage of Chapter 42, and like Council Member Costello, I suspect Robinson would be just as committed to seeing the new density requirements implemented successfully. The pick for At Large 2 is David W. Robinson.

In At Large 3 Texas Leftist will not be issuing an endorsements a I am already supporting candidate Jenifer Rene Pool’s campaign as a volunteer. But I highly recommend that readers consult other endorsements in this race, all of which are conveniently compiled on Off the Kuff’s 2013 elections page.

At Large 4 Council Member C.O. Bradford is not without his dramatic moments, but on the whole he has done a good job of representing the views of a diverse constituency. For all of the vocal opposition he gives to the Parker Administration, ultimately Council Member Bradford works to find good compromise and keep the city moving forward. As a former Police Chief, his tireless advocacy for our public servants is a voice that needs to be heard in local government. The pick for At Large 4 is C.O. Bradford.

Eccentricity is a word that comes to mind with At Large 5 Council Member Jack Christie. As the Chronicle endorsement points out, Christie’s sensationalist remarks are still mostly rhetoric, and have not caused any genuine harm around the Council table. When it comes time to vote, Christie has shown much willingness to work with his colleagues and get the business of the city accomplished. Texas Leftist is grateful for that, but the whole purpose of having elections is to find the BEST persons for the job. Why can’t Houstonians have both a good role model on City Council and someone that espouses more sound judgments in his public views? It’s what we deserve. Amongst two strong opposing candidates, the standout in this race is James S. Horwitz. The Houston attorney has a strong record of community service, and Progressive views that would be a great asset to council. As the city continues to grow with bold new initiatives like Rebuild Houston, Chapter 42, rail line expansion and complete streets, Houstonians need stability within our municipal leadership. Unlike the Chronicle staff writers, Texas Leftist does not believe that Christie’s behavior should just be ignored. The pick for At Large 5 is James S. Horwitz.