As the nation’s 4th largest city (or is it the 3rd??), what happens in Houston does not just stay in Houston, but is serious business for the state of Texas and the United States. In the coming years as Americans chart a new future in energy production, medical care, societal diversity and creative endeavors, it is Houston that will be on the cutting edge of those national experiments.
For all of these reasons, the persons Houstonians choose to lead their municipal government have very important work ahead of them.
DISTRICT A— In 2013, Council Member Brenda Stardig made a triumphant return to the District A seat, defeating incumbent Helena Brown. Since coming back to Council she has generally been a voice for accountability, pragmatic leadership and thoughtful stewardship of the public’s resources.
However, the Council Member’s vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was a notable exception to these established character traits. Stardig’s initial assertions that HERO would do “nothing more than duplicate existing laws, add bureaucracy, and highlight the city’s endless overstepping of their jurisdiction” were proven categorically false. In the few months that HERO was in effect, the 135 complaints filed with the Office of Inspector General demonstrated the city’s undeniable need for local protections against discrimination. It’s also important to note that Stardig’s only opponent in the race, Iesheia Ayers-Wilson has publicly stated that discrimination should be allowed by Houston businesses… a position which should give all reasonable Houstonians pause. Texas Leftist sincerely hopes that Council Member Stardig continues to learn the facts about discrimination in the city she represents, and eventually reconsiders this misguided position. The pick for District A is Brenda Stardig.
DISTRICT B— For a true example of Public Service, Houstonians can continue to look to Council Member Jerry Davis. His work to improve the quality of life for his constituents can be evidenced through increasing infrastructure repairs, a constant commitment to clean up dilapidated properties and illegal dumping sites, and a fight to invest funding for after school employment and educational programs in an ever-tightening budget. Davis has also worked hard to put under-served residents into Houston’s massive economic pipeline. Announced at the beginning of this year, the Council Member helped to create an innovative new Job Training Partnership between local Community Colleges and the Houston Airport System, which will connect workers with vital skilled labor opportunities. It is yet another example of showing leadership in ways that build a better future for Houston. The pick for District B is Jerry Davis.
DISTRICT C— Focus on Houston’s future has also been an important goal for Council Member Ellen Cohen. Over her two terms in office, she has been a constant champion for the rights and protections of minorities and those in under-served populations. She’s made the lives of District C residents better through support for projects like Buffalo Bayou Park, and helped to guide the dizzying amount of development that’s been under her watch. With more Civic Clubs than any other District, Cohen has done her best to be responsive and attentive to her constituents’ many diverse interests. She has earned a final term in office. The pick for District C is Ellen Cohen.
DISTRICT D— Council Member Dwight Boykins is running unopposed.
DISTRICT E— Council Member Dave Martin is running unopposed.
DISTRICT F— Few local politicians can compare with the story of Council Member Richard Nguyen. After an unexpected win in 2013, Nguyen quickly emerged as a leader that is well-attuned to the needs of his diverse community. A strong supporter of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and a proven fighter for his constituents, Nguyen deserves a second term on Council. Don’t be fooled by “Anti-HERO” candidate Kendall Baker in this race. The pick for District F is Richard Nguyen.
DISTRICT G— Though fellow candidate Sandie Mullins Moger has the more established record of public service through her time on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees, District G voters should consider the more measured style of Conservatism from candidate Greg Travis. His goals on Council are to be a watchdog for all Houstonians, and improve the plethora of infrastructure issues for his constituents. While Mr. Travis may share some different views than this blog’s author on many issues, the fact that he understands how critical infrastructure repairs are now if Houston is to succeed in the future. The pick for District G is Greg Travis.
District H— An open seat and one of this year’s most hotly-contested races, The residents of District H need a leader that can be ready to fill the shoes of current Council Member Ed Gonzalez on day one. The area is home to both poverty and opportunity, so the right leader will be someone that can relate to both issues and connect them for the betterment of all residents. Candidate Karla Cisneros comes highly recommended by the Houston Chronicle, but this blog believes that a wealth of public service experience and local government activism give Roland Chavez the edge in a very close contest. Chavez is both a lifelong resident of the District, former Firefigher and former President of the Houston Professional Firefighters’ Association. Given the challenges that the next Mayor and Council will face around pension obligations, Chavez has the ability to move this conversation forward in a positive direction. The pick for District H is Roland Chavez.
District I— As a longtime resident and activist for improvement, Council Member Robert Gallegos knows well the needs of his constituents in District I. But even more important than knowing what needs to be done in the present, Gallegos is also preparing the area for a bright and prosperous future. Filled with a rich and diverse history and with amenities like an International Airport and rail line, this District needs a leader that can guide new development while respecting and improving neighborhoods for current residents. In his first two years on Council, Gallegos has proven that he is the right person for the job, and deserves a second term. The pick for District I is Robert Gallegos.
District J— Faced with the unique challenges of both an under-served multifamily communities and a plethora of prominent single family neighborhoods, the residents of District J needs a forward thinker that can at times have a bifurcated approach to constituent service. Council Member Mike Laster has done a good job listening to both groups in his District and worked very hard to meet the diverse needs of both. He understands that success of Houston depends on the many issues that can be resolved in his District. Infrastructure improvement and creating economic opportunities have been central and recurring themes for Laster, and they are exactly why he deserves another term on Council. The pick for District J is Mike Laster.
DISTRICT K— Council Member Larry Green is running unopposed.